Village Inn Pizza Parlor opened their lucky 13th store last week in West Jefferson, but the management has never seen a debut like this.
“It’s been a little crazy,” said Elizabeth Lackey, whose family owns and operates the Statesville-based, dine-in pizza chain.
The restaurant’s small but completely remodelled dining room has been mostly filled to capacity since opening Oct. 24, she said.
On Monday afternoon, the brisk business was showing no signs of let-up almost two hours past lunchtime, with a line at the register and every table seated.
Village Inn opened their first store in 1967. But, Lackey said, “I’ve never been to an opening where we ran out of food.”
Caught between deliveries from their suppliers, the store closed Sunday for that reason, sending family members pounding down the mountain to grocery stores and other restaurants to buy or borrow whatever they could for the next day.
“It’s a nice problem to have,” Lackey said.
Despite the crush of new customers, the food and service do not disappoint. The buffet is well-serviced, with salad bar, pasta and sauce, and an array of nine pizzas refreshed every couple of minutes.
There is also a full menu.
Village Inn’s from-scratch pizza crust is worthy of mention — light, thin and crispy, but also chewy, and not heavy with salt and oil as one often finds on buffet pies.
The buffet is $6.99 for lunch, $7.99 for dinner, and kids eat for 50 cents per year of age — a two-year-old and a four-year-old both eat for three dollars. One buffet lunch and soft drink, plus tax, comes to $9.37.
“We’re a little higher than other places, but that’s because everything we use is no-preservatives,” Lackey said. “We buy brands that are the same people buy in the store.”
Lackey said “I want to give a shout-out to our employees. They’re not Village Inn veterans. They’re all just learning. After the first day, we were worried none of them would come back.”
Of the new business’ enthusiastic welcome to Ashe County, Lackey said, “Thank you! Wow!”