By Rachel Holt

NEEDHAM (CBS) – When Blue on Highland at 882 Highland Avenue in Needham closed its doors in March 2020, General Manager Rick Naples and his team thought it would be temporary.

“Throughout the course of the year I don’t think we ever anticipated it lasting as long as it did. Which kind of forced our hand to the point where we’re in the process of reopening today, a year later,” said Naples.

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The restaurant began a phased reopening Thursday, starting with takeout only. They plan on welcoming guests back for dine-in service on April 19.

“For some people it was the right call. For us it was. For others it wasn’t, people were just trying to pivot to survive so there’s really no right answer,” said Naples.

Joe’s Waterfront at 100 Atlantic Avenue on the edge of the North End reopening on April 7 after over a year of hibernating. General Manager Samantha Reynolds told WBZ-TV they’re gearing up for the summer, which is typically their busiest season.

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She said on their first day back in business, “we had over 150 in for dinner, we had about 80 in for lunch and it was a beautiful spring day so the patio was cranking, we had a lot of guests inside and everyone was just happy to be back in the building.”

Joe’s Waterfront used the time they were closed to make some renovations to the restaurant, including a new upstairs lounge and expanded bar area.

“Our parent company decided you know what, no better opportunity than now to completely refresh the space. So we’ve never had our doors closed and we’ve never been closed this long to make these major improvements,” said Reynolds.

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“It’s going to be a proud moment. Today’s going to be great day. We’re opening at four o’clock today. The people that are coming in, we’re going to give them a socially distanced hug and welcome them back,” said Naples.

Rachel Holt