‘We’re doing what we can to survive’: Bent Mountain Bistro adapting to coronavirus regulations

BENT MOUNTAIN, Va. – The coronavirus has dealt a devastating blow to restaurants across the country. Some have closed their doors, while others have made changes to how they serve customers.

For Bent Mountain Bistro owner Ben Ward, he cannot afford to stop.

“If we were to close entirely, we probably would not be able to reopen," Ward said. "The bills keep coming in no matter what.”

That’s why Ward has turned to curbside service at his restaurant on Route 221. He is even encouraging customers to eat inside of their cars.

“When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade," Ward said. "We’re just playing the hand we were dealt.”

Bent Mountain Bistro is the only full-fledged restaurant in its namesake community of a few hundred people. Those who live in the area, like Pete Warren, said they’re motivated to keep ordering from the bistro to ensure it does not close for good.

“We want them to stay up on the mountain," Warren said. "There have been a couple other businesses that have been up here, and they’ve all gone under.”

Warren and his brother ordered two hamburgers and a crab cake sandwich from the restaurant on Saturday.

“It’s just nice to throw a local restaurant some extra business when they need it," Warren said.

Ward said he does need the business because he’s not sure if he qualifies for the small business loans included in the recently-approved federal stimulus package. He said he’s especially motivated to keep his restaurant running because of the small community it serves.

“If we were to close, it wouldn’t just impact us and our employees, but also our extended family of farmers and suppliers," Ward said. “It’s a close knit community, and we’re doing what we can to survive.”

Bent Mountain Bistro is open from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

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