Anne Congdon was having a rough day last year when her granddaughter came up to her and suggested that she open up a restaurant.
Congdon dismissed the idea at first, but as time went on, she began to seriously consider it. At her granddaughter’s urging, she visited Warsaw, scouting places where she could set up a business that both the town and her family would enjoy.
“We really like the town [of Warsaw],” said Congdon, a resident of Callao. “There seems to be incredible [business] potential here.”
In turn, on Feb. 7 the Warsaw Planning Commission recommended her conditional use permit for Lilly’s Dinner and Desserts to the town council for a public hearing.
Thus, Congdon’s dream is closer to becoming a reality.
On Feb. 7, Congdon and her family shared with the commissioners their plans and business pitch for the restaurant.
Lilly’s Dinner and Desserts is scheduled to hold its grand opening on Wednesday, Mar. 13, pending the town’s approval, at the Warsaw Banquet Hall on Main Street.
The restaurant would open at 6 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday and close every day at 3 p.m. except for Friday and Saturday, when the restaurant would stay open through the evenings.
Congdon said her facility will seat a maximum of 72 customers.
She described “Lilly’s” as a daytime eatery with dinner operations on the weekend as well as family entertainment every last Sunday of the month.
“We’ll have a set breakfast, lunch and a brunch menu and dinner will be on a rotating menu depending on what’s seasonal and fresh,” said Congdon.
According to her recollection of the dinner menu for the first weekend, specials will include Chicken Cordon Bleu, Rockfish Oscar, Cajun Meatloaf, Tortellini Alfredo and hand-cut steaks.
“We cook all of our meals,” Congdon added in a phone interview with the Northern Neck News. “We’re not heating up food from a box that’s already been prepared.”
In addition, Lilly’s will feature an ice cream parlor and a mobile bar for dinners.
“We do plan on applying for a liquor license,” Congdon said, adding that she plans on establishing partnerships with vineyards throughout the Northern Neck in order to feature a different winery in her restaurant every month.
Although she confirmed that the restaurant will be family-operated and is staffed for its March opening, Congdon expressed an interest in hiring youth in the town and county, with an emphasis on teenagers, to work in the ice cream parlor.
“I’d rather see ten kids working ten hours a week, because kids need that exposure and that experience,” she said, while adding that she would not be staffing them for more than 30 hours.
“They still need to enjoy being kids,” Congdon said.
She also expressed her desire to have the public regard the restaurant as an intricate part of the community.
“I would love it if the baseball team came to our place to celebrate their victories and talk about their defeats,” she said.
Planning Commissioner and Councilman William Washington asked about the type of monthly entertainment that would be provided at the Congdons’ restaurant.
“It’s family entertainment like a magician,” Congdon replied, adding that the magician storyteller Jonathan Douglas was one of her restaurants’ recruits.
“We’ve got an array of people like that,” she added. “It’s geared towards families.”
Planning Commissioner Robert Knight asked if the Congdons already had a lease in place.
“We have a lease with renewable options,” said Congdon. “We got the health department and the gentleman to inspect the building before we signed the lease, and we’ve met with Mr. Slusser so we knew everything up front before we entered into it.
“We’ve done our due diligence and we’re comfortable,” she added.
“You’ve done a lot of preparation for it and it shows,” he said.
Planning Commissioner Krista Sisk called the restaurant “her ice cream parlor” that she had wanted alongside the Town Park.
“I kept saying…that I envisioned being able to go get ice cream and then being able to go sit in the park and eat my ice cream,” she said.
Congdon expressed her hope that town officials will approve of her conditional use permit on Mar. 7 in order for her to hold a soft opening of the ice cream parlor on the following weekend.
A public hearing regarding Lilly’s will be held during the Warsaw Town Council meeting next Thursday, Feb. 14 in town hall at 7 p.m.