Gay Couple Sells Beloved VA Restaurant Amid Harassment

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Gay Couple’s Restaurant Sale in Virginia

Sale of the Front Porch Market and Grill

A long-married couple recently sold their business, the Front Porch Market and Grill in The Plains, VA. They had started this venture years ago. A new owner, aiming to rename and revitalize the establishment, now takes over. This change unfolds amid a difficult relationship with their neighbors, Mike and Melissa Washer, known for their Christian and MAGA support.

Challenges with Neighbors

The Washers have clashed with the former owners, a gay couple, attempting to drive them out of business. “Making the decision to sell was surprisingly easy,” Waybourn told The Washington Post, reflecting on the feud that escalated after the Washers moved in.

The Emotional Toll

Waybourn expressed disappointment, knowing he let down many supporters. “I had to step back for my and the town’s well-being,” he explained, highlighting the toxic atmosphere created by the Washers.

Persistent Struggle and Advocacy

As a dedicated gay rights activist, Waybourn faced constant harassment from the Washers, ranging from a rat left at his door to various complaints about his business practices. Employees even reported derogatory comments from Mike Washer.

Health Impact

The ongoing conflict led to Waybourn suffering a mild stroke. There was a brief respite afterward, but it ended quickly. The tension resumed, especially after the Washers’ son won a local political position.

A New Chapter

The business sale was finalized in December. The new owner, Shawn Malone, a chef and restaurateur, comes with a calm demeanor, according to Waybourn. Malone secured a five-year lease with an option to buy. The establishment will reopen in February as Bistro at the Porch. Waybourn hopes for a better relationship with the neighbors under Malone’s management. “I had to leave to avoid further emotional turmoil,” Waybourn concluded.

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