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Virginia buffet stalwart Country Cookin closes all locations for good

Virginia buffet stalwart Country Cookin closes all locations for good

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Roanoke-based Country Cookin has officially closed all of its more than a dozen restaurants in Virginia. The community gathering place for lovers of low-cost buffet dining (and where kids ate for free) fell victim to the pandemic.

On Oct. 16, the company announced it was going out of business.

“We appreciate the support of everyone who visited this weekend for one last meal with us,” the company posted Saturday on social media. “Due to the overwhelming response to our closing announcement, we have sold out of food at all locations. All locations are now closed.

The Culpeper restaurant, located in Southgate Shopping Center, served its last meal that evening. For the final time, many longtime servers said goodbye to longtime customers.

“Thank you for your support and for the kind words many of you have shared about your time with us during the last 40 years as staff members and guests. We will miss you!” the company said.

Founded in 1981, Country Cookin had to temporarily close its locations in March as COVID-19 started to spread. Restaurants reopened in mid-June as state restrictions eased.

Permanent closure of the Country Cookin in Fredericksburg occurred in early September, followed on Sept. 17 with the shuttering of the Lynchburg, Orange, Roanoke and Warrenton restaurants. The remaining eateries closed this past weekend.

“The devastation to our communities, industry, employees and company resulting from the pandemic and mandated closures is heartbreaking,” Country Cookin President Tom Dodson posted in September on the company’s social media. Dodson initially joined the company as a high-school-age dishwasher in 1986.

Buffet restaurants in particular have been severely impacted by the pandemic. Among other chains, Illinois-based Old Country Buffet closed its final restaurants this month.

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