A local restaurateur has cooked up an idea to meet the changing tastes of the Richmond food scene head on.
Hamooda Shami is opening Eleven Months, a new Carytown restaurant that will rotate its theme, menu and décor every 11 months.
The restaurant is taking over the 1,300-square-foot space at 2915 W. Cary St., formerly home to Curry Craft until its closure in September.
Shami, who is also the majority owner of nearby taco bar Don’t Look Back and an investor and minority owner of New York Deli, described Eleven Months as an “extended restaurant and bar pop-up,”
“There are a lot of really neat and fun ideas for restaurants that are simply not meant to last forever,” Shami said. “So, Eleven Months is going to do just that.”
Once the doors open as expected this spring, Shami said a countdown clock will be set to 11 months. As a concept reaches its final seconds, Eleven Months will shut down and begin the next remodel, and a new restaurant will open a few weeks later.
Shami said he’s already trying the idea out with an Eleven Months location in Charlottesville that opened this week.
The initial theme there is called “Sorry It’s Over,” a play on a broken heart and jilted love, Shami said–using love song titles, such as “Strangelove” and “Blue Monday,” to label cocktails, and plastering the restaurant’s walls with break up letters.
“We really want to play to the theme of that location,” Shami said of his effort in Charlottesville.
If a concept incubated at Eleven Months is popular with the crowds, Shami said he may turn it into a permanent location.
“That’s always a possibility,” Shami said. “That would be a couple of years away, but that’s what is so intriguing about this concept… we get to test different things out.”
Shami is working with Richmond-based Campfire & Co. on the branding and interior design for the new restaurant. He’s in the process of hiring a chef for the Carytown location.
He said he was tipped off about the former Curry Craft space by a bartender who works for him at Don’t Look Back.
“I got in touch with the landlord, and after some negotiating, we signed the lease,” Shami said. “It’s a small enough space where you can recycle the themes in a quick enough time frame to reopen.”
Shami, who also helped launch and run the former Portrait House restaurant that is now Citizen Burger at 2907 W. Cary St., realizes he’s taking a risk, but said the timing and location are right for Eleven Months.
“I get to go back to a part of the industry that I enjoy–the creative part of it,” Shami said. “This is something that is new to me and new to Richmond. Opening the door to a number of theories that don’t have a lot of staying power is something, I hope, will be a draw for people to visit.”