Bethel Park’s Al’s Cafe defies Tom Wolf’s statewide indoor dining restriction

Josh Peters, Staff Writer

It was outside of Al’s Cafe in Bethel Park where restaurant owners first gathered this summer to discuss coronavirus restrictions. Al’s cafe has remained open in defiance of Pa. Governor Tom Wolf”s new coronavirus orders.

In August, owner Rod Ambrogi held a rally to protest the three-week ban on indoor dining. Now, his restaurant has remained open despite the Governor’s order to close until Jan. 4.

“I’m standing on my constitutional rights, my god-given rights to make a living and let people live their lives,” said Rod Ambrogi. (Royce Jones, KDKA)

It is a decision the restaurant owner is prepared to defend in court, according to what he told KDKA.

“It’s not like we’re rebelling against anything…We’re just trying to make a living. We’re trying to give our staff the opportunity to make a living,” said Ambrogi.

Ambrogi violated the current coronavirus restrictions and chose to fight for his employees that are struggling to provide for their families. More than 40 of his hard working employees chose to keep working.

Right now, Ambrogi is building a legal team with local and out-of-state attorneys to fight fines or closures at his restaurant.

He said, “We know we have a due process…We have constitutional rights, and I believe due process will support us.”

Al’s cafe held a rally on Monday (Dec. 21) to support local businesses and their choice to remain open or shut down. Small business owners, multiple state representatives, and senators were in attendance at Al’s cafe in Bethel Park for the “Rights for Restaurants” rally at 2 p.m.

Ambrogi told Channel 11 that he decided to stay open because his employees are worried about paying bills and buying Christmas gifts.

He said: “It’s time for all of us to unite and stand in unity and fight this governor for what he’s doing to us. You can’t survive on takeout and support your employees as long as we have and expect us to survive.”

Al’s cafe highlighted a contact study out of New York that found fewer than 2% of coronavirus cases were spread in restaurants, and nearly 75% of cases were spread in private gatherings.