WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Aromas in Colonial Williamsburg's Merchants Square lost a lot of foot traffic from tourists and William & Mary students.
Today, the coffeeshop and bakery is letting people back inside. According to Virginia's Phase Two rules for reopening, restaurants can seat inside at 50 percent capacity.
Aromas also expanded its outdoor seating to accommodate more people.
Fortunately these efforts have been enough to survive, but even in the beginning, Head Baker Dominique Lindsay says she and her coworkers felt the support.
"There are a lot of really good regulars that kept coming in," she recalled. "We wanted to be here for the community. We wanted to make sure people had a place to go to eat and just to be out so we followed the guidelines the governor set up for us and they met it with us."
French-influenced Blue Talon Bistro sits just across Prince George Street from Aromas.
Unlike its neighbor, Blue Talon spent the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic shut down entirely.
Sous chef Dale Dykhuizen tells News 3 when the restaurant reopened in mid-April for takeout only, it served only a couple orders a day at times.
Since outdoor seating returned last month, business has picked up. Now that indoor seating is allowed again, Dykhuizen says it's like he's able to invite people back into work home for the first time.
"We're back to being busy in the kitchen, to being able to do what we do. We just want to feed people. It's all we want to do. It's just what our calling is and when they're not here, it's hard," he said.
Blue Talon Bistro is co-owned by David Everett, the owner and Executive Chef of new restaurant, La Piazza.
The restaurant specializes in Italian food and recently opened in the spot on Duke of Gloucester Street once held by The Trellis Bar & Grill.
431 Prince George St, Williamsburg, VA 23185
Hours: Mon-Sat, 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
Blue Talon Bistro
420 Prince George St, Williamsburg, VA 23185
Hours: Sun-Sat, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
403 W Duke of Gloucester St., Williamsburg, VA 23185
Hours: Mon-Fri, 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat-Sun, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.