Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Charly’s Airport Restaurant In James City Bounces Back Following Pandemic

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JAMES CITY-Like most local restaurants, the popular dining establishment Charly’s Airport Restaurant located at the Williamsburg Jamestown Airport on Marclay Road faced severe hardship at the height of the covid-19 pandemic two years ago. But, thanks to a push on social media, the restaurant survived and continues to thrive due to a loyal clientele.

Dan Hausman, proprietor of Charly’s Airport Restaurant, reached out through his social media channels during the pandemic to share the plight of his restaurant and let customers know what he needed. Times were especially trying during the winter of 2020 when it was too cold for outdoor dining.

“We did okay through the fall when the weather was good,” he said. “We were down from normal sales numbers, but enough to survive. But when winter hit and no one was sitting outside, it got super, super slow all of a sudden. So, we posted on social media basically just reminding everyone that we were still here and even though eating outside wasn’t really an option, we still had safe, sanitary inside seating and were glad to do takeout.”

The loyal customer base of Charly’s Airport Restaurant flocked to the restaurant once the message hit social media.

“We offered discounted quarts of chili and soup with a loaf of our fresh-baked bread for an at-home meal option, and they flew out of there,” Hausman said. “The community response was amazing. They really came out in force to support us. That first week after posting was probably our best that winter, and the regulars continued to support us until spring when the weather got nice and eating outside was an option again.”

Since then, business has continued to flourish.

“Believe it or not, 2021 was our best year in sales so far, since I have taken over,” Hausman said. “Business in 2022 is looking pretty good as well.”

Charly’s Airport Restaurant is a favorite among locals as well as those who utilize the airport. The restaurant is open only for lunch, though it recently brought back Friday night flights events featuring local music from 5pm to 9pm through October.

The establishment sells homemade soups and sandwiches on bread baked fresh daily. Popular sellers are the seafood bisque, BLT, Reuben, and Warhawk (chicken salad) as well as their homemade pies.

There is also a playground for the kids at this family-friendly go-to lunch spot with great views of the runway.

The Waltrip family, who first opened the airport in 1970, started the restaurant in 1990 and Dan Hausman worked there for eight years before taking ownership six years ago.

“I enjoy chatting with the customers and serving them,” said Hausman. “Charly’s is a hidden gem.”

Charly’s Airport Restaurant is open daily Tuesday through Sunday from 11am to 3pm. For more information, visit the restaurant’s website or Facebook page.

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