New Orient closed two years ago, but Smith currently operates Cody's Cafe & Bar and Bettola Bistro in the same shopping center, and she's doing everything she can during the coronavirus crisis to make sure her legacy lives on beyond these difficult times.
Meanwhile, the cafe's wine buyer/sommelier, Schafer Pennington, has expanded his duties to including dishwashing, but he's also busy making limoncello and other citrus-based Italian ’cellos, which will be ready for late-spring sipping.
At Bettola, where chef Enrique Socarras just started at the beginning of the year, Smith says the chef is applying his "jack-of-all-trades skills" to create takeout-friendly menu items beyond the Italian eatery's standard menu. Her favorite at the moment is Socarras's veal lasagna. Next week the chef and some of his team will begin planting gardens to supply extra produce to both restaurants.
Beyond just keeping the food coming, the restaurateur has been making sure her employees are safe and secure, not only by following strict hygienic measures, but by offering other assistance. "To keep employees from being fearful, worried, I’ve assisted staff with rent payments and bonuses for helping me keep an upbeat attitude and keep creating new dishes that are portable, affordable to be shared at home with families," she explains. "I’m trying to cope with the financial crisis due to lack of business by bringing our staff together — spreading love and kindness, not viruses."
So far, Aurora has aligned with Governor Jared Polis's original order to keep restaurant dining rooms closed until April 30, but that could change (and Denver has set its reopening date at May 11, which some of the other suburbs are following). Smith says safety is the most important thing — plus a little love and kindness.
Bettola Bistro and Cody's Cafe, at 10253 and 10203 East Iliff Avenue, are both currently open from 11 a.m to 2 p.m. for lunch and 4:30 to 8 p.m. for dinner every day but Sunday. Call Bettola at 303-750-1580 and Cody's at 303-751-1288 for details and ordering.