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Cajun restaurant in Conway celebrates opening day amid coronavirus pandemic

The doors at YGFBF Kitchen are locked, but the restaurant is open for its first day of business.

CONWAY, Ark. — While COVID-19 led to several restaurants closing doors permanently, a Cajun spot in Conway celebrated opening day Monday.

The doors at YGFBF Kitchen are locked, but the restaurant is open for its first day of business. 

Owner MaryAnn Strange said this is one of the changes made because of opening during a pandemic.

Strange cooked up lots of food for new and old faces.

RELATED: Arkansas restaurants begin preparing for Phase 2 of reopening

“Our Cajun smothered shrimp and grits, we also have our southern fried chicken and very berry waffles,” Strange said.

“We’re a southern and Cajun-inspired restaurant, we started off as a food truck last year and things have kind of grown,” Strange said.

But, a grand opening during a pandemic looks a lot different. 

“I would love to see all of their faces inside the restaurant, but right now we’re kind of just supplementing and letting them get their delicious food to go,” Strange said.

The restaurant is small, and Strange feels offering take-out and delivery are the safest options right now.

“It’s quite challenging because we wanted to open up our dining room hall to allow our patrons to come in and sit down and eat but to adhere to the guidelines, we just don’t feel comfortable having them six feet apart,” Strange said. 

She said continued support from the community has made the opening possible. 

“We’ve been getting a lot of support from our customers that were at our food truck,” Strange said.

Her biggest worry was that people wouldn’t want to order food. 

RELATED: Some Little Rock restaurants keep doors closed despite Phase 2 announcement

But with a busy morning, she’s glad customers squashed that fear. 

“We have this fear that they’re going to not buy the food because maybe they’re spending more time at home and then the safety measures. But, as long as you’re practicing all of the guidelines that are by the Arkansas Department of Health, people are yearning to eat out,” Strange said.

Strange looks forward to being able to welcome customers indoors in the future. 

“We’re hopeful as things calm down, that we’ll be able to open the dining hall real soon,” Strange said.

For now, she’s happy to greet them curbside.