3 Friends & 1 Crazy Idea… Vandal’s Kitchen

3 Friends & 1 Crazy Idea… Vandal’s Kitchen

They say that just because you love to cook doesn’t mean you should start a restaurant. Well, “they” also said it was going to rain today. “They” also said it will never work.

Well, it didn’t rain yet. And honestly we don’t know who “They” are or care much about what “They” say.

When you boil it all down Vandal’s Kitchen is the compilation of 3 like minded friends. We probably each have our own story about where this all began. But, for me, it all started with a dinner sometime in 2014 at Gumbo’s (great cajun food check’em out!). We were the sum total of 2 broken divorces and my own broken engagement tossed together by chance and joined by our passion for the town that we call home, Fayetteville, WV.

Adam, well his family has a history here. His grandfather moved here during the coal boom with a monumental bit design that impacted the nature of coal mining. He returned home in his 20’s to pursue his love for mountain biking, and share that passion through his bike shop Marathon Bikes.

Elizabeth. She’s another West Virginia native with roots in Fayetteville where both her parents were born and raised. After living in Colorado and Arizona the Mountain State called her back home. She wasn’t sure exactly why she was here, but she knew it was where she needed to be.

Myself, my name is Haynes. I grew up in North Carolina and found my way to West Virginia in 2001. Like many folks in the New River Gorge I traveled here regularly to kayak and climb in the Gorge. Never one for the traditional path I decided to spend a year working as a video boater and raft guide here… and… well 14 years later I find new reasons to call Fayetteville my home each year.

So, back to that cajun dinner where I believe it all started. We talked about this and that. Local politics, the potential for our town and the region, and how we were all a bunch of dream chasing entrepreneurs. And that was it. I went back to working as a freelance digital marketer, Elizabeth back to building websites and Adam selling bikes.

But, I knew we’d collectively do something amazing together soon.

Fast forward a half a year or so. I remember telling Elizabeth during some random conversation that I’m glad I never worked in the restaurant industry because I’d never be able to handle the lifestyle.

Fast forward just a few more months, and it kinda makes sense, completely hilarious and ironic sense, that Elizabeth would tell me she was starting a deli / coffee shop combo. With Adam. We were eating Mexican. I said something to the effect of…

“This makes no sense, but, I’m kind-of  bothered by the fact that I’m not involved. It doesn’t seem right for me, but it does.”

Elizabeth looked at me and said something like…

“I’m not saying you aren’t…. YOU are. I knew you needed to be from the beginning”

What can I say. I’m a sucker for carne asada tacos. They make me reckless.

And I’ve always loved to cook, in fact I’m not half bad at it.

And, well, we don’t care what they say anyhow.


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