From McDonald’s to Main Street Eatery


Wendy Williams Takes Over One of Lynchburg’s Classiest Restaurants

Lynchburg’s beloved Main Street Eatery & Catering Co. recently changed ownership. But don’t worry, the new leader knows exactly what she’s doing. And we couldn’t help but share her climbing-the-career-ladder story.

Wendy Williams was raised in a small town southeast of Syracuse, NY and was introduced to Lynchburg by family who worked for Virginia Episcopal School. They encouraged her to consider Randolph-Macon Woman’s College when she graduated high school.

Family support and a huge love of horses sealed the deal and she packed her bags for RMWC. Her restaurant career started there. Wendy worked in the dining hall throughout college and then bounced around many local restaurants—McDonald’s, The Windmill and Milano’s to name just a few—learning all aspects of the various jobs.

Wendy graduated RMWC in 1982 and soon met who would end up being a long-time employer. She began to wait tables at the Rutledge Inn for owners Michelle and Urs Gabathuler. Soon after, they sold the Inn and bought Emil’s Restaurant in Boonsboro Shopping Center (currently Isabella’s).

At Emil’s, Wendy did it all. She was a server, deli clerk, bartender, cashier, hostess, and quickly became the restaurant manager until 1996, when Emil’s was sold and became Meriweather’s.

Wendy continued to work for the Gabathulers and helped open Main Street Eatery in 1998. She has proudly worked every job in the restaurant and has been there off and on for the last 19 years.

In October 2016, when the Gabathulers announced they were ready to retire, Wendy jumped at the opportunity. She tells me she was definitely “in the right place at the right time” and owning the restaurant is a long-time goal.

“I have reached my pinnacle. This is what I have always dreamed about,” says Wendy. “The old owners set high standards and I will keep up the reputation of great food and great service.”

Wendy took over in March of this year. Of the transition, Wendy tells me it was smooth. After setting up her LLC and getting the appropriate license and permits, she partnered with Louis Cambeletta and got to work.

She made a few minor changes, but nothing customers would likely notice. She also made a few tweaks to the menu but says “what sells, stays.”


About Author

Rachel Dalton comes from a restaurant marketing and management background in Richmond but now is a wife, mother, writer, exercise enthusiast, very amateur chef, traveler, super planner, dog rescuer and lover of all things local to her new hometown of Lynchburg, Virginia.

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