Main Street Bistro Fails To Launch But Another Steps In

bistro-bustEntrepreneurial exuberance proved inadequate to power the relaunch of the Main Street Bistro in downtown Berryville. Darrell Jones of Harrisonburg, Virginia entered a contract to purchase the establishment and had plans to reopen on Monday, April 5th.   Former owners, Jimmy and Joette Breeden, sold the Bistro to return to Harpers Ferry where they own the Coffee Mill and the Coach House Grille. Those plans seemed to have fallen by the wayside. The deal fell through and the fate of the Berryville space was in limbo.

It seems the rekindled downtown economy has provided a quick answer. Makenzie’s Country Kitchen has reported via their website that they have signed a lease to occupy the former Bistro space. Cheryl Spencer is the owner of the   new restaurant. She will be assisted by resident chefs Kenny & Dawn Reynolds of “The Blue Skillet,” a well known restaurant in Clarke County. The family owned and operated restaurant will specialize in southern home cooking at affordable prices.


  1. Lonnie Bishop says:

    The last part of this article was hard to follow due to some grammatical errors.

    As for the larger issue, at what point is downtown Berryville “saturated” with eating establishments? It seems like eateries are becoming a revolving door thing, given the population of the area, the number of existing establishments (many with similar menus), a lack of other businesses to provide potential customers, and parking that is not the most convenient. There may be nearly 300 parking spaces in the town, but who wishes to park more than a block from a restaurant, especially if the weather is bad?

    I do wish this new venture well. Goodness knows we need some steady tax revenue coming in.

  2. Sharon Strickland says:

    Great news. Having the Berryville Grille is wonderful and having a southern style restaurant is another bonus.

    Residents like keeping their money in Clarke County! Let’s hope the new owners follow the path that the owners of the Berryville Grille did and open those windows to Main Street! It is nice to sit in the booths at the front windows of the Bon Matin, the Berryville Grille, and hopefully this new restaurant. People like eating with lots of light in a bright and cheery spot.

    • Ms. Strickland- Thanks so much for your support. Our plans are to open the restaurant up a bit and make it more inviting. We hope to see you soon at Makenzie’s.

      • We ate at Mackenzies during the Christmas Parade. I must say it was the WORST meal I have eaten in a restaurant plus overpriced and poor service.I won’t return, and businesses don’t succeed by one time customers, especially in a small town.

  3. I would love to spend my money in Clarke County, but where are we to eat now? As a regular patron of the Bistro, I have really missed Jimmy Sayed and Joette Breeden this month. The whole dining experience of The Bistro was the best in the area. Jimmy sent delicious, quality food out of his kitchen and Joette always made sure that we were well taken care of. They made us feel like we were having dinner in their home. You don’t find that anywhere. We have already visited their establishements in Harpers Ferry and they were wonderful. We loved the quaint and cozy atmosphere of the Bistro. I am not sure that a country kitchen is what we need in Berryville. i wish Mackenzies the best, but I miss The Bistro!

  4. Ms. Johnson-

    Thank you for taking the time to comment on this article. Jimmy & Joette are great people, we agree. We are sorry that you are disappointed that they closed the doors of the Bistro. We hope that you will stop by Makenzie’s and give us a try as well. Previously offering our menu in Clarke County, we are comfortable saying that we have created our menu, catering to what Clarke County wants. I assure you, you will enjoy the same experience at our restaurant as you did at the Bistro. If you ask around, everyone will tell you the same. You won’t feel like a guest at a restaurant you will feel as if you are eating in our home. That has been said many times by our customers.

    We hope that you will stop by and give us a try. We have had great success in Clarke County and word of mouth has been our best advertisement. Our menu offers something for everyone. We also offer delivery as well, just as we did before. Please have a look at our website, our menu is full of a variety of items.

    Thanks again and we hope to see you soon!

    • If you have done so great in Clarke County why did you close your other store..The Blue Skillet.????? I miss the Bistro !!!!!

