Local restaurant owner remodels, expands amid quarantine
By MATT WELCH
The Winchester Star June 15, 2020
STEPHENS CITY — Though COVID-19 quarantines put a damper on his businesses, Dan Myers and his staff used the time to shore up some remodeling and look ahead at expansion.
Myers, who owns Paladin Bar & Grill in Stephens City, Front Porch Market & Grill in The Plains and Salon Kelektiv in Stephens City, is seeing those efforts pay dividends as his businesses open back up.
At Paladin, Myers and company knocked out a wall near the front entrance and created a 1,000-square-foot indoor seating area that will eventually host live music. They also poured concrete for an outdoor seating space in front of the restaurant.
Over at Front Porch, Myers said additional outdoor seating was put in on a chunk of property acquired through purchasing their building at 6483 Main St. in The Plains.
Outdoor seating has been popular at both establishments, he said.
“I could walk out there and know every single person at each table,” Myers said. “It was all locals — they’ve been so good to us. The patio has been staying full; I think people feel more comfortable outside.”
Myers said the pandemic gave his staff more time to take their time through the remodeling process, whereas if they’d done it during normal times with customers coming in and out it likely would have put them “under the gun” to get the work done.
He said he has been pleased with the response. Paladin and Front Porch both reopened for outdoor seating immediately when Gov. Ralph Northam issued Phase One of his reopening plan, but indoor seating just reopened last week.
Last Wednesday night, when Paladin opened indoor seating, Myers said it was at its capacity limit under Phase Two, which allows for 50% capacity.
“Wednesday was great. Everybody was happy to be in,” Myers said. “A lot of people getting to-go regularly were watching the progress of the remodeling. Those that are coming in seem excited to be sitting over there.”
Myers said he and his staff are excited to be welcoming guests again, especially after business was flowing “pretty good” in early March prior to shutdowns.
“We were rocking and rolling. We were starting to hit a really good stride, and then everything stopped,” he said. “But we survived.”
Takeout and delivery orders helped Myers’ staff stay busy, and he said he was grateful for the amount of local support.
“We did a really good takeout and delivery business here. It’s actually incredible — and I’m not exaggerating at all — how the locals and our regulars have supported us and have even come in and helped wash dishes,” he said.
“Friday nights were really overwhelming, especially when to-go alcohol started.”
As folks begin to venture back out, Myers said the plan is to continue offering as much of the normal menu and drink selections as he can. Some things will be limited depending on supplies, he said.
He also hopes live music will return soon.
To go with his remodeling, Myers said he’s planning to open another location in Clear Brook at the old Woolen Mills Grill building at 3416 Martinsburg Pike (U.S. 11) in Clear Brook.
He plans on naming the bar and grill Paladin @ The Woolen Mills. He said he hopes to have it open this fall.
Myers said Executive Chef Jason VonMoll will continue servicing all three locations, and customers can continue to expect the “trusty favorites” at each location.
Current hours for Paladin are 4-9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 4-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It is located at 181-A Warrior Drive, Stephens City. Call 540-868-8327.
Hours for Front Porch are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday and Monday. It is located at 6483 John Marshall Highway, The Plains. Call 540-253-2018.
— Contact Matt Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org