Groovetown Lounge opens in Shepherdstown
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Matthew Thompson, of Winchester, firmly believes in the benefit of living a healthy lifestyle. And, while he’s now a certified yoga instructor, physical trainer and owner of the Groovetown Lounge, serving primal, vegan and vegetarian food, he wasn’t always this committed to healthy living.
Thompson can trace his road to health from high school. During a family get together, he remembers being so overweight, his eight-year-old cousin beat him in a foot race. That experience encouraged Thompson to start working out and dieting.
Unfortunately, the road to weight loss wasn’t an easy one — Thompson experienced some health issues resulting from the popular diet he was following. When he realized his diet was the culprit behind his health problems, Thompson began researching healthier eating habits, and eventually became committed to a primal diet, which focuses on eating food like early humans did — raw vegetables, raw fruits, meat and dairy.
“It’s a matter of building the right foundation for a healthy future — your healthy future starts yesterday,” Thompson said. “Your body builds itself based on the things you put in it — things you choose to put in it and things you come in contact with.”
Thompson’s commitment to healthy eating has grown over the years, to the extent that when he heard about the closing of Mellow Moods, he was determined to open a similar restaurant in its place, after its closing and first buyer fell through in 2017. Although Thompson lives in Winchester with his 10-year girlfriend, Anna Wilt, the couple lived in Shepherdstown for a brief period of time and are committed to creating a welcoming restaurant for its customers.
“Because of Mellow Moods having to close, there was a strong need to have a restaurant with purpose to fill that need,” Thompson said. “This has given me the opportunity to use my skill, help people and find something I can be passionate about.”
Thompson and the former Mellow Moods employees composing the majority of his staff have been excited to see customers come trickling into Groovetown Lounge since its soft opening on Aug. 8. The restaurant is currently serving a limited menu, but will eventually offer a variety of food options with affordable prices that can be tweaked to meet individuals’ dietary needs.
According to Thompson, even though he doesn’t live in Shepherdstown, he feel most at home here, thanks to many community members who have pitched in to help Groovetown Lounge become a reality.
“I feel more at home here than in Winchester. I have run into more people here who are willing to give their time to help others forward,” Thompson said. “People are excited about the food, people are excited about the space — a lot of creative people are putting their input in, and that’s why it’s kind of a community project.”
Along with offering a variety of foods and beverages, Groovetown Lounge showcases the work of local artists. Its hours and a current menu can be found at www.facebook.com/GroovetownLounge/, by calling 304-470-0860 or by visiting the location at 119 West German Street.