By Angela Gazzillo
A long overdue, highly anticipated outdoor expansion has been added to serve as the perfect summer compliment to Vidalia, a local upscale restaurant located at 831 W. King St. across from the Watauga County Courthouse.
If you’re familiar with King Street, or have at least strolled the street a number of times these past several weeks, you might have noticed the side porch at Vidalia that was seemingly built overnight.
Alyce Ratchford, co-owner of Vidalia with husband and chef Sam Ratchford, said she was painting the porch and setting up the new wait station (which, by the way, is an old piano), Friday night. The long and narrow deck that runs along the full side of the building was open for business the following day.
Construction was started in May, and the porch opened Saturday, June 18, just in time for the weekend crowd and Father’s Day.
Ratchford said the porch has always been part of the plan since the restaurant was open five or six years ago; but with the space next door becoming readily available, and the increase of high demand mixed with limited seating at the restaurant, it quickly became a necessity.
“We were spending a lot of time, especially in the summer, turning people away because we just didn’t have enough seats,” Ratchford said. “We knew very quickly that if we didn’t expand or find a space with some more seating, that eventually people will just stop trying to get in the door.”
The community has responded well to the addition. With the welcoming weather that Boone’s summer has to offer, Ratchford said customers are requesting to sit outside daily.
Sam, a Boone native, and Alyce, who attended Appalachian State University and has been here ever since, said one thing they’ve noticed is the lack of outdoor seating the town has to offer.
The expansion provides customers an opportunity to take advantage of the nice weather, as well as have a peaceful and inviting place to sit outside and enjoy a nice cold drink or a fresh and locally sourced meal.
As for the porch’s use during the chillier months?
“We’ll see,” Ratchford laughed.
The deck was strategically built to give the Ratchfords an option to add high-end Plexiglas and insulation underneath, as well as portable heaters in case they decide to use it during winter months. Right now, they’re just enjoying the extended seating and the additional guests it pulls in to the restaurant.