On any given summer Saturday, restaurant owner Diana DiVello, 56, can be seen greeting guests, slinging cocktails and helping servers learn the ropes.
At the same time, her husband Bob Haase, 55, can be found adding the final touches to a diner’s plate, or tracking down paper for check printers that never seem to stay filled.
But they aren’t working side by side in the same restaurant. In fact, she’s in Greenport and he’s nearly eight miles away in Orient.
DiVello is owner of the dockside Italian eatery Porto Bello in Greenport, taking over after spending more than 17 years helping to make her mother Francesca’s dream of owning a restaurant come true. Haase’s operation, Orient By the Sea, includes the 180-seat restaurant and accompanying marina which he, too, took over from his family.
Running two successful North Fork restaurants isn’t easy for a married couple, they explain.
But if anyone understands the demands of keeping the kitchen stocked, the dining room spotless and diners happy during busy season, it’s another restaurant owner.
“We have a lot of the same issues. You have to take each day as it comes because sometimes you just can’t win,” DiVello said, joking that each can “then we go home and complain about the same things.”
They found one other on the job, while renewing their food manager’s certifications during a class in 2008, DiVello said.
“I introduced myself, and he turned around,” DiVello said. “I had known him from the area, and so, I said hi.”
“I said to myself, ‘I’m going to go down to her place for dinner tonight,’” Haase explained of their beginning. “And I did.”
The two eventually married in October 2011.
Haase said their common understanding has helped to make the relationship work.
But the biggest challenge, the duo says, is finding time to see one another during the busy summer season.
“We have our Wednesdays — this time of the season Wednesday is our only day,” DiVello said, adding that their downtime in the winter makes up for their ever-hectic summers.
“At the start of every season, we say ‘see you in September,’ DiVello said affectionately of the tradition.
And lucky for them, September is almost here.