Tucked away in a commercial strip on Grant Road stands Tuscany Italian Bistro, a small restaurant offering a variety of food options prepared from scratch, including Italian classics such as chicken piccata, handmade pizzas and seafood.

Like many restaurants across the region, Tuscany has struggled through the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is kind of [been] survival mode,” owner Dejan Medanic said.

When Medanic launched his restaurant in summer 2019, it seemed like his longtime dream of serving people food was going to be a big success, he said. The strip the restaurant is in was constantly flooded with foot traffic from a Walmart Neighborhood Market.

In November 2019, however, the national grocer closed its doors, and Medanic’s restaurant saw activity decrease. A few months later, COVID-19 shutdowns made things worse.

Tuscany closed its doors for several weeks, and when it reopened, the hardships continued.

After laying off staff during the hiatus, Tuscany started back up with limited hours and a skeleton crew of Medanic; his daughter Claudia, who worked as the server; and Juliana Henry, who worked as the chef.

“It’s been a struggle for business because of [COVID-19],” Henry said. “We were doing amazing before then, and then when the pandemic hit, it brought our business down.”

Throughout the pandemic, Tuscany has adapted by signing up to platforms such as Uber Eats and DoorDash, creating a patio for outdoor seating, and bringing in live music on Fridays and Saturdays.

One of the things Medanic envisioned for his restaurant when he opened it was to establish a family-style bond with the customers and for them to see it as more than just a place to get food.

While that has been difficult to maintain during the pandemic, the staff at Tuscany is optimistic better days are ahead.

“We try to keep a happy, fun, uplifting atmosphere,” Claudia said. “When you come into this restaurant, we want to give [off] that atmosphere. We’re having fun. Come have fun with us.”

Tuscany Italian Bistro, 12215 Grant Road, Ste. E, Cypress. 281-826-3485. www.tuscanycypress.com