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An Arlington hole-in-the-wall was on the brink of closing for good. Then, the community stepped in

Fork in the Road was weeks away from closing its doors for good due to ongoing struggles with rising costs, supply chain issues and lack of customers.

ARLINGTON, Texas — At a glance, it’s easy to miss the Arlington hole-in-the-wall along Fielder Road.

Inside, it’s hard to ignore everything happening all at once.

The last three days at the Fork in the Road restaurant have been non-stop for husband and wife owners Josh and Sonya Hopkins.

During a busy Friday dinner rush, the two owners handled the cooking, dishwashing and serving.

“You can’t get staff right now... you really just can’t,” Sonya said.

Their 9-year-old mom and pop business is struggling with everything from staffing to supply chain issues and rising costs

For months, they’ve struggled to get customers through the door. A container of vegetable oil which would typically cost the owners $17 now costs $45. The cost of to-go boxes have tripled.

It's the perfect storm. 

The couple told WFAA they never received any small business loans from federal COVID-19 relief funding. 

It's an industry-wide problem. At least 90,000 restaurants and bars have closed since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the National Restaurant Association. Seven in 10 operators say they don’t have enough staff to support their current service demand, according to the association. 

“We were on the brink of closing our doors,” Sonya said.

“By two weeks to a month, we would be done,” Josh said. “This place is like my baby.”

Everything changed after the couple posted about their struggles on the restaurant’s Facebook page on Wednesday, saying in part: “Fork In The Road is dying, we are very close to having to shutter our doors for good.” 

People shared the post more than 1,000 times and hundreds of comments poured in.

Ever since, the restaurant has been flooded with customers.

On Friday, it was full during a late lunch and dinner rush. Josh couldn’t cook his signature burgers, sandwiches and Crack-a-roni (truffle macaroni) fast enough. There simply wasn’t enough room inside to seat everyone eager to show the small business support.

“We straight up had a line out the door from the time we opened until I ran out of pasta, burgers. I ran out of everything yesterday,” Josh said.

After nine years of business, it only took three days for the two owners to learn just how much they’re loved.

The response was too overwhelming for Josh, someone who always dreamed of opening his own restaurant.

In the midst of chaos trying to fulfill orders in his kitchen, he took a moment to think about the support that has poured in over the last few days. Then, he lost it.

“This whole community… it’s awesome man,” Josh said. “The locals, people from allover… it’s been awesome to have this outpouring of support.”

Now, they have so much business, it’s hard to keep up -- a good problem to have because, for now, the dream is still alive.

Fork in the Road is open Wednesday through Saturday between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

For more information, visit the restaurant's website.

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