WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – One of the hardest-hit areas of the pandemic has been restaurants. They’ve had to find a path through, like one new Valley restaurant that is still surviving one year later.
Charbenay’s Wine on the River, which is located right along the Mahoning River in Warren, opened in the fall of 2019, right before COVID-19 hit.
“Opening this was just a dream come true,” said owner Charlene Butcher.
The restaurant was closed within five months by the coronavirus. Butcher’s vision was clouded by tears and despair.
“Well, I don’t want to get emotional, but COVID hit hard!” she said.
Butcher has heart. She survived a heart attack three years ago before opening her business. Closing for over a month after a successful start was also difficult. Butcher poured a good portion of her savings into the opening and feared she could lose everything.
“Of course, I’m sure every business owner has that fear, but you’re strong and you’re a survivor,” Butcher said.
Butcher cares about her business. She has just four employees compared to 18 when she started.
Carryout helps but it’s not enough. Each day, Butcher sees an improving situation.
“Last Saturday, I had more business than I’ve had in the previous month,” she said.
It’s a start. Charbenay’s has patio seating and room to socially distance diners. Butcher feels the vaccine is helping too and can’t wait to hear the governor say all health orders are lifted.
“I’m so excited about the future now. I think the worst is over. So I want to encourage everyone to come and see Charbenay’s,” she said.
Butcher says she has gotten great support and advice from more seasoned restaurant owners.
Charbenay’s still has limited hours at this time. It’s open for dinner on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4-9 p.m. and for lunch and dinner on Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 9 p.m.