‘We are in uncharted territory;’ Local restaurant owners making the most of coronavirus restrictions

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – On Tuesday evening, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced that all restaurants and bars must close down their dine-in area in hopes to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Take-out is permitted but this has left many dine-in restaurants in a bit of a bind. 

Secret Sandwich Society Owner Lewis Rhinehart says it is about making the best of it. His Fayetteville restaurant, one of the most popular in the area, is now doing curbside pickup.  

“Basically you can call the order in, pay for it over the phone by credit card,” Rhinehart said. “You can give us a call when you arrive, and we can bring it out to you. We are allowing people to come in and pick it up. We’re just not allowing anybody to come in and wait around for their food. If you do need to do a walk-in order, you can come in, place the order, and then we just ask that you wait outside or wait in the car and we’ll have it ready for you.” 

Secret Sandwich is also doing deliveries within Fayetteville limits as long as the order hits the $25 minimum.

Just down Route 19 in Oak Hill, the Red Oak Grill is doing free deliveries within city limits and offering take out. Owner Thomas Burdette says times like these call for creativity in order to survive. 

“We’re also looking at putting some packages together, maybe for meals for four people or six people or whatever, so people don’t have to cook at home all the time,” Burdette said. “They can come by, pick up a meal, take it home and heat it up and have dinner without having to worry about it.” 

Both owners say supporting local is crucial for these businesses right now.

Rhinehart says his 30-person staff is taking the biggest hit as he has to create a rotating, staggered schedule.

He is also splitting tips from the orders with the entire staff, again reiterating how important it is to shop local during this uncertain time. 

“Do everything you can to support local,” Rhinehart said. “Buy gift cards. This will pass. It will end. Support your local businessmen. Support your local artists. Support your local musicians. We are in uncharted territory.” 

Both restaurants have taken extra measures in sanitizing their entire space and continuously cleaning throughout the day.

To place an order with the Red Oak Grill, you can call (681) 823-5319.

For Secret Sandwich Society, you can call (304) 574-4777.

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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.