"We opened Winston's Grille in October 1986, so, we're in our thirty-fourth year of operation," explained co-owner Charles Winston.
Winston and co-owner Will O'Neal have known each other since high school and have been in business partners for decades. They have weathered a lot during their years in business but always operated with the principles of being a second home that brings families together. That principle has never been more true than during a global pandemic. Since the restaurant shut down on March 17, it has continued paying its staff of nearly 100.
"We cannot reopen this restaurant without our staff that we have," said co-owner Will O'Neal. "So, we decided, from the very beginning to take care of them and their families."
Winston added, "We had to take care of our family. Some of these folks have been with us for 30 years." The owners say they owe their staff all the credit for their longevity in Raleigh and they will do everything they can to keep paying them as long as they can while being closed.
"You take away the employees out of this and this is a warehouse," explained Winston. "I mean, it feels like they are family members. So, our goal was to keep paying them and keep them employed, keep their benefits going, as long as we were able to do it, in the hopes that when this thing's over, we all come back. We go right back to work and keep doing what we've been doing for thirty-three and a half years now.