ROANOKE, Va. – With fall and winter approaching, restaurants that have been relying on outdoor dining since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic are getting creative to keep their customers happy as temperatures drop.
“It’s been a constant up/down of information that comes daily but with the outside seating, we’ve been in really good shape,” said Nathan Webster, owner of Scratch Biscuit Company and Village Grill, both in Roanoke.
About half of the seating for both restaurants is outside, so Webster is getting creative to keep costumers coming back through the colder months by creating an app from which people can order directly.
“We’re in the process of starting to hire more and more delivery drivers to fill that need as we get there because I feel like that’s really going to bridge the gap as we continue into the fall and winter,” said Webster.
Webster is not alone. Tuco’s Taqueria Garaje in Roanoke is also preparing for the colder months by focusing more on carry out and catering orders.
“Of course summer is busy because everyone wants to get out and enjoy the sunshine and have some tacos and tequila but fortunately we’ve been doing really well since we opened back up from COVID shutdown so luckily, like I said, our guests come and show us lots of love,” said Anissa Soprano, general manager of Tuco’s.
Tourism leaders with Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge said they are doing everything they can to bring in more visitors and boost revenue in the area.
“We have a half a million dollars that we’re spending on a campaign for the fall and holiday season and we’re asking people to come out and enjoy the mountains again,” said Landon Howard, president of VBR.
Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge is working with local businesses across the Roanoke Valley to make sure tourists feel safe if they choose to visit.
“The health and safety of our guests are really critical in order for them to feel like coming here was really worth it,” said Howard.
Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge has a reopening guide on their website.