Tellico Village restaurant forced to close amid pandemic


TELLICO VILLAGE, Tenn. (WATE) — We’re hearing from a Loudon County restaurant owner, feeling the all-too-real impact of the novel coronavirus.

Rendezvous restaurant in Tellico Village is closing for good next week.

WATE 6 On Your Side reporter Elizabeth Kuebel spoke with the owner about the tough call she’s making during tough times.

“I am proud of what we did while we could do it, and I do not feel that I failed, I feel like I was failed,” said owner Rachael Shahbas.

For the last several weeks, Shahbas says she’s done what she could to stay afloat.

“I sold them toilet paper when no one had any. I sold them fresh hamburger meat, fresh chicken. We did pasta salad in bulk, chicken salad. We tried to give them groceries,” she said.

The restaurant owner said she didn’t get any government-backed relief, but she did get support from her community with extra tips and donations. For that, she’s thankful.

“I love you all, always and forever. And I made friends in that restaurant that I will have for the rest of my days,” Shahbas said.

With the restaurant’s final days on the horizon, its owner still doesn’t know what comes next.

“It’s a deep wound right now. I don’t know what an out of work restaurant manager and a chef do during a pandemic with no restaurant,” she said.

But Shahbas is clear about the message she wants to get across, reminding people that many businesses are affected.

“Please, please, please go support the local business owners that you know. We live in East Tennessee, every single person that is watching this knows somebody that owns a small business,” she said. “And while you’re there, please spread a little kindness, these people have had it rough. Everybody has had it really rough.”

Rendezvous will still be serving customers for a few more days. They will be open on Thursday of this week until Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The next week, they’ll open Tuesday through Sunday, with Sunday being their last day.

If you’d like, you can donate to help with the restaurant’s closing costs.


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