Link To Guest Website:

Title: “How COVID Has Affected Restaurants”
Guest: Dimitra Murphy – Daddy Jones Bar & Restaurant in Somerville
Interviewer: Nathan Gobes – Radio Entrepreneurs & John Dustin – JED Insurance

Click here to read the transcript

Nathan (0s):
Good morning, Radio Entrepreneurs, listeners, and fans. I’m producer Nathan Gobes and I’m here to introduce you to another guest. My co-host for this morning is the one and only John Dustin of JED insurance. Welcome John.

John (14s):
Great to be back.

Nathan (16s):
I think it’s always great to have you. Our next guest is Dimitra Murphy, owner of daddy Jones bar and restaurant in Somerville. Welcome Dimitra.

Dimitra (27s):
I’m happy to be here.

Nathan (29s):
Great. So just tell us a little bit about the restaurant and the history behind it, and then, and then we’ll get into some of the other stuff.

Dimitra (37s):
Sure. Yeah. So we are a small neighborhood restaurant in Somerville in Boone square. We are just closing on our ninth year on November one will be nine years and we use for Greek food bar food. We started out more like towards craft cocktails, but the Greek foods become more popular. So I definitely think of us as a Greek neighborhood restaurant first, which is always funny when your name is daddy Jones, but I didn’t want people to be scared off and feel like they couldn’t come in and like have a drink at the bar. And I wanted, I, I read the name of the book one a long time ago, so, yeah.

Nathan (1m 19s):
Awesome. And so obviously, as we all know, you know, we’ve had, we’ve been going through the pandemic for the last a year and a half to two and you know, we’re now we’re dealing with labor shortages, things like that. I know that you’ve sort of written through all of that. Tell us how that’s, how that’s been going and, and what the restaurant is doing now.

Dimitra (1m 41s):
Yeah, I mean, we’ve had a really small team we did at the start of the pen. DEMEC end up laying off as almost everybody, but they all came back. A lot of them have worked for me from like sort of call it budge. And now our early twenties and, or, you know, I met them when I was a cross country coach in high school at Somerville high and through the athletic department have gotten employees and then their little brothers or sisters, and with one family I’m on the third sibling. Now that’s going to be working for us and it’s all through the high school. So that’s awesome.

Dimitra (2m 22s):
I always love green employees that don’t know a lot about the industry kind of is a blessing and a curse for them because they become spoiled working for us. And then they work somewhere else and they’re like, I want to come back. So it’s a small team. We are right now going through the process of switching to an admin fee instead of gratuity so that it can be dispersed between front of house, front of house. Our staff are kind of, if you do front of house stuff and back of house stuff, but to be able to pull a fairly, because it’s definitely the disconnect between the wages can be so far off and it’s not right, because especially in a place like us, you, you really need each other.

Dimitra (3m 12s):
And it’s very evident when the place is so small that it’s a team environment. So we’re pretty excited about that, but we’re also changing our point of sale system to kind of get that done easier. Sure.

John (3m 23s):
So your menu is Greek food. So kebabs, tell us a little bit what’s on the menu quickly. Yeah.

Dimitra (3m 32s):
I mean our biggest sellers are our gyros. So we have the shaved beef, lamb leg, just like you would get at the festival. A lot of my food is inspired, honestly, from the Somerville Greek festival. My parents always volunteered there and I volunteered there now. And I know like the items that people love and the stuff that I would look forward to every year, we do a homemade spanakopita here. We special like plus TCO, which is essentially Greek, lasagna, more meat, heavy them sauce, moussaka, which is like layered potato eggplant that seasoned beef and cheesy bashing all on top.

Dimitra (4m 12s):
We do a lot of dips in house. So red pepper dip to DKI our own hummus. Our burgers are also popular, which we do have a lamb burger, but our bigger seller is called the Chris’ burger. And it’s a spicy burger on an English muffin. So there’s definitely a variety, but the heroes are definitely your sellers.

John (4m 37s):
Hey, I’m a, I’m a huge Mediterranean. And my mother was at me, so I love the food, but what are the challenges with the supply chain that you’ve had? Have you had any real challenges?

Dimitra (4m 48s):
Oh, all the time, always something that’s out of stock or you order one thing, you know, you need a certain to go container and you’re getting a different print size to go container. We do sweet potato fries with pheta and honey, and we don’t cut our own. We get frozen sweet potato fries, and it’s like a free for all, about what shape they’re going to be right now, or which of our three distributors are going to have them or do we have to go pick them up? It’s like, it’s, it’s definitely interesting. And you know, there’s some times where you have a distributor that might tack on an extra item because they’re trying to reach a, a quota and in better times that might fly.

Dimitra (5m 30s):
But right now it’s like, I cannot like, please take that back. But you know, nobody’s taking returns right now because of COVID. So, you know, it’s just interesting dynamic with some of the situations. And my husband is a liquor wine salesman and I see what goes on with, oh, we have this time in, or this bottle in, and it’s X number of cases. And you know, it’s not a seven, we only have leaders or whatever. There’s like the wrong, you just get whatever they send you at this point.

