After several decades in the restaurant industry, Dennis Weafer realized many chef’s dreams: owning his own restaurant. Weafer purchased Fetta Specialty Pizza & Spirits, a restaurant and bar in downtown Owensboro, in September.
The pandemic buy wasn’t simply his attempt to save a local restaurant. He loves pizza.
“I could stand around and make pizza all day,” said Weafer, who most recently worked at Niko’s Italian Cuisine. “My favorite thing to do is to cook.”
During the early months of re-launching the restaurant, staff shortages prompted Weafer to rely on his diverse career in dining as well as his zeal for cooking. This past week, Weafer headed the kitchen as multiple staff members were “out with COVID-19.”
Part of this staffing difficulty stemmed from expanded hours of operation: the restaurant was previously operating two days per week and is now open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch, dinner and private parties.
When staff levels recover, Weafer hopes to transition his focus to expanding the menu with seasonal offerings and specialty pizzas. (Folks can still order local favorites like the “mashed potato pizza.”)
Weafer stressed the priority of sourcing quality ingredients from regional distributors and fresh produce from the Owensboro Regional Farmers Market during summer months.
Inside the brick establishment, the space should appear familiar but with new additions from Owensboro artists on the walls.
“I’m glad to be able to support local artists,” Weafer said.
Fetta offers in-house dining, delivery and takeout — a mix that has helped keep business afloat.
“We’re lucky with pizza. It travels well. It’s comfortable and familiar,” Weafer said. “It could be better, but it could be worse too.”
As word spreads, business continues to gain speed daily, according to Weafer, who hopes this trend will accelerate further into the pandemic and when the weather permits outdoor seating.
“We’re looking forward to the future and doing everything we can do to make good pizza,” Weafer said.
For more information, find Fetta on Facebook and at fettapizza.net.