Beacon Hill businesses still feel pandemic pressure as State House, offices remain closed

It’s been 15 months since James and Vaios Grigas have seen a lunch rush at their Bowdoin Street cafe, Fill-A-Buster Luncheonette, which usually does a brisk business in the shadow of the State House.

“Everybody works from home still,” said Grigas, who faithfully works behind the lunch counter alongside his son, James, five days per week. The father and son have served just a fraction of their usual customers since the State House closed in March 2020 in response to the pandemic.

Next door, the cobbler Vadim Kotlyar’s hands at Beacon Hill Instant Shoe Repair sit idle, with barely a wingtip waiting to repair or resole.

At the neighboring Boston Barber Co., empty chairs illustrate the struggle facing small businesses that rely on the daily ebb and flow of office workers to sustain themselves.

“I have nothing to do,” said Kotlyar, noting he’s operating in “survival mode” until September when he believes business could rebound.

At the…

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