A Floyd County and Blue Ridge Parkway staple, the former Tuggles Gap Restaurant and Motel is slated to open later this month with new owners and a new moniker: Tuggle’s Gap Roadside Inn.
First introduced to Floyd through FloydFest and other music-based events, co-owner and manager Nick Bieneck announced Tuggle’s Gap’s transformation on Sept. 1, and is highly prioritizing keeping the reputation of the property intact.
“We are still going to have great breakfast served all day, delicious burgers, sandwiches and lighter fare for lunch, a rotation of made-from-scratch homestyle specials each day in an effort to get back to the basics of simple country cooking with fresh local ingredients,” he explained Sept. 27, noting Tuggle’s Gap Pie will still be available to patrons, as well as other popular desserts.
“We are not changing the spirit or 80-plus year-old tradition of Tuggle's Gap, we are just undertaking some renovation projects and bringing the property into 2021,” Bieneck said.
Tuggles Gap Restaurant and Motel was owned by Nell and Cheri Baker before Bieneck and his father, Bjorn, bought the property in August, bringing to reality the younger Bieneck’s goal of owning his own small business with plenty of unique charm.
Bienick said he discovered his passion for hospitality early in life, around age 15, when he started working in hotels and studying hospitality. At age 20, Bieneck moved to Switzerland to be kitchen manager at Balmer's Herberge, a hostel in the Swiss Alps and later found himself in Amsterdam to work with concerts and festivals.
He managed the Hill Holler Stage at FloydFest from about 2008 until 2019, and when he discovered the Tuggles Gap business was for sale, in March 2021, he jumped at the opportunity to save the spot for community members.
“I had no idea how I was going to do it, but I knew it was something I needed to pursue,” he said Sept. 27. “Owning Tuggle's Gap is a dream I never really dared to dream, and I have to pinch myself sometimes to make sure it's all real… Our primary goal is to be a reliable establishment for Floyd and Patrick Counties and there are no shortcuts to doing things the proper way.”
Upon reopening, there will be a number of changes for visitors and customers to absorb, and a team of about 12 part- and full-time team members.
“First thing people will notice is the renovated front area that has been converted back to a shop with a new counter, hot coffee and biscuits in the morning, grab-n-go sandwiches/wraps/salads, and a select supply of retail goods for sale,” Bieneck said.
The opening of Tuggle’s Gap Roadside Inn is planned for mid-October and will be announced when a date and time is officially set.
“We are being careful not to rush anything at this stage and want to do everything right with this old property so we can focus on running the business after we're open,” Bieneck explained.