      • Cid, the Bistro was lackluster. You obviously have some motive here, are you a grill or janes lunch loyal? Mackenzies is much more in line for the town than the Bistro was. It just didn’t work. The Skillet had a bad location.
        You’re game is up!

        • Syd Barrett says:

          My Only motive is being HONEST !!! Maybe your a Trader looking out for Mackenzies !!Your Game Is UP !!

      • I ate at the Blue Skillet once and it was OK. The location wasn’t bad,being on Route 50 with ample parking, but it seemed they expected to make it off commuters stopping for breakfast on the way to work. I don’t think they were there long enough to really get established.

  5. Krystin Ryder says:

    Cynthia I think you were the only patron of the Bistro. Others in the area when I moved here told me the atmosphere was horrible, the food was not good and “way over priced”.

    “It seems the rekindled downtown economy has provided a quick answer.” This statement makes me laugh in the article considering Berryville Grille cant keep up with the downtown economy and even have had to start taking reservations even during lunch as the patrons are lined up out the door.

    Good luck to Makenzie’s Country Kitchen as I don’t feel at all that this town has too many restaurants, I think its the poor quality of food and environment that this town is lacking. When I go to dinner I go to Battletown, Berryville Grille, and Camino. I still give to all of these because I enjoy the environment and the food. I don’t mind paying a steeper price if the quality of food is there!

  6. My vote is for a Sports Bar!

  7. Daris Shevitz says:

    In response to all of this negative energy, I will have to say that I am very upset with the comments that have been posted concerning The Bistro, Mackenzies, Berryville NewsStand, Berryville Grille and the other local eateries. Jimmy and Joette did a wonderful job but have moved on. We should only wish Mackenzies the best. Glenn does a great job at the coffee shop. Brian is venturing into new things at the Lighthouse. As residents of a small community, this childish commentary needs to stop. One business owner can not please everyone! We all have different opinions. However, let’s not be rude!

  8. Thumbs up for Mackenzie’s…..Had breakfast there on Saturday and the staff was friendly and the food was good! No longer have to drive to Papermill Place for my Sunday breakfast!

    • Papermill Place beats Makenzie’s hands down; with price and quality. I will continue to make the trek to Winchester and eat at Papermill Place.

  9. carefreelassie says:

    The Blue Skillet had a bad location and we were sorry to see it go. However, Dawn has made a new home with Mackenzie’s and the food and service are great. We were ready to travel to the new location- no matter where it was-to be loyal to a great family and great food at reasonable prices.
    Thank you!

    • Carefree- Thanks so much for your support. We had a great business at the Skillet we just couldn’t come to tenancy terms for an extended lease. The time we were there was amazing! We really enjoy being in Berryville and many Blue Skillet customers are realizing where we are now. WE have made new friends and are starting to see our old friends more often too.

      Your loyalty means the world to us and we really appreciate your business and support. Thanks again and we will see you soon. P.S.—–Let me know who you are so I can Thank you directly 😉

  10. Great food? Reasonable prices? Ugh! The food is mediocre, prices are high($9.00 for a Steak and Cheese???) and some of the names on the menu are unappealing( Chicken Chunks? Who wants to eat something made out of a chunk?)

    It would be great if Makenzie’s used locally sourced/grown items. Then I could justify paying such high prices. Sure, Makenzie’s wants us to patronize their establishment and support a local business but what are they doing to give back? Do they also offer the same support with the purchase of raw ingredients sourced locally?

    Just something to think about.

    • Dawn (Makenzies) says:

      Frank, I’m sorry you feel that our food is mediocre. I’m not sure how long it’s been since you came into the restaurant, but our menu has been changed for several months now. The “Chunks” (Chunks of White Meat) are actually called Boneless Wings now and our Steak & Cheese is one of the biggest in the area and it comes with a choice side (Fries, Onion Rings, Salad, etc.) That is a fair price for the product, I’m sorry you don’t feel the same. However, we sell a case of Steaks for the Steak & Cheese a day so it seems like others agree with the quality & pricing.

