Bistro employees Johnny Bolen, Jerry Gaylor, Aaron Clark, Marie Clark, Sandy Call and Jennie Hines (left to right) wear white ribbons in honor of the restaurant's late owner, Robert Wong. Employees rehung Wong's portrait in the restaurant to honor him; he had taken it down previously.
Darryl Duncan and Brandon Aubrey prepare for the dinner crowd Thursday at the Bridge Road Bistro. After being closed Wednesday so staff could mourn the loss of the restaurant's owner, the bistro reopened Thursday.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Workers at the Bridge Road Bistro tried to get back to normal Thursday, reopening the restaurant after the owner's sudden death earlier this week.Robert Wong, 50, died Tuesday after collapsing on the tennis court. Wong, a former executive chef at The Greenbrier and the Resort at Glade Springs, had also been involved with several other restaurants around the state.Bistro General Manager Sandy Call said the restaurant had to open Thursday because it's what Wong would have wanted. If he'd known the restaurant closed Wednesday, she said, "he would have put a big shoe up my rear end."Executive chef John Wright, who was Wong's last hire, is doing the cooking for the restaurant. Though Wong functioned as owner, Call said he hired her and Wright to run the restaurant.
"I at times think, 'What am I going to do without him?' but I know what I'm going to do," Call said.The plans are for the restaurant to continue. The bistro is moving forward with its food and beverage contract with the Charleston Tennis Club, where Wong died, and is pursuing other growth options, she said."We're going to do everything in our power to make sure nothing happens to this dynasty," Call said.Staff members wore white ribbons Thursday in honor of Wong and handed the ribbons out to patrons."It's amazing how everyone is just willing and putting out an effort to do whatever it takes in the spirit of Robert Wong," Call said.The restaurant will close again on Sunday and Monday, and will reopen Tuesday. Wong's funeral is set for 6 p.m. Sunday at Christ Church United Methodist, with visitation three hours prior at the church.Reach Alison Matas at firstname.lastname@example.org