Restaurant closes after problems over holiday weekend

Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 7:37 PM EDT
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CLAY COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - The Trail Kitchen has been flooded with hundreds of customers every day since it opened in May. However, the owners have decided to temporarily close their doors after a handful of customers caused problems over the Independence Day weekend.

The Marker Family said almost all of its customers follow the no-alcohol rules and are respectful of neighbors, but a few people have driven four-wheelers dangerously across the small country roads and drank too much at the restaurant. This has put the family atmosphere at risk and angered some neighbors.

Owner Scott Marker said they will use the coming weeks to hold a community meeting to create an open dialogue with people who live in the area, and come up with ways to better ensure nothing bad happens in the future. That includes hanging larger signs telling people they’re not allowed to consume alcohol on the property.

“This is a family restaurant,” Marker said. “This is going to be a comfortable place for people to come. We are not encouraging or recruiting trouble of any kind, and the riding community is outstanding, 99.9 percent of them.”

Marker said the problems were so bad on Saturday night that they decided to not open on Sunday or Monday of the holiday weekend. He appreciates all the customer support for their “pay what you can” pricing model, but wants to make sure the family atmosphere is not put in jeopardy.

“We wanted to talk about what our priorities are, and the fact that we are a community based business,” Marker said. “Being part of the community and adding value is more important than chasing a dollar.”

“When you are driving to the Trail Kitchen, you should be mindful of homes that are up close to the road where kids may be or there are animals,” Marker continued.

Maria Moles owns a farm along the small road that many people travel to get to the Trail Kitchen from the Elk River Trail. She said most drivers are respectful and careful, but some need to be more cautious not to hit a cow, goat or chicken that could be on the road.

She will be helping lead this weekend’s community meeting with her husband to ensure everyone understands the benefits the restaurant brings to the area, even if that means a little more traffic along the roads.

“We are so close to the new state park, the Elk River Trail and all of that, so that restaurant is in the prime location,” Moles said. “This could just be the beginning of really great things for this area.”

“We want to see (the Trail Kitchen) open back up and come back stronger and better than ever,” Moles continued. “I think this is more of a chance for them to stop, regroup and grow.”

The community meeting will be held at 7 p.m. this Saturday at the Trail Kitchen.

People can follow the Trail Kitchen Facebook page for the latest updates on the reopening timeline. Marker said the current plan is to reopen July 22.

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