Restaurant owners excited, hesitant to reopen

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Next week, restaurants can reopen indoor dining at 50% capacity.

Although restaurants have the option to almost go back to normal, some say they’re not making the jump just yet.

“What we are deciding to do is we’re going to stay with the curbside service,” said Secret Sandwich Society owner Lewis Rhinehart. “We’re not going to open the dining room until there is more of an all clear.”

Both Secret Sandwich Society and The Station in Fayetteville will not open their dining rooms next week. While restaurants may choose limit their service, that doesn’t mean they aren’t working to offer more to customers.

“We do have some plans in the works for some outside dining,” said The Station owner Amy Summerford. “We just need to chat with [town officials] to make sure they’re good with our thoughts and maybe in the next week or so, go ahead with that.”

Some restaurants may not be ready invite guests to dine in just yet, but El Bandido in Oak Hill is ready to welcome back familiar faces.

“I’m excited, honestly,” said part owner Julian Ayala. “It’s been way too long–a little bit over two months–so we are excited to get back open and hopefully it’s a good turnout.”

The popular Mexican restaurant had to cut staff hours in half during the pandemic and struggled to keep up with orders during Cinco de Mayo.

“Thankfully, Cinco de Mayo was a really good turn out, but we’ve never dealt with Cinco de Mayo on carry-out only, so it was a little bit more complicated than what we intended.”

Staff at El Bandido will seat guests at tables at least 6 feet apart and wear PPE while serving. All they ask of guests is that they stay patient as they work out the kinks in their new way of operating.

“I’m sure the first day or two will be a little bit different for the customers and for us to get everything situated,” said Ayala. “We have great customers, so I’m sure they’ll understand and give us a little bit of time to get everything adjusted.”

Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.