Fork in the Road was weeks away from closing its doors for good due to ongoing difficulties with rising costs, supply chain issues and lack of customers.
ARLINGTON, Texas – At a glance, it’s easy to miss Arlington’s Hole in the Wall along Fielder Road.
Inside, it’s hard to ignore everything that’s going on at once.
The past three days at the Fork in the Road restaurant have been uninterrupted for husband and wife owners Josh and Sonya Hopkins.
During a Friday dinner rush, the two owners took care of the cooking, washing up and serving.
“You can’t get staff right now…you really can’t,” Sonya said.
Their 9-year-old parent and pop company is struggling with everything from staffing to supply chain issues and rising costs.
For months they struggled to get customers through the door. A container of vegetable oil that would typically cost homeowners $17 now costs $35. The cost of takeout boxes has tripled.
It’s the perfect storm.
The couple told the WFAA that they had never received small business loans from federal COVID-19 relief funding.
It’s an industry-wide problem. At least 90,000 restaurants and bars have closed since the start of the pandemic, according to the National Restaurant Association. According to the association, seven out of 10 operators say they do not have enough staff to meet their current service demand.
“We were about to close our doors,” Sonya said.
“Within two weeks to a month we would be done,” Josh said. “This place is like my baby.”
Everything changed after the couple posted about their struggles on the restaurant’s Facebook page Wednesday, saying in part, “Fork In The Road is dying, we’re about to have to close our doors for good.”
People shared the post over 1,000 times and hundreds of comments poured in.
Since then, the restaurant has been flooded with customers.
It was full on Friday during a late lunch and dinner rush. Josh couldn’t cook his burgers, sandwiches and Crack-a-roni (truffle macaroni) fast enough. There just wasn’t enough room inside to seat everyone eager to show support for small business.
“We had a line out the door straight away from the time we opened until I ran out of pasta, burgers. I ran out of everything yesterday,” Josh said.
After nine years in business, it only took the two owners three days to find out how much they are loved.
The response was too overwhelming for Josh, someone who has always dreamed of opening his own restaurant.
Amid the chaos trying to fulfill orders in his kitchen, he took a moment to reflect on the support that has poured in over the past few days. Then he lost it.
“This whole community…he’s an awesome man,” Josh said. “Locals, people everywhere… it’s great to have this wave of support.”
Now they have so much business it’s hard to keep up – a good problem to have because, for now, the dream is still alive.
Fork in the Road is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
For more information, visit the restaurant’s website website.