      Our food is made to order and we use fresh products from Virginia. I don’t know you & obviously you don’t know Makenzie’s or our vendors. We use six different vendors for our products. We get deliveries of fresh product daily.

      What do you mean by what are we doing to give back? What kind of statement is that? We are a small business formed by Clarke County natives. Every business wants to be successful, we are a restaurant, of course we want people to enjoy our restaurant. We don’t have a restaurant for the “money”. We do it because it’s what we love! We donate food to local organizations and we give to the area food bank. We give at least 20% discounts to our patrons every day of the week. I don’t know what more you want us to do for the community.

      Do you not frequent Subway, Food Lion, Family Dollar, Mario’s, Dollar General, Berryville Pharmacy or any other business in Berryville because they do not use products purchased directly from Clarke County? I think not. I know of only two or three businesses in Berryville that actually use local products. Additionally, Papermill Place is in Winchester, not Berryville and oddly enough they use some of the same vendors we do. Does Papermill Place contribute to Clarke County directly? I have never been there so I can’t say I know or do not know if they do.

      We have spent the last month restructuring our restaurant. We have changed many things including some kitchen staff. My apologies if you had a mediocre experience but we strive for every customer to enjoy their meal and if you don’t tell us your thoughts, how will we ever be able to correct them. I invite you back to our restaurant to give us another try. If for any reason any customer is not happy about anything, I would hope that it was brought to our attention so that we can assure every visit to our establishment is a pleasant one. Best Regards!

      • How ironic that just yesterday you announced on your FB page that you have lowered your prices : “SAME GREAT MENU!!! LOWER PRICES COMING THIS MONTH! We want to save our customers money during this tough economical crisis! Stop on in & see the savings we have created for you.”

        and to quote you in our post above: “and our Steak & Cheese is one of the biggest in the area and it comes with a choice side (Fries, Onion Rings, Salad, etc.) That is a fair price for the product, I’m sorry you don’t feel the same. However, we sell a case of Steaks for the Steak & Cheese a day so it seems like others agree with the quality & pricing.”

        Seems that you didn’t feel too confident about your pricing structure after all.

        Again, sourcing your ingredients locally would be an ideal win/win-you purchase from local, locals in turn patronize your establishment. I’m not comparing you with Subway, Food Lion or any other chain. I’m asking a local business owner in town about sourcing their ingredients locally. That’s all. I don’t need a long winded answer. Just an honest and direct one.

        • Have you not watched the news lately and seen that gas prices are planned to soar to $5 a gallon? It is already at $3. It’s not as though we are selling everything for $1 on our menu. We just lowered some items that we feel we are able to lower a little bit to save the customers money. Subsequently Frank, a FB page is for “Fans” of a business. It is not intended for the use of people that do nothing but put businesses down. Makes me wonder why if you are so unhappy with Makenzie’s why would you take notice of our page? Just curious.

          • Still no answer to sourcing locally…..I wonder why you are avoiding this topic?

            You write and defend your prices on one post when I question your prices and then lower your prices because now you’re worried about the economy but you wrote previously on here that you justified your higher prices?Make up your mind and stick with it! Don’t be so wishy washy on your replies. You lose credibility.

          • Dawn (Makenzies) says:

            I answered your question as to where I get our products.

  11. BlossomButt says:

    Well, the thing is,too many changes, too soon, will be a death sentence. Makenzies was great when it opened….great food, decent price (not too high, but a bit about right for the area), great hours, all around a great combination. Then, they started charging for containers for carryout food, then they changed the menu and raised prices to a crazy level. During the holidays, I cant remember the number of times they were closed on a Sunday evening, or before 8pm. I mean, that was one of the draws, that we could get a sit down meal, after mid day. I recently noticed that they also stopped serving their homemade potato chips (which they loved to brag about) and I was given a small bag of chips on my plate. Really? At these prices, you are going to put a bag of chips on my plate? When you have failed, I hope you are able to look back at all of the mistakes and realize where you went wrong.

