Roanoke restaurants with outdoor seating see business potential wash away

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) - It's been almost a week since Governor Ralph Northam's orders allowed restaurants to seat people outside, but the businesses have only been able to enjoy a few days of it.

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For one of Roanoke's riverside restaurants, the chance to tip-toe into normalcy lasted just a few days.

"Once Monday came around, that was it, it was over," said Bruce Todaro, owner of the Green Goat.

And when it rains, it pours.

"Tuesday we lost power for about four hours. Wednesday we lost phone service," he said. "And obviously the rain is just overwhelming. And you can see there's nobody on the deck."

He's trying to keep spirits up, while the rain keeps coming down.

"I just hope that the rain stops, we dry up a little bit, and I can have a good weekend this weekend. It's Memorial Day Weekend," he said. "And we'll be happy to have that, I mean we're just grateful for whatever we can get at this point."

Over in downtown Roanoke's City Market Building, the outdoor seating was also bare.

"The rain on top of a pandemic is about the worst case scenario you can imagine for a small business trying to get some income at this time," said Elliot Broyles, executive director of the City Market Building.

He said during springtime, the market can bring anywhere from 1,500 to 1,700 people through the doors in a day.

Now that it's dwindled to zero, the market's tenants were hopeful for foot traffic.

"Downtown depends on people who park you know a block or two away and walk and shop at our local shops, dine at our local restaurants," Broyles said, "and in the rain they won't do that."

This weekend Scrambled will open its doors. Broyles anticipates Fork in the Market opening in one or two weeks' time, and eventually the market building itself will open up as well.

But he and Todaro are hopeful Roanoke will continue to support it's smallest businesses and that Mother Nature will take the hint, too.

"We just need the sun to shine for us." said Todaro, "And we'll shine as well."

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