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Lake Park restaurant owner endures pandemic, optimistic about future

Pirates Well owner struggles to find employees
Pirates Well owner Larry Marble
Posted at 3:58 PM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 21:25:46-05

LAKE PARK, Fla. — Nearly a year has passed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. For many people who are still struggling, time has cost them everything.

However, a Palm Beach County business owner remains positive amid the tough times.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Rebound South Florida

Eleven years ago Pirates Well restaurant opened in Lake Park.

For owner Larry Marble, it was the culmination of hard work and determination. Three decades of experience taught him how to handle adversity, especially after what happened last year.

"When you get the call around St. Patrick’s Day that they're going to shut down the state, the first thing that goes through your mind is, 'How are you going to pay the bills?'" Marble said.

Not to mention 35 employees with families and bills of their own. A hard reality became apparent. Marble had to let everyone go. Pirates Well shuttered for five weeks.

"It was rough," Marble said.

He needed revenue, and a mortgage company was growing impatient. Soon take-out dining started, then a tent and outdoor dining went up. Plexiglass and touch-free menus adorned their pirate paraphernalia.

Marble said sales are down 15 percent, but it's manageable. What is not manageable are the new trends of the industry, he says.

"It's a struggle with finding help because I feel like there's a lot of service industry people who jumped ship," Marble said.

Those employees who came back had salaries reduced. Also, a new COVID-19 business model continues to get tweaked each day, including the menu.

"There's been food items that have not been available. There's been times when ground beef is over $7 a pound," Marble said.

He said he's lost a significant amount of money because of COVID-19, however, if you ask him how he feels about it, Marble will tell you that he's just happy to be open. He's also happy for his local customer base that keeps him open.

What he created in the community a decade ago as a local home spot for many, came back to pay off more than he could ever imagine over that last few months.

"We're just full of hand sanitizer and face masks, still serving great food," Marble said.

If you are interested in working at Pirates Well, call them at (561) 629-7020 or visit the restaurant's website.