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The Homeplace inundated with customers since closure announcement, but is it enough to keep it open?

COVID-19 has taken a toll on local businesses, and crowd-favorite The Homeplace is no different

Diners dash to Homeplace as it will be closing indefinitely after Sunday.
Diners dash to Homeplace as it will be closing indefinitely after Sunday.

CATAWBA, Va. – There’s been an outpouring of support for a Roanoke Valley icon as they announce an indefinite closure. Customers have flocked to The Homeplace restaurant for one last meal.

With all the interest it begs the question, is it enough to make the owners change their minds?

It's certainly busy at The Homeplace Restaurant tonight! One diner tells us there's a 3-hour wait! The restaurant will be closing indefinitely after Sunday: (📷: Jim Graves)

Posted by WSLS 10 / on Thursday, October 15, 2020

Taniah Emmons was among hundreds waiting for a table Friday night for another taste of the signature down-home cooking.

“It’s actually home-cooked and prepared, it’s just like amazing. The vibe is amazing, the food is amazing and it’s really sad that they’re going to be closing," Emmons said.

Earlier this week The Homeplace announced its signature “pack 'em in” family-style eating doesn’t work in a pandemic. Second-generation owner Kevin Wingate said they’ve been inundated with calls and people showing up, having to turn many away.

“We had right at 400 Thursday night,” Wingate said. “Oh it feels great and we really do appreciate it and we’re thankful for their support.”

While the long-timers came out of the woodwork, it’s even more disappointing for the new faces. Rose Bogan’s second visit may be her last.

“A friend of mine brought me here last spring for my first time, and like I said I fell in love with it," Bogan said.

Fearing a repeat of Thursday night’s dinner for 400, staff cut off the list at 200 people Friday night and they hit that within the first hour or two of being open.

Even with all the attention, Wingate said the decision is made.

“We’re still going to close after Sunday and re-evaluate sometime next year," Wingate said.

He hopes the world will quiet down by then. It’s been in the family for nearly 40 years and it’s truly a labor of love.

“If we get open again in the future which I hope we do, at some point we’ll have to reevaluate and see what circumstances are but we’ll hope you’ll come back and support us again," Wingate said.