CONWAY, Ark – A restaurant in Conway is reopening its doors after being closed most of last year.

The owner of Your Girl Friend’s Best Friend’s Kitchen (Y.G.F.B.F) said doors were closed from April to January because of staffing issues from the pandemic.

Inside the doors, the staff is hard at work marking off the final boxes on a checklist.

“It feels amazing for the simple fact that so many businesses have closed, so many dreams have diminished just because of the economy. I am very blessed to be able to stay here and continue to do what I do,” Y.G.F.B.F owner Mary Ann Leon said.

The Conway restaurant looked very different six months ago, with empty tables and an empty kitchen.

“It was very difficult. I mean we would find some [employees], they would stay a few days and then they would leave,” Leon said.

In June, Leon said she was down to just two people on the payroll. Now she is fully staffed.

“We have enough to get rocking and rolling,” Leon said.

Leon said life after COVID-19 is going back to normal with applications where they should be and a staff ready to work.

“To come back here and to feel the love of the community, I mean, it means everything,” Leon said.

2022 brought ups and downs, including the closure of Leon’s Little Rock location which was due to rental issues.

“I’ll be honest, I felt like I didn’t do something right,” Leon said.

She’s hoping the new year will come with new blessings in a place she calls home.

Y.G.F.B.F Kitchen in Conway will open doors Thursday, Jan. 5 at 11 a.m.