Rob Anderson, chef and co-owner of The Canteen, a restaurant based in Provincetown, Mass., spoke to Boston Public Radio on Monday about the challenges it has faced during the pandemic.

"Emotionally and physically, we had a really tough year," he said. "In a normal year, I have 50 to 60 employees. But last year, we did it all with 18, and we did stay open all year. So there's really been no letting up for us."

Restaurateurs are hosts at heart, Anderson said, and want to make people feel comfortable and safe. "In the midst of a pandemic, that was really difficult to do when you're questioning every single action you take," he said.

Anderson expects The Canteen to have one of its busiest summers ever. But the restaurant is currently understaffed, and Provincetown is dealing with a housing crisis.

"Housing is the number one problem that threatens the very existence of Provincetown," he said. "The housing crisis has developed over decades here, but the pandemic quickened the pace of the crisis so that it's no longer a crisis — it's a calamity."

Anderson learned early on that housing The Canteen's staff was the biggest problem, he added.

"So we ended up buying a guest house, and we house around 20 folks there," he said. "Also I bought a second home for some of my more senior employees that I offer to them as a rent-to-own situation. So in the summer I house around 30 staff members. It's not a role that I want. I would love not to be a landlord, but it's the only way to grow a sustainable business here in town."