We're OpenTakeout Tuesday


#TakeoutTuesday: Restaurants, other businesses get creative to soften pandemic impact

Posted at 3:50 AM, Apr 14, 2020

Year three was shaping up to be a big one at Branches Tasting Room.

Then, a few weeks ago, sales tumbled.

"It's hard to build those relationships because now we're doing a to-go service or delivery where we're just taking out to a person's car," said Owner Julie Curry.

Government restrictions to stop the spread of coronavirus forced Curry to completely change her business model.

Instead of offering tastings, wine flights, charcuterie and other specialty foods inside her Western Branch Chesapeake space, she's bringing food and sealed bottles to cars, while also offering free delivery all over Hampton Roads.

"We are, as everyone is, relying on our community. We're gonna keep on being innovative for them and changing our menu items out weekly and offering specials," said Curry.

Being innovative can mean many things. Local musicians who normally come in and play during the weekends are still doing so, but their performances are livestreamed on Facebook.

Curry is also lowering wine prices to try and get any business she can because while times are tough, she's determined to keep her dream afloat...and not just for herself.

"(Branches) definitely has my dad written all over it. He was very impactful on the way this looks, the aesthetics of this. Unfortunately we lost him last May so this is his legacy as well as mine," she said.

A few miles down the road in Downtown Portsmouth, you'll find innovation in a different form at Roger Brown's Restaurant & Sports Bar, which is temporarily adding "Grocery & Market" to its name, per the sign out front.

"Other restaurants were doing it around the country and so we kind of adopted the idea from them," said Owner Curtis Lyons.

Roger Brown's felt the coronavirus impact earlier than some when March Madness basketball was canceled completely. MLB Opening Day and other major sporting events followed, taking away business.

Lyons says business is down 90 percent. His restaurant's market is a way to soften the blow, in addition to takeout and delivery orders.

"We have toilet paper. We do get a lot of people buying toilet paper. Eggs are very popular, chicken I guess can't be found in the stores so we do lots of chicken, cut steaks, fresh breads, bakery goods," he says.

It's just takeout bringing in the business at Byrd's Restaurant in Newport News.

Owner Jason Snyder cut hours so now the restaurant is only open Thursday through Sunday.

Located on Warwick Avenue next to Christopher Newport University, Snyder was looking forward to the business from Spring Graduation and Mother's Day.

But despite difficulties of losing dine-in business, he and his staff are staying positive.

"You gotta keep an upbeat spirit. I'm not trying to close my doors. I'm going to keep them open as long as I can. Limiting the hours is tough. It's what I have to do but we're going to make it through and be back open hopefully," said Snyder.

Byrd's is in its fourth year in business. Snyder says he makes all orders from scratch.

Branches Tasting Room
2125 Starmount Pkwy Unit 105, Chesapeake, VA 23321
Call (757) 392-3942 for orders or email juliekcurry@yahoo.com
Hours: 1 p.m.-8 p.m. Tues-Sat, 12 p.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

Roger Brown's Restaurant & Sports Bar
316 High St, Portsmouth, VA 23704
Call (757) 399-5377 for orders
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Wed-Sun

Byrd's Restaurant
27 Hidenwood Shopping Center, 12425 Warwick Blvd, Newport News, VA 23606
Call (757) 223-9841 for orders
Hours: 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Thurs-Sun

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