Raleigh restaurant rises from the ashes after 7-months of being closed due to the pandemic

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Like a phoenix from the ashes, Virgil's Cocktails and Cocina is making a comeback and reopening its doors after being closed for seven months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several heaters have been hauled onto a Downtown Raleigh sidewalk as well as a new outdoor patio, complete with blankets at every table, where folks can eat in the fresh air. The grill is going again inside the kitchen and mixed drinks are being served at the bar after a seven-month hiatus.

Owner Jon Seel says it was painful closing this past spring, the pandemic was settling in across the Triangle and many restaurants were struggling to stay afloat.

"It was a tough pill to swallow, but at the same time you have to make a quick, survival instinct kind of decisions," said Seel.

He took the summer to regroup and came up with a plan to reopen the Salisbury Street spot.

"It was challenging and rewarding in a way," said Seel.

He's serving Mexican cuisine and brought in a chef from the Umstead Hotel to cook elevated meals.

A DJ is now on the turntables spinning music in an effort to keep the restaurant upbeat.

"We've got something pretty special going on down here now," he said. "I'm excited about it."

Seel knows there's a potential for restriction rollbacks, but for now, is celebrating an accomplishment.

"I think it's something to be proud of a little bit, but also just the challenges of it have been worth of as of right now so we're going to pushing forward," said Seel.

The restaurant is scaling back on hours in an effort to keep with the times. Lunch is no longer being offered.

Seel hopes once the sun goes down, folks will offer their support for dinner.
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