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Big family, bigger stage: After 2020 struggles, 36-year-old family business on the rebound

rabi family.JPG
Posted at 8:31 AM, Sep 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 09:51:24-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Energetic performances in front of a packed house.

It's becoming more and more common at Scandals Live on Holland Road. For the family that owns the music venue and Mom's Kitchen next door, a complete 180 from earlier this year.

"COVID has tremendously affected our business. It's lunchtime and nobody's here," Lara Rabi lamented to News 3 in January.

Eight months later, Rabi stands with the rest of her family, three generations in total, with an ease that wasn't there before.

"We've booked a number of national acts and it's getting better, we've done well, we're very happy with everything we've accomplished during that shutdown period," said Rabi.

That's a larger stage with state-of-the-art lighting and audio inside what's now Scandals Live. A partnership with COVA Entertainment helps land national acts like Saliva, Crazy Town and blues rocker Eric Gales.

Not too bad for a story that started with a dream. Mike and Layla Rabi, Lara's parents, immigrated to the United States from Lebanon in search of a better life.

"I started in 1985, two weeks before Mother's Day. We were rushing to finish before Mother's Day," recalls Mike of when he opened Mom's Kitchen and Scandals.

A lot's changed since then. The Rabi's three daughters are grown and new family members have been added. Longtime customers have grown up with this family business.

"Our customers, many of them are our family. A lot of them come in every day," said Lara.

What hasn't changed is the food coming out of the kitchen. Comfort, scratch-made favorites like chicken and waffles and meatloaf. Layla Rabi brings in homemade desserts like coconut custard pie.

"I want to say thank God and we're still here after all this thing happened. We try to have to-go orders, work day and night to help this business. To keep it surviving," said Layla.

And survive, it has. This devoted family and the people supporting making sure of that.

Click HERE for more information about performances at Scandals Live.