ROANOKE, Va. – One of Roanoke’s most well-known restaurants lost an important member of its staff, and customers came together to eulogize him this weekend.
Texas Tavern chef Randy Dodd died on Friday from a heart attack after 25 years of working for the all-night diner.
“He probably knew as many people in Roanoke as anyone,” said Texas Tavern owner Matt Bullington. “I can’t say I’ve ever had anyone who was better on the counter with the customers. When people come in, you make them feel welcome...Randy always did that.”
Regulars of Texas Tavern mourned Dodd’s death on Sunday and remembered him as a friendly part of their lives.
“Everything about him just made you happy, it felt like my mood completely switched whenever I saw him,” said Nicole Hypes, who said she eats at Texas Tavern nearly every day. “It’s probably going to hit me Monday morning when I’m used to seeing him and he’s not there.”
Dodd’s family came to the restaurant as well, including his brother David, who traveled to Roanoke from Tennessee.
“He used to tell me he loved working on Sundays because he could see the ladies come in from church and talk to them all day,” David Dodd said. “It blows me away how many people in Virginia loved him. It really does.”
Hypes said Dodd’s joyful spirit was a big reason why so many customers enjoyed eating at Texas Tavern.
“It’s not just going to get something to eat when you come here,” Hypes said. “It’s going to see your friends.”
Customers signed a poster in memory of Dodd, and his family received the hat he wore while working at the restaurant.
A GoFundMe has been organized to help Dodd’s family pay for his funeral. You can donate money for the funeral by clicking this link.