NORFOLK, Va. – The restaurant that sits on the corner of Granby and Freemason Streets is now Major Phillie Cheesesteaks.
Owner Kashmere Taylor says opening in the middle of a pandemic is a major risk.
“I would say the risk is 100% worth it, to be honest,” Taylor adds.
Taylor and his business partner, Chef Alan, plan to keep this grill on for as long as possible.
“We have the surf-and-turf dish. We have the salmon dishes,” he adds.
These owners are serving the seven cities a taste of what they call "authentic Philly cheesesteaks."
“What we taste in Philly is what they are going to taste here,” said Taylor.
Before opening in December, Taylor knew it was important to come up with a business model that would allow them to remain open if - and when - restrictions get tighter.
“Get them in and out! Not a steady standing around with everyone gathering - just getting you the food and getting you out of the door,” he adds.
Keeping their doors open is important. Others on this street and across the country haven’t been able to do the same.
According to the National Restaurant Association, more than 110,000 restaurants nationwide have closed long-term or permanently between March and December 2020.
Statewide, the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association tells News 3 that 20-25% of restaurants have closed since the start of the pandemic.
Taylor says his eight years of service in the Army gives him the courage to venture into this new business in a time of economic crisis.
“We are going to get this done. We are going to conquer it! The pandemic will only last for so long. Once the pandemic is done, we are going to be standing,” he adds.