SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) -With the way things currently are at the moment, some businesses will have a difficult time going forward with proper social distancing.
That would be the case for one long-standing local restaurant that was based on sitting around the table and passing food to people you may have just met for the first time. Now they’re trying something new.
Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room is having to make some adjustments. They say they are nervous, and a little excited to get back to work.
“Trying to seize the opportunity and do something and maybe we’ll be able to expand into something else, start small and see what happen,” says owner-operator Ryon Thompson.
It’s still a family business, currently under its fourth generation of leadership with great-grandson Ryon Thompson, his wife Lindsay, and his mom Marcia. Now, they are going to try take outs, out of the front door. They say before the shutdown, 90 percent of their business was from tourists. Now they are hoping the local crowd can come back.
“We’ve missed everybody,” said Thompson. “And we’re constantly hearing, 'well we’d love to come eat with you but we just don’t have time to stand in the line. We hate to hear that. We’ve missed everybody, it’ll be exciting to see some old friends and make some new ones.”
They’ve been around for nearly eight decades, but it’s been twenty years since they’ve done take outs. Gone are the long lines that stretch around the corner of Jones and Whitaker, and the tables full of people passing food to each other along with a smile. They’ll only be doing take outs for now, but Marcia will be glad to still invite first-timers for a look inside.
“It would be really fun if people that haven’t experienced the dining room, and what we’ve been doing for eighty years if they could come in and see the table set and see what it was like and perhaps see the maps that we have of people from all over the world, the pins that they put their little hometown on, and just get a feel for it,” said Marcia.
Marica came back in 1975 to help with the family business. She says she can't imagine what her grandmother would say about the times we live in, but she does say she'd have a plan.
“She would have some kind of vision I can tell you that," says Marcia. "And she would say, just remember, you can, she always said, ‘if you give a person a good meal at a fair price, you’ll always have plenty of business,’ and she always did. See you making me get a tear.”