Some Charlottesville take-out spots move back indoors, Bodos to ditch drive-thru

Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 4:34 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Many Charlottesville restaurants that switched gears to do take-out and drive-thru styles throughout the coronavirus pandemic are now making big changes now that restrictions have lifted.

Places like Corner Juice and Brazos Tacos have now opened indoors after sticking to take-out orders only for over a year. The biggest change will come from Bodos Bagels as it looks to get rid of its drive-thru by early July.

“From the beginning, we’ve had people asking about when we’re going to be back inside,” Bodos Bagels Co-owner Scott Smith said.

While many people miss having their morning bagel inside, Smith says the drive-thru has been a big hit.

“We’ve been running the drive-thru now for over a year,” he said. “It was a difficult transition, we had to do it very quickly.”

Smith says staff worked hard to get the drive-thru line down to a science, but it was always a temporary solution.

“Inside we can just do a better job. Just every element of service we’re better at in there,” he said.

Smith says we are in the final countdown before the drive-thru at both Preston Avenue and Emmet Street go away.

“People often ask if we’re going to be able to do both things, with inside and the drive-thru,” he said. “Just looking at the line, it’s logistically impossible to do both things.”

Businesses like Corner Juice on the Downtown Mall opened up inside, but it’s keeping online take-out ordering system as well. Co-Owner Kevin McConnell is relieved to welcome folks indoors.

“Definitely the most challenging of our four years in business,” McConnell said. “Jumping over the counter 20, 30, 40, even 100 times a day, walking 10 miles total per day to the window back.”

The same goes for Brazos Tacos. Front-of-house worker Tre Myers says the difference between doing to-go ordering and in-person dining is night and day.

“I feel like I kind of started a new job,” Myers said. “A lot of the staff that is here now, wasn’t really here before COVID.”

Both say they missed the smiling faces of customers.

“I missed the energy from our customers,” McConnell said. “This is kind of a hangout for students. I also missed just seeing my customers’ faces.

“The customers seem a lot happier,” Myers said. “They’re happy that they don’t have to take their own orders.”

Bodos is set to open indoors around the end of June or the beginning of July. Smith says the owners are still deciding whether they will do take-out only or open up the dining room completely.

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