CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -While a GoFundMe page has raised thousands, the plan to save Littlejohn’s has quite a few hurdles to overcome.
“All that I saw was the potential for it not to be here anymore, I couldn’t let that happen,” Bo Stockton, who owns Michael’s Bistro and is spearheading efforts to save Littlejohn’s said.
When Stockton discovered that Littlejohn’s, an eatery that’s been serving University of Virginia students and people in Charlottesville for decades, was at risk of being closed forever, he swooped in to try and save it.
“Some friends of mine and I decided to partner up and start a GoFundMe to figure out if we can save Littlejohn’s,” he said.
The GoFundMe page currently has over $22,000 towards the goal of $85,000. Stockton says every penny of which is going into the eatery.
“Dressing the place up a little bit, putting a little bit of paint on the wall, you know, taking this beautiful logo and maybe dressing it up a little bit,” Stockton said.
The page is not their only option.
“Any and every possible revenue source is being searched by us as a group. There’s no PPP loan to apply to right now, we didn’t own this business before. You had to own a business prior to COVID in order to use that service that the government provided,” Stockton said.
His business partner, who has decades of experience in the restaurant business, joined the effort to save Littlejohn’s when the pandemic forced him out of his job as a chef.
He says there will be changes including whittling down the menu, but keeping all the classics.
“We want to rethink the sort of flow of traffic through the dining room, just to make it more efficient, sort of in and out, grab and go. Cut down the indoor seating, open up the patio seating,” chef and co-owner Matt Lechmanski said.
Opening Littlejohn’s is about more than finding a revenue source. The team says they want to pay people a living wage while paying their bills, but there are hurdles to overcome.
“It is completely based on the students being here, so without them, 50% occupancy, six feet apart and you can’t have bars open after 10 p.m., you’re not doing it,” Stockton said.
The GoFundMe page will be open through the middle of October.