KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — It’s been six years since Angela Vaughn made Mama’s House Buffet her family business, but a series of unfortunate events caused the popular Kingsport restaurant to close.
The business, which is known for its Southern-style home-cooked meals, has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic from all sides, Vaughn said.
“We bought the restaurant in 2016 and everything was going pretty well,” she said. “Then in 2019 things really started to improve, but then 2020 came and the pandemic hit.”
Since COVID-19 arrived in the region, it has experienced a labor shortage, soaring inflation – and a community still fearful of returning to eat indoors due to recent spikes in cases. .
“People are afraid to go out, so that’s what’s happening,” she said. “Some key staff also retired last summer and found it difficult to replace them. People don’t go out to apply for jobs. Now we have inflation that has skyrocketed the costs behind the house.
Of all the memories she made inside the restaurant, some of her favorites were hosting gospel musicians and karaoke events to entertain guests.
“We made some really good friends and people enjoy the food so much,” she said. “Not everyone likes to eat burgers and fries every day. It was a good alternative. People came out to support us so much last week. I just wish they had come out a bit more before and we shouldn’t have closed. It’s like a death in the family for us.
While the community may also mourn the closure of the business, Vaughn said his family is thrilled to start spending more time together again.
“We have a grandson in Florida who is over a year old and we’ve never seen him because we can’t get out of it,” Vaughn said. “There are too few of us and we couldn’t escape, so now we hope that after we calm down some things here, we can meet our new grandson.”
Vaughn left the door open for future business ventures, but would be looking to start something on a smaller scale.