Virginia Beach restaurant owner overcomes obstacles to open restaurant during pandemic


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Over the last 19 months, we’ve heard a lot about businesses closing because of the pandemic. A local business owner is urging others not to give up on their dreams, no matter what challenges they face, including a pandemic.

Clayton’s Counter Delicatessen opened its doors on Aug. 21, 2020.

“I don’t count the hours of the day that I work because I love what I do,” said Ralph Clayton Anderson III, owner and chef of Clayton’s Counter Delicatessen.

Anderson has been in kitchens since he was 15. He’s always dreamed of opening his own restaurant, but a pandemic did not make it easy.

“We signed the lease two days before they announced the pandemic on the news,” said Anderson.

He had to adapt quickly, focusing on things like catering and delivery.

“When that happened, of course my heart sunk, but I never for a second thought ‘Let’s not do this,'” said Anderson. “We just did as many things as we could do to get around and actually keep the business open.”

Now, more than one year in, the doors are open and he’s serving up food.

However, the pandemic wasn’t the only obstacle he had to overcome. Oct. 10 will mark six years sober. It’s a milestone he’s proud of.

“When it started affecting my life in a negative way, that’s when I knew I had to make some changes and I did,” said Anderson. “If I would’ve kept living my life the way I was living my life, I would’ve never got to this point, got to something I’ve been dreaming to have all of my life. I would’ve never got there.”

But he did. Even though it’s not always easy, he’s confident in what will come next.

“If we come in here and do the right thing and serve a quality product and give good customer service, we are not going to fail,” Anderson said. “It’s always been my life’s dream.”

In the restaurant that bears his name, he is living his dream by feeding the Hampton Roads Community.

His advice for anyone who has a dream but may be facing obstacles of their own is to go for it.

Anderson says he’s grateful for the community’s support.

You can learn more about his restaurant by clicking here.

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