SPENCER, W.Va. — Restaurant fare in this Roane County town now includes an island flair.
Island Garden Restaurant recently opened on Main Street by co-owners and cousins Vina Renna and Miriam King, who are both natives of the Philippines.
Restaurant manager is Cathy Kaneshiro, who was born and raised in Hawaii, holds a degree in culinary management and has worked in food service for 23 years. Kaneshiro's daughter, Lena Giltner, and niece, Corrie Ota, are servers. Her husband, Lincoln, cooks.
Other family members are often on hand to help out.
"Miriam and I always wanted to be in business together," Renna said. "I'm a physical therapist and always wanted to get into food service. Miriam is an interior designer."
Renna was living in Florida and King in Virginia when they heard through a mutual friend that restaurant space in Spencer was available. It was formerly an Italian place called George's and manager Kaneshiro had worked there for three years.
A love for country living drew the cousins to the area just as it did Kaneshiro several years before.
For now Renna's husband, Fred, has remained in Florida to run a home health care business. They are the parents of Kelsey, 16, a student at Highland Adventist School in Elkins.
King's husband Arlyn is retired from the U.S. Navy and helps with maintenance at the restaurant. They are the parents of Kaydee, 24, a dental assistant in Maryland; and A.J., 23, who helps cook at the restaurant. Their younger children Joseph, 16, and Kaycee, 13, attend Highland Adventist School.
The owners decided to keep the Italian fare and incorporate island foods as well. A wide variety of food also includes sandwiches, salads, subs, fish, chicken and steak.
The restaurant is painted light green and live plants are sprinkled here and there. Soft island music plays in the background of the dining area that can seat 58 at tables and booths.
Since the restaurant's grand opening Oct. 2, business has been brisk.