VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - "I refuse to go out without a fight."
That was Ryan Hines's message in April, just a couple weeks after Virginia measures to stop the spread of coronavirus took effect.
Hines's restaurant, The Rustic Spoon, was only two months old at the time.
He and business partner, Jay Kulas, opened the brunch spot on Pleasure House Road on February 12; a dream years in the making for the two former Oceanfront bartenders.
Hines says the opening was a huge success, but just six weeks in, pandemic restrictions forced him to close the doors to dine-in service and business plunged 80 percent.
In response, The Rustic Spoon laid off all but the cooks, added dinner options to the menu and began offering delivery.
By the arrival of Phase Two of Virginia's coronavirus recovery, business was still down, but the restaurant was able to bring back some of the wait staff.
Three months later, The Rustic Spoon is still around with Phase Three a fresh start of sorts.
The new phase lifts limits on seating capacity, among other changes. Hines tells News 3 it's a welcome change and he's getting ready to launch a new menu to mark the occasion.
A plan to bring back bar seating will have to wait, however, after Governor Ralph Northam announced on Tuesday that bar seating isn't allowed yet.
Click HERE for more information about The Rustic Spoon.
Happy #HumpDay!! We’re LIVE at The Rustic Spoon in #VirginiaBeach for the start of #Phase3. It’s been open since February & is now preparing a new menu to try & reintroduce itself in the coming weeks. STORY: https://t.co/5MnTDRneJE @WTKR3 pic.twitter.com/VSQoJHazFo— Anthony Sabella (@AnthonyWTKR) July 1, 2020