West Hartford

Restaurant Owner Takes Leap of Faith in Opening New Café During Pandemic

Dorian Buka recently opened Doro Marketplace, a new cafe and bakery in West Hartford.

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Opening a new restaurant is already hard enough but doing so in a pandemic is an obstacle that most aren’t willing to cross.

“We were supposed to open in May but we opened a week ago,” explained café owner Dorian Buka.

Buka is the owner of the new café/bakery Doro Marketplace in West Hartford. In just a short amount of time that it’s been opened, the eatery has become a lively boisterous spot but Buka said it was a struggle just getting the doors opened.

“Everything was delayed starting from the construction and the equipment.

For Buka, a big part of what he feels makes the eatery special is it’ focus on obtaining products locally but the pandemic hasn’t made it easy.

“It’s very hard to get a product these days starting from the farmers to the vendors. Yesterday I had to go to farm myself and brought home a full truck of vegetables and tomatoes - I get very excited about that stuff, but most of the time it’s very limited like specialty items just don’t exist these days."

The pandemic hasn’t been all bad for business.

“Actually this worked out for us. If this didn’t happen we wouldn’t have the outdoor dining. So we got a special permit because of COVID,” Buka said.

Entering the restaurant, the clanging of the plates filled the room and at times the line almost stretched out the door. The owner stated that even with the difficulties of the pandemic, the community response has been tremendous and whether customers dine in or grab and go, supporting local is businesses is a top priority.

Customer Judy Lederer said she’s concerned about the nature of local businesses after post-pandemic so she’s doing everything she can to support.

“He really has livened hope West Hartford Center and is one of those entrepreneurs you want to support,” Lederer said.

A plan for the winter season hasn’t been set but Buka does say they will make any necessary changes to create a safe environment.

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