DAMASCUS, Va. — A father’s gift to his son is keeping the doors open at one of Damascus’ favorite eateries.
When Damascus resident Nelson Diggs learned that Mojo’s Trailside Café & Coffee House was up for sale a few months ago, he sent a text to his son, Bobby Diggs, asking him if he’d like to operate his own restaurant.
“Are you kidding? Of course, I would,” replied Bobby, who at the time was working as a machine operator for a factory in Indiana.
“I’m excited to get back into the kitchen, doing what I really love. I like to make food that makes people happy,” said Bobby, who has nearly 10 years of restaurant experience.
The father and son purchased the business in March after the former owner, David “Paragon” Calvert, decided to move back to a Buddhist community in Thailand.
“My mother blessed me with a gift of money toward my mortgage years ago,” said the father. “Now that I’m retired from the Navy, I wanted to bless my son, as well.”
Bobby, 32, said he feels grateful to his father for making his dream job come true.
His plans for the restaurant include keeping many of the favorites prepared by John Seymore, the original owner who opened the restaurant in 2016.
The chef has many of his own recipes to incorporate into the menu, but for right now, he’s choosing to stick with the original selections Seymore created years ago.
“I want to recreate some of the old favorites and return to some of the same original recipes.”
With a humble beginning in the restaurant business, the chef gained experience working for fast-food restaurants while in high school. He worked in the restaurant business in Virginia Beach, where he moved from dishwasher to line cook and eventually kitchen manager.
He later became the head chef for the employees at a Home Shopping Network company in Suffolk, Virginia.
He knows the importance of buying locally sourced ingredients for the restaurant.
Farm-fresh produce will be important ingredients in the fresh salads and vegetables he prepares and serves.
He’s even switching to local coffeemaker Know Better Coffee from Mountain City, Tennessee.
“I think it says a lot about a restaurant when you serve local ingredients,” said the new owner.
“I believe it will set us apart from others as we work to give our customers authentic meals.”