CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Serve, protect -- and feed?
Two Charleston police officers recently added the task of feeding the public to the services they provide when they opened a restaurant in Dunbar. The unusual leap was unexpected, even to them.
It all started when Sgt. Tim Davis was on patrol and spotted a hot dog vendor on Capitol Street selling to the late night bar crowd. Davis thought a food cart would be a smart way to start a little food business, so he looked around for a cart to buy and ended up renting restaurant space instead.
He and his wife, Autumn Davis, also a sergeant in the police department, opened Roxalana Grill in Dunbar in mid-December.
Although impetuous, the decision seemed fortuitous. The man who operated the hot dog cart equipment happened to be a cook. The cart for sale was sitting at his house, which was next door to an empty restaurant available for rent. Abdul Zayeed and his wife, Fatima, both with experience in the food service and hospitality industry, were looking for work.
The small restaurant's location also worked in its favor for the Davises' decision.
"He grew up in Roxalana Hills. He feels like he's home," Autumn Davis said. "He'd always wanted to have a little place and this just felt right."
He attended Dunbar and South Charleston high schools and she graduated from Capital High School.
The restaurant previously contained Thai House, a Mexican restaurant and later a pizza joint.
Tim Davis's love of cooking prompted his desire to open a restaurant. He originally planned to offer mostly burgers, sandwiches and pizzas. Instead, he and Abdul Zayeed, who's cooked at the Charleston Marriot and Embassy Suites and Uno's and Panchos in Teays Valley, developed a more eclectic menu.
The burgers go beyond your run-of-the-mill cheeseburger. Most are half-pound patties gussied up with fixings such as grilled onions and bourbon sauce, bleu cheese or stuffed with cheddar and jalapeno peppers.