John (6m 4s):
And, and most of the restaurants, you established yourself in a gravy area, as far as food, you know, I think some of bill came up at a perfect time. You said about nine years ago, is there a lot of competition and visit friendly competition of what do you find?

Dimitra (6m 23s):
I definitely felt it was more competitive pre pandemic, but now I, I know that there are like neighboring restaurants that I might’ve never communicated with the owner before, but now we’re on a regular text basis where we communicate about, you know, things coming up, for example, the city’s about to pass a law or I need French fries, whatever it is. Right. Like we are on a regular text chain, which is kind of awesome because you don’t feel as alone in this business as much as we are all like trying to get a piece of the same pie, right. Like we are more friendly. And I do think that’s a great benefit.

Dimitra (7m 5s):
That’s come out of the pandemic.

Nathan (7m 9s):
Are there, is there anything else that you’ve been doing to, to adapt to the, to the situation, any other methods that you’ve taken to either get more customers or, or help with sales? Things like that?

Dimitra (7m 23s):
Oh yeah. So we actually added a coffee program this year, so I own the building, right? So for me, it’s like, how can I maximize like 24 hours a day? You know, we’re not open during the day. We’re not really a heavy lunch, but there’s definitely people that love their local coffee shops. So we added Saturday, Sunday, coffee espresso. We’re using atomic roasters out of Salem, which is really delicious. Like I, it’s hard to not come here for my own coffee now. Right. And just make my own instead of buying one. And so we’re doing that on Saturday, Sunday breakfast sandwiches. And the goal is to have it go seven days a week, up to the wifi and added electrical outlets to all the tables.

Dimitra (8m 10s):
So people can feel comfortable bringing in a laptop during the day and hanging out. And of course, take out,

John (8m 18s):
Take out,

Dimitra (8m 20s):
Take out. It can be as,

John (8m 23s):
As you take out, increase substantially during the pandemic.

Dimitra (8m 28s):
Oh yeah, absolutely. There’s days where the sales are predominantly you take out. What’s interesting now is I can notice the increase in takeout based on what’s happening in the news. So like when the Delta variant started this, like, you know, daughters less walk-in, so Somerville is very like keen on exactly what’s happening with everything and very socially conscious. So, you know, a lot of masks wearing here. It’s funny to me, cause I’ll go to other cities and it’s very different, but we have a big outdoor space. So that benefits us for outdoor dining. We allow for mobile ordering. So you don’t even talk to us if you don’t want to.

Dimitra (9m 10s):
And some people love it. I’ve had people come in and say that first time in a restaurant in a year and a half. So they’re just kind of easing back into, you know, the, the social elements of all this. And we’re kind of like a good first date for them. You know, they can come in, not have to interact too much. Cause it’s, I feel like mentally, this is all done a lot for us, you know, not just business owners, just people in general, having to deal and navigate with this new new world.

Nathan (9m 41s):
Yeah. Well, before we go, do you, do you have any thoughts about where the restaurant industry or, or Somerville’s restaurant industry is going in the next few months, you know, six to 12 months. I mean, it’s hard to predict what the pandemic will do of course, but you know, looking at where things are at now,

Dimitra (9m 60s):
It is really hard to predict. I think I, I feel like I’m starting to see a lot of like tire restaurant owners. So there’s a lot of opportunity for people to come in that want to get into this business and take over. I’m seeing like new listings for sale for places you wouldn’t have expected. But I think that it’s, it’s such a romantic industry. People always want to be. I do believe that there’s always hope and there’s always going to be new developments and excitement like food-wise and people will that, you know, maybe haven’t been jarred, but we’ll come out with new experiences and can tackle the industry in a better way.

Dimitra (10m 43s):
So I’m excited for that. It’s I don’t know what to think of the next six months. I keep hearing different views, whether it’s going to be another spike or things are back to normal based on people’s behaviors. I think people want the connection and want back to normal, but no, it was

Nathan (11m 3s):
Well, thank you. Remind everyone. Our guest has been Dimitra Murphy owner of daddy Jones, bar and restaurant in Somerville. Dimitra. If people are looking to get in touch with the restaurant order some food what’s what’s the website. What’s the phone number. Tell us how to get to you.

Dimitra (11m 22s):
Website is a daddy Jones and it’s just J O N S daddy Jones Phone number is (617) 690-9095 or I’m always available by Instagram. So at daddy Jones bar people message us a lot on social media. Great.

Nathan (11m 40s):
And John, John Dustin, John Dustin, J D insurance. How do people reach you if they want to get in touch

John (11m 47s):
By phone five, awaiting five four, three, one oh six seven on the and email John dot Dustin, D U S T I N a J E D.

Nathan (12m 1s):
Great. And of course, John can be found on a radio entrepreneur’s website on our thought-leaders page. Of course Dimitria will be featured on our, on our postings as well. Once we get this up there, but you can also find us on LinkedIn, Facebook, iTunes, Google play, Stitcher. We’re all over the place, but thank you. We want to thank all our listeners and fans. We back with this with another segment on radio entrepreneurs.

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