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What happened to the businesses set to open during the pandemic?

Everyone has been affected by the pandemic in different ways. Kids are out of school, health care workers are putting their lives on the line to save others, and those who were looking forward to opening their business had to put their dreams on hold.

The Twisted Fork Bar and Restaurant in Port Charlotte is no different. “It’s been a challenge. The pandemic itself really slowed us down a lot,” said Bert Parsley, owner of the Twisted Fork.

They were all set to open in March but the tables and chairs are still in stacks and the building remains empty. Parsley was expecting customers that never came. “A lot of the deliveries we were expecting didn’t come. A lot of the manufacturers stopped working.”

Another restaurant owner, Alex King, had similar issues with the opening of Ken and Barb’s Grove City Kitchen. “Sourcing some food was tough. The prices were sky high on stuff that we use.”

But luckily for him, in the end, he did successfully open the restaurant named for his parents, it just took longer than expected. “It worked out pretty well for us because we were doing a soft opening anyway so we were at very low capacity even if there was no COVID.”

They opened during Florida’s “phase one” reopening.

As for Parsley and The Twisted Fork, he hopes that all of the decoration and anticipation for opening only has to wait a few more weeks. “We’re almost over the hill. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.”

The Twisted Fork is still waiting for its certificate of occupancy as well as food and liquor licenses. Parsley hopes to be open by mid-July, citing the pandemic as a “blessing in disguise.”

Reporter:Erika Jackson
Writer:Drew Hill
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