West Point restaurants adjust to COVID-19

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, April 15, 2020

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WEST POINT — Two popular restaurants in downtown West Point, Pokey’s and C0ach’s, are remaining open for call-in orders during the current COVID-19 crisis. Business is down at both locations, but it’s not as bad as it could be.

Located on West 8th Avenue in plain view of the CSX main line, Pokey’s is owned by John Carter Norman and wife Georgia Norman. They have been in business for the past four years and have built a good customer base that keeps the business going even amid the nation’s most serious pandemic in more than 100 years.

Pokey’s is open Monday through Saturday. The hours are 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. EDT on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and from 10:30 to 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. They are closing an hour earlier on the weekends. Before the shutdown, they were open from 10:30 to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

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“We have curbside and takeout orders but no deliveries,” said Georgia Norman.

“We also cater for businesses. We are down around 30 percent in revenue but considering the circumstances we are doing okay. Our big sellers, the Pokey Burger and the Philly Cheese Steak, have remained popular. People also like our salads and our family meals, which will serve up to five people. The current situation hasn’t hurt us that much. Take-out had been a big part of our business.”

Georgia said that she and John Carter are looking forward to having sit-down dining once again once the restrictions are lifted.

“We don’t know when that will be, but we are really looking forward to it,” she said.

Pokey’s can be reached at (706) 643-7653.

Matt Livingston owns three restaurants in the downtown area: Coach’s, American Smoke House and Railroad’s, all located on West 3rd Avenue. They collectively employ approximately 80 people, many of them high school students working their first job. While Coach’s is the only one of the three currently open, Livingston is trying to keep as many of his employees as he can. He has them working different shifts.

“I have always believed in giving young people a chance, especially if they are in their first job,” he said. “We have students from Troup, Lanett and Valley high schools and Point University who have worked in our restaurants. We want them to have a good experience that will benefit them later on in life.”

Coach’s is open from 10:45 a.m. unti 8 p.m. from Monday through Thursday and 10:45 to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. There’s no sit-down dining, but curbside and take-out deliveries are available. Coach’s may be contacted at (706) 645-4263.

Livingston said he’s been taking ample precautions against the COVID-19 virus.

“We are continually cleaning and sanitizing everything,” he said. “We are constantly cleaning the door handles, and everyone is using hand sanitizer.”

Livingston said that while the virus has taken a toll on the local area, Alabama and Georgia, the U.S. and the world community, there is a good side to this.

“It has brought us together,” he said. “I think we will be closer as a people once it is gone.”

Coach’s has made deliveries to local hospitals, nursing homes and first responders. “We have been taking food and giving out gift cards,” he said. “We can’t say enough about the way people have continued to support us, and we appreciate it so much. It’s good for local businesses to be helping each other.”

Livingston said that people from out of town had purchased gift cards to show their support for Coach’s.

“That means a lot,” he said. “We will keep working to maintain that kind of support.”