    • We have NEVER made homemade chips! EVER, nor have we ever offered Homemade Chips. We close at 2 on Sundays for time to do a “super clean”, “restock” & have company meetings. Our prices were not raised that high. We just changed options. We don’t charge for containers. We NEVER close early. Our Holiday hours have been posted for month. We have been closing at 2 on Sunday since October.

  12. just interested says:

    I love Makenzies. I have eaten lunch there many times and have overheard other customers stating their compliments. Simply put there will always be something that does not click with every customer in any establishment. I commend Makenzies for sincerely trying to answer complaints in a public manner. Complaints can be a very useful tool to help improve productivity. If Makenzies is attempting to incorporate these complaints to make their product better than kudos to them. Attacks on the other hand only harm. Success is the key word we need to be using instead of failure.

  13. I personally feel that the waitress’s and cooks should not stand in front of the restaurant and take their smoke breaks. This is a total turn-off for food service providers. Just not a very clean look to most!

    • To the best of my knowledge “Smoke Breaks” are taken in the back alley. If you have seen our crew in the front it has only been a few times and I’m sure it was for a good reason. I will look into this. If the server is out front, they are always in the alley at least but keeping an eye on the front door. My apologies & again, I will look into this. The cooks should never be out front!

      • Denise Enger says:

        Hi Dawn,

        Just wanted to let you know I love to support our local businesses and I truly hope Makenzie’s continues to do well, but just FYI – when I saw the comment above about staff smoking, etc outside your restaurant it caught my attention because I have noted exactly the same thing. My husband and I noticed one day as we came through town that there were a group of people that we presumed to be staff from Makenzie’s (several were wearing aprons) congregating in an alley area next the restaurant but very near the front. It was just one of those “at a glance” moments, but we observed them “hanging out”, smoking and one person spitting (ick!) on the ground…and I hate to admit it but my initial response was that I would probably not want to eat there….it just did not paint an appealing picture for a restaurant, if you know what I mean.

        Please know I only post this to let you know, because there may be other possible patrons being “turned off” by the same thing and I would hate to have it keep folks from enjoying Makenzies. I wish you continued success! 🙂

        • Thank you for your response. It is appreciated and I feel we have solved this problem COMPLETELY! No employee will be in the front smoking for any reason at any time effective immediately! Thanks so much and yes I agree spitting is disgusting no matter where it’s done. That is absolutely uncalled for. I think I know who that was because he did it all the time and I had to get on him. The good news is he is no longer with us.

      • Why would there be a good reason for your cooks to take a smoke break in the front of your restaurant??? There is never a good reason to see any employee smoking in front of any business.

        • Dawn (Makenzies) says:

          I didn’t say the cooks should be in the front. What I said was they should NEVER be in the front. I said if a server was in out there it was probably for a good reason or to watch the front door.

      • Naked Truth says:

        That’s just NASTY! If she dosen’t know where her employees are smoking then how does she know if they are washing their hands. After all the sink is in the back of the house. [redacted]

        • Dawn (Makenzies) says:

          I can assure you that I know my employees wash their hands. Anyone who has ever worked here or currently working here will tell you how obsessive I am about washing hands and wearing gloves & hair coverings.

  14. I have eaten at Mackenzie’s on several occations. My husbands chicken came with blood all around the bone. My porkchops came in the same condition. When I request home fries, I don’t expect to get french fries that have been cut up in little pieces. The past two weeks I have driven by the restaurant almost every day and have noticed the same person standing almost on the sidewalk smoking. In the mornings when I have gone in for breakfast it almost takes an act of Congress to get a refill on my coffee. The waitress is busy talking to friends at the cash register. I had hoped this was going to be a great addition to Berryville but I have been disappointed.

