RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A popular Richmond restaurant has reopened for business Wednesday after shutting down for nearly seven months as a result of the pandemic.
Crossroads on Forest Hill Avenue, known for serving up delicious bagels, ice cream and coffee, made the tough decision to close its doors on March 15.
Owner, William Herring, told 8News they remained closed for safety reasons but also to reinvent and re-imagine the family business in trying times. Herring found a way to keep going, however, reopening Wednesday, with a few nerves.
“First day back, it feels good!” exclaimed Herring. “It was bleak at times, but customers were very patient with us and it was great to see so many familiar faces.”
Dozens of customers waited in line, six-feet apart, for the food and drink they’ve craved for months. Many brought their dogs to enjoy the great weather while stopping to congratulate Herring on opening back up.
Emory Bowers, a regular at Crossroads before the pandemic, stopping in four days a week to order his favorite bagel, was at the restaurant bright and early, supporting what he calls his family.
“I like the food, I like the coffee but most important it’s like a family to me, ” Bowers shared. “It’s not just a restaurant. I missed the owners, the people that work here and my friends that frequent here.”
A big draw to Crossroads is its social environment, especially the live music, but COVID-19 has forced Herring to restructure things.
“Takeout was never a really big part of what we did,” Herring said. “It was all about bringing people together in our neighborhood and community, so I was a little bit depressed about not being able to do that, but I got excited about trying this new model.”
When customers visit Crossroads, they will notice on big change: the restaurant is now walk-up style. Herring and volunteers renovated the building, adding a walk-up window for ordering and a window for pick-up nearby.
Customers are not allowed inside but can still socially distance and enjoy the patio.
With numerous restaurants in the Richmond-Metro area steadily closing, Herring says safety is his top priority and he’s thankful for all the loans, grants, and community support that helped the 18-year staple stay afloat.
“My heart goes out to all the restaurants during these times,” Herring shared. “There was no certainty that we were going to get through.”
A GoFundMe account was created for the restaurant and staff, which generated more than $9,000.
The restaurant does require masks, there are coffee stickers on the ground spaced six feet apart for customers to stand, and there are hand sanitizing stations.
For now, Crossroads is serving a limited menu and has limited hours. The hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
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