J.R. Bentley’s employees are counting down the days until they can open their doors again, according to the restaurant’s manager, Katie Thomas. After a fire caused Bentley’s to temporarily shut down at the end of July, the pub is set to begin reconstruction later this month.
“The accident has turned everybody’s lives upside down,” Thomas said. She has been working at Bentley’s for almost eight years. “I built my life around Bentley’s. It wasn’t just a job.”
Even though the restaurant is closed, Bentley’s staff keeps in contact with their customers, online and in person.
“Not a day goes by where I don’t have a conversation with someone about Bentley’s,” Thomas said. She now works at Old School Pizza and Suds with two of her co-workers who were a part of Bentley’s staff. “Everyone’s support has been amazing, but we’re all going to go back to Bentley’s. We’ll definitely go back and help out at Old School if they need help.”
A beloved hang-out spot for students in downtown Arlington, Bentley’s has been missed by its regulars.
“I really miss the experience in general,” industrial engineering senior Walter Mulflur said. Mulflur and his friends frequently celebrated at the pub after attending intramural sports events together.
The restaurant’s renovations will include a larger bar, larger restrooms, and more open spaces. Before the fire, Bentley’s owner Dana Ladd was working on an extensive drink menu that also included new snack items.
Ladd said now that she has more time to look the menu over, she feels that she wants to add more healthy options and vegan options, such as fruit trays or meat and cheese trays.
Bentley’s is hoping to be back in business by New Year’s Day or early January, Ladd said.
“I’m excited,” Ladd said. “It’s a longer process than I thought it was going to be,” Ladd said.