Lynchburg restaurant reopens months after cooking up controversy

Owner regrets tweet, looks to strengthen relationship in community

A Lynchburg restaurant is opening after renovating damage from protests.

LYNCHBURG, Va. – A Lynchburg restaurant is back in business following controversy earlier this year.

Fifth & Federal Station has been closed since May, when the restaurant supported a tweet from-then Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. showing a picture of a face mask with the blackface photo from Gov. Northam’s yearbook page on it.

The tweet read, “If you get extra made let us know! We would offer them to our staff as a mask option!”

10 News was there when violence broke out in response, causing more than a $100,000 in damages.

The owner, Josh Read, declined to go on camera, but told 10 News they regret the tweet. It was posted out of frustration toward Gov. Northam’s COVID-19 restrictions targeting restaurants.

One Lynchburg resident said Thursday it’s nice to have Fifth & Federal back in business.

“We’re really glad to see this place up here because it’s been a long time since we’ve had something like this on 5th Street,” said Albert Horsley.

Some other passersby declined interviews, but called Fifth & Federal “racist.”

The owner said they’re focusing on strengthening their relationships within the community and invite people to visit to see what they’re truly about.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.