SALEM, Va. – Mac and Bob’s in Salem is no stranger to media attention, but co-owner Bob Rotanz said the attention on Monday was surreal.
“It was also weird because we had no music in the restaurant and we had to ask customers to keep their voices down. So it was kind of strange since it was so quiet,” Rotanz said.
A crew from the Today Show spent almost seven hours in the restaurant talking to Rotanz, his business partner and customers.
“They’d set up with their lights and their cameras and they’d say, ‘Okay, now you can go, Bob,’” Rotanz recalled.
When the decision was made in 2018 to pursue Chapter 11 bankruptcy after being hit with lawsuits over the restaurant’s policy requiring waiters and waitresses to share tips with dishwashers, the community stepped up to raise more than $150,000 to cover the restaurant’s legal fees.
Any money leftover was used for scholarships for employees.
With bankruptcy in the rear view mirror, Rotanz and customers are looking forward to the restaurant’s national television debut.
“We were talking about that on the way here just a little bit ago. We are excited to see them on national TV," Barbara Gresham said as she waited on her food to arrive.
“It’s pretty awesome. Salem’s a pretty small town, so getting national recognition is really cool,” customer Leigh McDonald said.
“We can put it on our social media, on our website, ‘As seen on NBC’s Today Show,'" Rotanz said, laughing. "We’ll be doing that for a long time.”
The story will air during the Today Show on Sunday, which starts at 8 a.m. on WSLS 10.