Popular Henrico restaurant won't reopen

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Plans to reopen a popular restaurant in Eastern Henrico have been put on hold. The owners of the Moon Garden initially planned to get back in business following a devastating fire in March. Now, former employees are trying to save the restaurant.

Our website was flooded with comments after the Moon Garden restaurant burned down. The owners say they couldn't afford to reopen the restaurant after the final settlement came in from their insurance company.

Little has changed in the last three months since the Moon Garden off Williamsburg Road burned.  A fence was put around the charred structure but nothing has been done to get the restaurant anywhere near reopening.

"My grouchy old mother liked this restaurant," Virginia Thidemann, a waitress for over 30 years said. "She don't like anything."

The restaurant was supposed to reopen, but former workers say news that the Moon Garden won't reopen has been tough to take.

"We were hoping (it'd reopen)," said former waitress Karen Thidemann. "We were being told up until the very end that it was going to be rebuilt and then just to get that was a blow to the stomach because it's not just a restaurant to us."

Now they're looking at hosting a fundraiser in the hopes it'll bring the Moon Garden back. They know it's a long shot, but they figure it's worth a try.

"If I could reopen it, I would in a minute," said Karen Glenn, who started working at the Moon Garden in 1994. "I would in a minute, but I don't think it's going to happen."

They reminisced as they thumbed through old photos taken inside the Moon Garden. They say at the very least, they want to host some kind of benefit to show the owners how much this restaurant meant to people in Eastern Henrico.

"This was our Cheers," said Virginia Thidemann. "This was the place to be. People could make fun of it because it wasn't in the best shape but the food was good, the atmosphere was great, and the customers, hey, they all had character."

"All good things must come to an end," Glenn said. "Unfortunately this one has and did, but life goes on. We got a lot of good, good memories about this place."

Plans for the fundraiser have not yet been finalized. Stay with NBC12 for updates.

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