Brendalay Grill staff comments on reopening of town favorite restaurant 

Taylor VanDuzee

 Laci Hitchcock and Bailey Daugherty are seniors at Arlington High School and have lived in the community their entire livesThey gained a hostess position at Brendalay Grill about two months ago upon the reopeningBrendalay Grill is a family owned restaurant located in the heart of Arlington. Brendalay originally opened in 2010, but a kitchen fire in 2017 caused the restaurant to completely close down. Bailey was a regular at the old restaurant, so she is familiar with the atmosphere. While Laci was not involved with original restaurant, she explains that the new restaurant has a bigger and more open feel, “this restaurant actually has an upstairs seating area that we are hoping to open soon!”  

Brendalay Grill reopened in August of this year and Laci says it has gone really well. The restaurant had a soft opening — meaning only close friends and regulars of the restaurant knew about it. However, word spread very quickly that they were back in business and it wasn’t long before customers started flooding the restaurant. She even states, “We have beat our record of the busiest nights in Brendalay history. The main challenge is the fact that the kitchen staff is learning the menu as we are being flooded with customers, causing there to be a long wait on some nights. However, as the kitchen staff gets the menu down the waiting game will decrease tremendouslyBailey says, “I think the team we have works well together and as each day goes by we feel more like a family!” 

The owners, Deven and Mandy Patel, has been planning and rebuilding for the last three years. That being said, Laci explains, “I don’t think any amount of time could have prepared them for opening up in the middle of a pandemic.” Some challenges as a whole the restaurant is facing includes not being able to open up the upstairs/loft portion of the restaurant and closing many table to adhere to social distancing guidelines. However, despite the many restrictions and guidelines put in place by the Health Department and the CDC, things seem to be running smoothly. Bailey explains that the owners had been working non stop since the fire to get Brendalay up and running again, “they truly put their all into making this restaurant the best it can be.” 

Laci is also handling the restrictions due to COVID-19 very well. She describes the main challenge is the COVID contact list. It is the hostess’ responsibility to take the name and phone number of every person that walks into the restaurant, “it takes up extra time and is honestly just a hassle,” Laci states. “Learning how everything works in the beginning is always going to be hard,” Bailey explains, “but once I got that down I haven’t had too many challenges.” Hostess’ also have to sanitize everything — from tables to menus — to ensure safety of their staff and customers. Laci and Bailey conclude by explaining that they love their job and the people they works with, and they’re excited about the future for Brendalay Grill!