Fry’s Spring Station to Close After Fourteen Year Run
For fourteen years, Fry’s Spring Station was a Charlottesville one-of-a-kind. This month it will close its doors for the last time, a signal of the challenges the restaurant industry continues to face.
Opened on Mother’s Day 2010 and revamped in 2016, the restaurant’s concept was simple: nourish the community. As co-owner Ben Thompson put it at the time, the aim was to be stewards of the Fry’s Spring neighborhood by offering “food that we would feel good about serving our families several times a week.” Accessible and affordable food, like pizzas, salads, sandwiches, and wings that earned a following. In a setting where everyone would feel welcome.
In pursuit of the goal, caring for staff was a top priroity, and remains so to the end, says co-owner PK Kamath. The restaurant is reaching out to local businesses to try to help find employment for their staff, and owners with interest may contact kamath directly. Fry’s staff unable to find a new home before closing will be offered to stay to assist with the winding-down process.
Ultimately, Kamath says, the need to close came from causes common to the industry: soaring operation costs that make it more and more difficult to offer good food and service at affordable prices. “The restaurant business has changed dramatically and the model we created no longer makes it viable to continue,” said Kamath. “I can’t stress enough how much I commend those who have been able to succeed in this environment,” he said. “It takes a special person to be in the full-service business right now and be successful and be willing to put in the work to do it.”
For those who’d like to enjoy Fry’s while they still can, the last day of service is expected to be Sunday, November 26.
We are thankful to the neighbors surrounding us, who gave us the privilege to serve them for as long as we have, especially in a community that knows food and drink so well. We appreciate you letting us be part of your special moments: countless birthday parties and rehearsal dinners (some twice! go love!), and even an international squash tournament after-party that brought in 600+ raucous, but fun-loving guests in one night, from what must have been 50+ countries. Thank you to the Restaurant Weeks and the sports sponsorships and our partnerships with local philanthropies for allowing us to try to give a little something back to the community that we live in.
We had our ups and downs, successes and challenges, made some good decisions and some bad decisions, but the neighborhood was always behind us through thick and thin. From the time we opened, to the time when the bridge into the Fry’s neighborhood was under reconstruction for over 18 months, to the COVID era restrictions, we couldn’t have made it this long without you.
Last, but certainly not least, we are thankful to all the Fry’s staff. Without you, no Fry’s. It’s that simple. You don’t hear enough about how hard the folks that make up the hospitality industry, especially in our town, work, but I can tell you first hand they are some of the kindest, most resilient, creative and loyal people I know, even in the toughest of situations. Thank you for everything you did and continue to do for Fry’s.