Like a lot of restaurateurs in New Jersey, Cuban Pete’s is in trouble. The Montclair eatery has had to suffer through the draconian executive orders that force it to operate with only a 25% capacity. First, no indoor dining at all, and now this. How is a restaurant supposed to survive?

The answer is, it can’t. That’s why owner Dominick Restaino has announced that he will defy Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive orders and keep his restaurant open at full capacity. Even after receiving his third violation on Oct. 3, he explains that running a restaurant at 25% capacity does not mean that you use only 25% of your staff. Noting that Murphy has never operated a restaurant, he explains that a full staff is required no matter how many people are actually in the restaurant. That’s why so many restaurants are going to go out of business as soon as the holiday season is over.

I am firmly convinced now that Murphy does not care. Not a whit. The same way he wasn’t at all bothered about independently owned gyms going out of business. So, in the spirit of Ian Smith of Atilis gym and other freedom fighters, he has vowed to do business as usual despite the repercussions from Murphy. And he would be much more successful in his fight if he had other restaurants doing the same. I urge local businesses to ban together to form “rebel groups” to go against the orders. Because there is power and safety in numbers.

What’s a man who operates a business supposed to do for income in this state besides operating a business? Beg? Take money from the government? That’s not something that hard-working, upstanding business people want to do. Nor should they have to.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.

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