A couple of new Tioga restaurant owners lean on faith against COVID-19

Local News

Starting a new business can be tough, and doing so during a pandemic doesn’t make it any easier.

One Tioga Couple is leaning on their faith to keep them moving forward.

Co-Owner of AJ Cafe Janna Roloff said, “We sort of had this vision of having a restaurant”

Janna Roloff and her husband Arnulfo both have had aspirations of starting a restaurant.

“That was something that was exciting to him, and for me, I have always envisioned having some sort of business but I never knew exactly how that was going to play out,” Roloff said.

It wasn’t until nearly a year ago that the two found a place to make their dreams come true.

“We were living in Chicago when we saw this restaurant opportunity come up.” she said.

That opportunity laid right in Janna’s hometown in Tioga at an abandoned building, a place that holds a special place in her heart.

“I had my first job here in this building at the ‘Drive in’, and now it’s AJ Cafe.” she said.

The two have since hit the ground running, making strides in their remodeling process to only be struck by COVID-19.

“The pandemic definitely added to the pile of things that we were worried about and thinking about and it instills a new layer of uncertainty,” she said.

Like many others around the world, it did put some things on hold, and even slowed their process a little, but the two are only looking at the positives in the situation.

“The one advantage is that we know that this is going on before we open and it’s something that we can prepare for and it’s something that we can have in our mind right from the start when we’re training our employees and making sure we have systems in place to keep people comfortable, people confident in dining in our establishment,” she said.

Arnulfo and Janna both agree that nothing will stop them from opening.

“Our plan has been to open this year so that’s what we have to do.” she said.

The two say AJ Cafe will officially be open on August 20th serving Italian-America style food.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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