Dave's Taverna Closing Impacts Downtown Economy

By: Litsa Pappas Email
By: Litsa Pappas Email

HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Dave's Taverna was the start of building up downtown Harrisonburg, serving the community for twenty years.

"It was very heart-wrenching to see the struggles of what they were going through, as a business, their employees, the whole nine yards, but it's a tough time," said Josh Dove, who grew up in the area, eating at Dave's often.

After going bankrupt, the restaurant closed its doors for good this week, leaving only memories of the staple for people like Dove.

"Enjoying the music, enjoying the taratsa," said Dove. "It was a great place to bring the whole family."

Dove says he moved his family business to be across from Dave's to increase their own business.

"It was really for the foot traffic," said Dove.

Now, he's worried other downtown businesses will suffer.

Economic Development Director Brian Shull says it was a major loss for downtown, but things will pick up.

"We've grown from about six restaurants when Dave's started to about 25 restaurants downtown, we've got a lot of people move downtown, a lot of offices open and expand, so we'll keep that positive energy going," said Shull

A positive energy that business owners like Dove now look forward to, but he says downtown still won't be the same.

"I'll miss it personally, certainly, and I'm sure whatever goes in, the locals are still going to say 'well it's not Dave's,' but you know, that's business, that's life, you just got to move on," said Dove.

Shull says the city hopes another restaurant will take Dave's place as soon as possible. That way surrounding businesses won't lose too much foot traffic for too long.


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