New downtown restaurant joins struggle to find workers

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A new restaurant is opening up in downtown Albuquerque but like so many businesses right now — they’ve had to get creative when it comes to staffing and day-to-day operations.

People might have known the restaurant as Capo’s Villa on the corner of 8th and Central – but the new owners have reopened it as Damacios, and they have certainly felt the impacts of the pandemic while trying to open.

“It’s going very well so far we are seeing great response to the crowds, great energy, great vibe,” said Gerald Zamora co-owner of Damacios.

Initially, they wanted to open the restaurant as soon as they got it in July – to utilize the outdoor spaces—but that didn’t go quite as planned.

“Unfortunately because of COVID things are just moving a little slower on the processing, on the state side regarding our liquor license and a few other things, so it took us a little longer than we thought to get the liquor license transferred into place and that is why we had to inch back our timeline,” said Zamora.

Then, once they were able to open, they ran into another problem.

“Staffing is definitely our biggest challenge right now,” said Zamora.

Over the weekend, they were able to make it work by borrowing staff from other venues they own.

“Some of the folks here are just here to help out for the weekend, then they have to go back to their home venue, but we definitely need the help,” said Zamora.

But Zamora said they are encouraged by the number of applications they are seeing now.

“In the past four or five days we have seen more applications come in than in the two or three months and that stands true for all of our venues, so we are seeing the people get back in the job force and we are hoping to get them back in very soon,” he said.