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Okra’s Bistro in Gainesville Will Need a New Home

Provided by All Things Writing, LLC

Virginia Oaks Golf Club is closed, and with that, by Dec. 18, 2017, the recently opened Okra’s Bistro will be, too.

Charles Gilliam, owner of the Okra’s restaurants, said the golf course closed a few weeks after they launched their Gainesville location this past spring.

“We went there thinking we would be a restaurant at a golf course. A few weeks after we opened, the golf course closed, saying it was for maintenance, that it would reopen as a private course,” said Gilliam.

“We received a notification from the county last week. The building is zoned as a support building for a golf course and is not operational on its own. We cannot keep the restaurant open without the golf course operating.”

Upon opening the bistro, Gilliam had said, “Every golf course has a restaurant, but Okra’s is the only restaurant I know of that has a golf course.”

Given the enormous success of Okra’s Cajun Creole, there was no reason to think the Bistro would not follow in its footsteps. The busy Gainesville area that loves it amenities demonstrated great potential for the Bistro. But as Okra’s Cajun Creole and Okra’s Bistro continued to receive high marks from loyal and new customers, Virginia Oaks Golf Club’s deteriorated. The golf course earned poor reviews on Facebook, Yelp and Golf Advisor, and the website suddenly showed the domain no longer associated with Virginia Oaks.

The original Okra’s – Okra’s Cajun Creole – was opened at the corner of Center and Battle streets in Manassas in October 1998. Positioning itself as “the place that brought New Orleans to Manassas,” the restaurant was responsible for holding the first Manassas Mardi Gras parade, complete with marching bands, costumes, food and live music. Over the years, Okra’s Cajun Creole has contributed to the growth of Historic Manassas, serving residents and visitors Cajun cuisine, ambiance and entertainment.

“Okra’s was to be a restaurant where folks could come in and have a relaxing meal on some of America’s best cuisine,” Gilliam said on the Manassas restaurant’s website.  “Cajun food and Louisiana culture is real…honest, unpretentious and alive with flavor and color.”

Okra’s Cajun Creole continues to serve up real, cultural cuisine in Manassas. Meanwhile, Gilliam still hopes to bring that culture to another location once the current issue has been resolved. “We’re leaving, we’re not angry, we’ll show up somewhere else,” he said. “Keep an eye open for when that happens.”


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