Making a Difference: Fayetteville favorite reinvents itself to meet the needs of the community

FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WOAY) –  This week’s Make a Difference Monday nominee: Cathedral Cafe.

Cathedral Cafe has been a longtime favorite among locals and tourists to come get breakfast, lunch or a quick coffee in the unique atmosphere, but when restaurants were forced to close in March when the pandemic began…

“We panicked,” Owner Wendy Bayes said. “That was the first thing everybody did was we all panicked. And we were like, ‘Oh my gosh. What are we gonna do?’” 

So Cathedral went down to limited staff and started a new venture: family-style dinners.

They stayed open later and worked longer, so that those getting off of work could come pick up a fresh, hot meal and take it home. 

“The big push was for health care workers, because they’re working these long shifts,” Bayes said. “They’re exhausted. They don’t want to have to go home and cook, so we thought, ‘Let’s just have those meals ready. We’ll post them online. They would message us, text us, call. Whatever. Place their order, and we stayed open extra. Normally, we close at 4. We’d stay open until 6 and be here until 7, so people could pick them up on their way home from work.” 

Another thing people could do at Cathedral on their way home from work was knock out their grocery list.

Bayes had extra of just about everything that was flying off the shelves in the bigger stores like beef, chicken and even toilet paper, so it became a one stop shop where people could pick up that and more.

As they have opened to limited capacity, the family-style dinners have phased out, but they’re still selling grocery items and will keep their popular grab-and-go fridge filled with everything from salsa to tortellini.

Over the past few months, in the midst of chaos, Cathedral was still working to be that community hub where if you needed chicken, Cathedral had it. If you were out of toilet paper, the cafe had your back. And if you simply just needed someone to talk, Bayes and her staff were right there for you. 

“You ever just need to be needed? I think that’s basically what it was,” Bayes said. “When somebody has a need, I think we have an obligation to help much as we can if we can.”

This is week two of Make a Difference Mondays. We are working with the Fayette County Health Department, the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce and New River Health to feature local businesses who are going above and beyond to keep our communities safe.

If you know of one who deserves to be nominated, head over to https://fayettecounty.com/makingadifference/.

Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.