    • Ms Stoner- We have made several changes this month. Including, we have new cooks at night & Kenny and I cook during the day every day now. We hand cut our homefries, I am sorry they are not to your liking. I don’t know how you have driven by the restaurant for the past two weeks and seen the same person, we just opened back up a week ago today and we have had 4 different servers since we opened back. Two of which do not smoke. I don’t know why you have a problem getting a refill on coffee or who your server was because that is not how we want our restaurant ran. The blood on the chicken had to be when we first opened up because we solved that problem long ago. I’m not sure about the pork chops but again, we have all new cooks and can assure you that wouldn’t happen again. These kinds of things need to be brought to our attention so we may correct them for you. If we don’t know, we can’t do anything about it. I am sorry for your disappointment.

  15. To everyone that has shown interest in this article and the comments positive and not to positive. Please understand that our family has made several changes this year with our company policies and team members. We have replaced several employees that we feel were not making the cut. We had the same cooks since we opened while hiring a few over the last months. After finding out that our customers were getting poor service and poor quality food, we replaced them. But not before giving them the opportunity to step it up. My husband Kenny & myself have taken the time to hand pick and train all the new cooks and there should be no complaints. Additionally, he and I cook during the day ever day now. There has been a change in servers as well. There are only four now and they consist of Tiff who has been there since we opened, Chelsea (a new addition within the last few months), my mother Cheryl and myself a few days a week. We are doing our best to right any wrongs that customers experienced in the past. I have decided to be on the front lines as a server a few days so that I can talk to customers more and get feedback.

    I apologize to anyone that received poor service or food and hope that you will come back and try Makenzie’s again. Please know that we appreciate all the feedback. It is with the feedback we can make any necessary changes to improve Makenzies. You may contact me directly at the restaurant or by email

    Thanks to those who have supported us no matter what. I can understand the disappointment in a bad meal, we have all gotten at least a few in our lives. However, I must say that it has been our policy since day one to make sure our customers leave happy. No matter what restaurant you are in you should always let the manager know if you aren’t happy.

    • Mr Mister says:

      It seems in every one of your responses you acknowledge the complaint. Like you’ve heard it before or have seen it yourself. Employees smoking in front, spitting, undercooked food , ect. Bad news travels a lot faster than good news. For every one complaint there are at least 10 more that you don’t hear. These other people have chosen to complain to their friends instead. Maybe turning their friends from being customers of yours. You are catering to a small community here. The pickn’s are thin. All I need to hear is undercooked food and I’ll never try that place. I know good cooks are hard to find sometimes but where is the quality control. Isn’t there someone to overlook the product that is being served. If you have so much confidence in you food, how is this happening? If my name was on the front door I would have more control. Not just wait for a complaint. It’s too late then.

      • Fly on the wall says:

        Still…some of these posts are unfair to Mackenzie’s, as they’re based on hearsay, people’s perceptions (which could be incorrect), etc. Perhaps, instead of posting erroneous things on here (and then only adding to the brushfire of rumor and negativity), perhaps folks should just deal directly with Dawn. It’s unfortunate that some things can be posted here that are unsubstantiated, and thus a good local business sees it’s reputation drug through the mud.

  16. Russell Brand says:

    I recently had the… “pleasure” of dining at Makenzies.
    It was less than mediocre.
    How about you stop “fixing” your problems and get them right the first time.
    My chicken CHUNKS (odd name) were just…. un appetizing.
    And everyone that worked there smelled like mushrooms and looked like they wanted to hurt me.
    Maybe when I see a good review or two, I will return.
    Best of luck

    • You obviously haven’t eaten at Makenzie’s recently as they have not been called Chicken Chunks since September. I truly don’t think you have dined with us or you would have known that. It appears you have taken a blurp from another person’s post and just fed on it. Additionally, mushrooms really? You truly have too much time in your hands. Wanting to hurt you? WOW! I guess you were never taught that if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say it at all. That is probably the funniest thing I have ever heard. Seems like you have other motives. I wonder what your real name is too?

      • Interesting says:

        I think that was a sad attempt at humor on Russell’s part. It’s a line from Elf when he is introduced to the mail room and he says, “It’s just like the North Pole except it smells like mushrooms and everyone looks like they want to hurt me.”

        Don’t pay attention, I appreciate your forthright attitude in responding to the criticisms.