Preparing to reopen, co-founder of popular North Hills restaurant says customers ‘pushed us forward’


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – One popular Raleigh restaurant waited to welcome its first diners back inside, despite being able to open its doors Friday evening as North Carolina entered Phase Two.

The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar in North Hills reopens Wednesday.

“We talked a bit about trying to open up on the day, the first day, but, just to be transparent, we didn’t think that we were ready,” explained Marcus Hall, the co-founder of Cowfish.

He said his team is now ready to operate in circumstances no one ever expected.

“We are going to be all gloved up. We are going to be all masked up,” Hall said. “We are going to be using the strongest disinfectant that we can get our hands on.”

They can handle those changes, but the past few months have been hard. Hall owns a number of restaurants. The pandemic affected all of them.

“We had 500 employees we had to furlough immediately when the news broke, and it was the saddest day ever,” Hall said.

Cowfish pulled through, but not all restaurants made it.

“We had a restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama, and unfortunately there is no way to bring that back,” Hall said.

At his other restaurants, Hall hopes to eventually bring back all the employees he had to furlough, but no one knows how this pandemic will affect business in the long term.

“The hardest thing about this is the uncertainty of tomorrow,” Hall noted.

For now, he’s grateful for his staff and his customers.

“Our guests have wrapped their arms around us and just kind of pushed us forward,” Hall said. “That keeps us going. That keeps us motivated.”

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