Raleigh restaurant reopens after being one of the first Triangle businesses to close due to pandemic

Elaina Athans Image
Thursday, April 15, 2021
First Raleigh restaurant closed by pandemic reopens
A little more than a year ago, a Raleigh business was forced to close after a patron tested positive for COVID-19. Now, it has officially reopened for business serving Latin-inspired dishes.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Creativity is flowing again in SOCA's kitchen as orders and dishes stack up for returning customers. The Village District restaurant is reopening a little more than a year after being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"(It took) a lot of prep work, rehiring, retraining. There's some new people, but we've very excited," said SO-CA Owner Sean Degnan.

The last year and a month have been trying for Degnan. The spot was one of, if not the first restaurant to close in the Triangle after a patron tested positive last March for COVID-19.

Degnan tried everything from groceries, to to-go orders and delivery during the stay-at-home order. He later brought in heaters to serve folks outdoors before throwing in the towel and shuttering doors.

"When we headed into the cold months, things were so bad," said Degnan.

And like most things during the season of spring, there's been a reemergence. The restaurant's reopening as many spots are experiencing a boom in business. The weather's been nice and more people are vaccinated.

Someplace, such as Taverna Agora, says recent sales are pre-pandemic levels.

"There's a palpable level of demand where people want to get back out. People haven't seen their families, some people in a year," said Degnan.

With the appetite for dining out back, SO-CA is hoping to help folks celebrate moments missed during the pandemic.

"All of the events from last year, all the anniversaries, all the birthdays, all the holidays that were missed -- it's good to be a part of it," said Degnan.