BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Restaurants in West Virginia were permitted to open indoor dining at half-capacity on Thursday.
Fujiyama in Beckley was filled with the familiar sights and sounds of indoor dining with the hiss of the hibachi grill, a busy wait staff on the move and people chatting at their tables.
Ashley Pierce, a bartender and server, expected it to be different with the new guidelines but was eager to get back on the floor serving people in the restaurant.
“Our building’s pretty large, so we have more than enough space to still spread everybody out. We’ll all be wearing masks, gloves and doing our best to keep everybody safe,” she said.
Fujiyama regulars, like Shannon Wilkerson and Joy Mclaughlin, were back at their favorite spot.
While some might call them brave, their reasons for being some of the first dine-in customers on Thursday were much more simple.
“We were hungry,” Mclaughlin laughed.
“We trust this place, that it’s always clean, and we know that they were going to do what they were supposed to do with all, you know, the mandates that they have to do,” Wilkerson added.
Fujiyama is allowing a six-person party max at each table and guests are not required to wear face coverings.
The popular Japanese steakhouse spent their time without dine-in not only finding success in curbside, takeout and delivery but also using it to remodel.
“We redid the floors, we’ve sanded, took down a lot of the walls in the hibachi room, so we’ve had time to clean and do all kinds of new things,” Pierce said.
Over the last two months, Fujiyama was in a unique position as they even had to over staff to help fill takeout orders, but it certainly did not fill the void of having guests in the restaurant.
“It’s almost like refreshing to go into a restaurant and be in society again, I guess you could say,” Mclaughlin said.
“We had the curbside takeout and it was good but nothing compares to the chef cooking in front of you and getting all your fountain drinks and all that good stuff,” Wilkerson added.
Both of their locations in Beckley and Summersville are open at half-capacity with their usual hours: Monday-Friday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday: 12-11 p.m., Sunday: 12-9 p.m.
They are still doing curbside, takeout and delivery.