SALEM, Va. (WFXR) — The booths at Chip and Jo’s may be empty, but at lunchtime on Saturday, the parking lot was so full customers had to park in the grass.
“I’m just excited, very excited about it,” said Chip Shearer, owner of Chip and Jo’s.
Shearer says CommUNITY Church in Salem came to him two weeks ago, asking if it would be alright to have a service in his restaurant parking lot, which is something the church has been doing for several weeks during the pandemic to support local business.
According to Shearer, it was a no-brainer.
“I’m glad that they’re supporting us, and we can’t ask for nothing better,” Shearer said. “You know, there are some people who say that Chip and Jo’s is the best kept secret in Salem, which I think it is.”
Customers placed orders from their cars and had it brought back out to them. Shearer said he had to pull out another grill to have space to cook all the food.
“I just think it’s an awesome thing that we can do, to pour some economy back into hurting businesses and spread the Word and show the love of Jesus,” said Gaynelle Day, one of the attendees of the service.
“To me, it shows that they have faith and , you know, they want to be here for each other. We want to help each other,” said CommUNITY Church member Cindy Newby.
The service helped so much so that the nearly 20-year-old restaurant set record numbers at the event.
During his sermon, CommUNITY Pastor Tom McCracken said, “They have never in the history of this restaurant had so many people order lunch. You have been a part of that. God bless you!”
“Very surprising, and I really appreciate it,” Shearer said.
Toward the end of the service, a offering was taken, not for the church, but for Chip and Jo’s as a way of to say thanks for being a good host.
CommUNITY Church plans to continue these drive-thru services until the pandemic is over. The church plans to hold a drive-thru service on Saturday, May 16 at Famous Anthony’s in Salem.