The Homeplace Restaurant Closes Permanently

The Homeplace Restaurant, a thru-hiker favorite in Catawba, VA, is shutting down permanently after a 10-month closure amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nothing satisfies hiker hunger like an all-you-can-eat dinner, and few eateries have been quite as loved on the Appalachian Trail as The Homeplace—a family-style, southern restaurant near McAfee Knob that’s been a thru-hiker destination for decades.

Photo courtesy Maggie Slepian.

Thru-Hiker Favorite Closes Its Doors

In a statement on Monday, The Homeplace owners, the Wingate family, announced that they are closing their doors permanently.

“As a family, with extended family and friends included,” the statement read, “we have had many discussions, reflections, tears, and laughs, along with many prayers, trying to see the best path for the future of our business, and our family as a whole. In conclusion, we have decided to not reopen The Homeplace Restaurant.”

The decision comes after a 10-month closure that began in 2020 amid COVID-19 safety concerns. The restaurant’s signature family-style tables simply weren’t compatible with social distancing requirements. According to the owners, business was down 50% when they closed their doors in October.

The Wingate family cites a variety of reasons for the recent decision and thanks their community for the loyal support.

“After Covid hit, we were closed for 10 plus months, with a small window of 4 months with takeout, including a few weeks trying to have limited indoor dining,” the statement continued. “There are many factors to be taken into consideration when trying to bring a business back up and running, especially after the circumstances we have been facing. Again, our heartfelt thanks to our employees, our loyal customers, and many others for the prayers, support, and love you have shown over the years.”

Loss for Hikers and Locals

In the final days before The Homeplace closed its doors in October, locals flocked in for a final meal to show their support. At the time, the Wingate family hoped they could reopen in the future, but it looks like their doors will remain shut. “This is such a bitter sweet and emotional decision for our family,” their recent statement read.

If you’ve never experienced the joy of eating to your hiker heart’s content at the family-style tables of The Homeplace, past thru-hikers described it as giving a new meaning to comfort food. Readers voted it the number 1 restaurant on the AT in 2017.

The Homeplace Restaurant served all-you-can-eat southern comfort food to hikers and locals alike. Photo courtesy of Emma Rosenfield.

Have you eaten at The Homeplace? Drop your memories in the comments below.

Featured image via Maggie Slepian.

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Comments 6

  • Steve : May 31st

    We ate there in the fall of 2019. I had always read about it in the trail journals of thru hikers and made sure to make it a destination when we did the Virginia Triple Crown. We were not disappointed. The food was great. Hopefully someone else will reopen it and keep the same quality and quantity.

  • Dawn Lane : Jun 1st

    Oh my heart is broken. I love that place so much!!! We have the best memories from there, (birth announcements, wedding dinners, birthdays, anniversaries & all of the holidays).
    Is there anything that can be done to help keep y’all in business?? Yard sales, bake sales, silent auction? ANYTHING??
    Its hard to find a great place to eat, especially somewhere you can take your family & get a nutritional meal… I can smell it now… yum

    If something comes up… I would be happy to help. There has to be a way to get the community to help. Our family hates to hear this news.

    Covid has really put a kink in everything & has taken so much from us. We are really sorry. I truly understand your decision & wish your family well.

    If I can do anything for you all, please reach out to me in the email above.

    With all our loves,
    The Lane Family

  • Lane : Jun 11th

    The saddens me to see another family business becoming a victim of the covid hysteria fully endorsed by the ATC.

  • Jackie McKool : Jul 5th

    Oh I am so sad to hear this! My visit there in 2016 was so memorable! I was staying at a hostel close by and they gave rides to the Homeplace. I so enjoyed having a meal with my fellow hikers (I am a section-hiker) and the food was DELICIOUS! If I ever got back to that iconic section of the Trail I would have made it a point to stop back in. Makes me want to buy it and keep it going! I sure hope someone does.

    Lifting up prayers for your family as to the next season God has for you. Blessings & Health, “Kool91”

  • Kristi C : Sep 5th

    Do they plan to sell? Is there anything the hiking community, local community and general public could do to help them change their mind and reopen?

  • James Michael : Nov 9th

    Maybe now since the Virginians have opened up their Dixiecrat eyes and elected a governor an a lieutenant governor who believes and actually cares / loves, God family, country. Restaurants and businesses can reopen without having their civil liberties violated. ⏰🛌☕🇺🇸📯⏳🗡️🛡️🗽⚰️


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