Staff at a much-loved Mountain Ash restaurant, who served up a vital community effort during the Coronavirus pandemic, are delighted food, drinks and their famous carvery are now back on the menu.
From June 28, Woods Restaurant will re-open seven days a week, offering a great range of light bites, steaks, burgers, classic meals such as scampi and steak and ale pie and, of course, its popular Sunday carvery roast.
Woods Restaurant, which is based at Cynon Valley Indoor Bowls Centre, was completely taken over by the NHS at the height of the pandemic.
The popular and buzzing restaurant/dining area was turned into an 18-station testing and vaccination centre almost overnight, while staff rooms and offices became storage for the vaccines.
Staff more used to serving tables and cooking food found themselves redeployed and they stepped up in an incredible way to carry out Coronavirus tests on the communities of Cynon Valley and beyond.
Later, they retrained again and became an essential part of the massive vaccination programme which, again, was delivered in what used to be the main dining area of Woods Restaurant.
Almost two years later, the venue has been handed over by the NHS and Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, which owns the building, is working with Woods manager Allison Giblin and her staff to relaunch the venue.
“We have been proud to have been an important part of the community Coronavirus response,” said Alison, who has managed the centre for 28 years.
“I am so proud of my staff who stepped up and retrained to do their bit to protect and care for communities, including many people who we are used to seeing here as customers.
“They were so professional. But now is time for us to return to what we love doing best. The restaurant is undergoing regeneration works and we can’t wait to re-open with a new look and a new menu!”
Cllr Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and ward member for Mountain Ash, said: “As owners of the building, we were pleased to nominate it for use as a testing and vaccination site as part of the Coronavirus response in 2020.
“Almost overnight the restaurant was gone and staff stepped up to retrain in order to become an essential part of the front line fight against Coronavirus.
“Now we are in a position were the testing and vaccination centre can be closed down, it’s only right we recognise that effort, and work with the staff and management of Woods Restaurant to return the venue to its former glory.
“I know Alison and her team are looking forward to the return of their customers and also welcoming new faces to Woods Restaurant.”