Mockingbird rises from the ashes
First it sang, then it burned, and now it has risen again. Mockingbird, Staunton’s new restaurant and music hall, caught fire before it even opened back in August when two trash cans ignited during the renovation of the historic building on Beverley Street.
At the time, stunned owner Wade Luhn was planning on a September opening, but as he stood on the street watching the blaze he was speechless. While the restaurant side of the building suffered little damage, the music hall side took the brunt of the two-hour fire. A day later, though, Luhn was determined.
“We’re uncertain when we will be able to restore the music hall,” said Luhn. "but it will happen as soon as possible, and we will work with renewed determination to complete the project.”
The restaurant, believe it or not, opened on schedule October 2, and now Luhn says the Grand Opening for the 162-seat music hall will be on November 14, just two months behind his original schedule.
“We recovered from the fire with sweat, hard work, and a great crew of determined workers,” says Luhn.
In the end, he also got a little encouragement from Governor Tim Kaine, who stopped by the day before the restaurant opened during a trip to Staunton to promote arts in the region.
“He's a musician himself, and took a personal interest in all that's going on here regarding our performance space,” said Luhn.
"I think using art as a drawing card for Staunton is great," Kaine told reporters.
On November 14 at the Mockingbird, that drawing card includes Trent Wagler and the Steel Wheels, one of the hottest "Roots Music" bands in Virginia, says Luhn. Next, it’s Larry Keel and Natural Bridge and a special WNRN Presents show with Nathan Moore and Old School Freight Train's Jesse Harper.
Luhn says to check the Mockingbird’s website for the full schedule of November acts.