From mythology to Main Street

A shuttered Shockoe Bottom restaurant is coming back to life.

John Van Peppen and his wife, Linda, plan to open Arcadia, a steak and seafood restaurant in the former Café Gutenberg location on East Main Street.

Van Peppen, 49, who used to help run the Stony Point steakhouse Flemings, bought the property in August.

Café Gutenberg opened in 2003 but changed hands a few times before closing this summer.

A few people formerly involved with the restaurant have been working to launch Rooster Cart, a vegan food cart. 

Worn down by years in the corporate restaurant world, Van Peppen wanted to test his mettle as the head honcho.

“My last year at Flemings, I was looking for an opportunity to open my own restaurant,” he said.

He managed Flemings for the past seven years and before that worked as the director of restaurant and catering for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts for seven years.

In April, Van Peppen left Flemings and went on the hunt for a place for Arcadia, a name taken from Greek mythology.

“I knew if I could open a restaurant, I’d name it Arcadia,” he said.

The restaurateur checked out a few spots in the Fan and the former Copper Grill location in Short Pump, which closed in August. The he caught wind that the cafe had gone up for sale.

Van Peppen said Arcadia will serve lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch.

Van Peppen said he’s looking to source most of the restaurant’s ingredients locally.

“We want to utilize the farmers markets as much as we can,” he said.

To go along with the fine dining, Arcadia will carry a large selection of local wines and a few local beers.

“Wine is my background, so we’ll incorporate that,” Van Peppen said.

Before getting into the restaurant industry, he owned a wine shop in Brandermill.

To serve a high-end menu, Van Peppen is bringing in a local chef whose identity he’s keeping quiet for now.

“He’s a well known executive chef who’s worked at a number of top tier Richmond restaurants,” he hinted.

Van Peppen said he’s not going to change too much about the two-story restaurant.

“It’s a historical building, so we’re keeping most of it intact,” he said. “We’ll have floor-to-ceiling windows [upstairs] that look over the farmers market and Main Street Station.”

He plans to bring on a staff of 20 to help run the restaurant including his wife, who has worked about 20 years in the local restaurant scene.

A shuttered Shockoe Bottom restaurant is coming back to life.

John Van Peppen and his wife, Linda, plan to open Arcadia, a steak and seafood restaurant in the former Café Gutenberg location on East Main Street.

Van Peppen, 49, who used to help run the Stony Point steakhouse Flemings, bought the property in August.

Café Gutenberg opened in 2003 but changed hands a few times before closing this summer.

A few people formerly involved with the restaurant have been working to launch Rooster Cart, a vegan food cart. 

Worn down by years in the corporate restaurant world, Van Peppen wanted to test his mettle as the head honcho.

“My last year at Flemings, I was looking for an opportunity to open my own restaurant,” he said.

He managed Flemings for the past seven years and before that worked as the director of restaurant and catering for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts for seven years.

In April, Van Peppen left Flemings and went on the hunt for a place for Arcadia, a name taken from Greek mythology.

“I knew if I could open a restaurant, I’d name it Arcadia,” he said.

The restaurateur checked out a few spots in the Fan and the former Copper Grill location in Short Pump, which closed in August. The he caught wind that the cafe had gone up for sale.

Van Peppen said Arcadia will serve lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch.

Van Peppen said he’s looking to source most of the restaurant’s ingredients locally.

“We want to utilize the farmers markets as much as we can,” he said.

To go along with the fine dining, Arcadia will carry a large selection of local wines and a few local beers.

“Wine is my background, so we’ll incorporate that,” Van Peppen said.

Before getting into the restaurant industry, he owned a wine shop in Brandermill.

To serve a high-end menu, Van Peppen is bringing in a local chef whose identity he’s keeping quiet for now.

“He’s a well known executive chef who’s worked at a number of top tier Richmond restaurants,” he hinted.

Van Peppen said he’s not going to change too much about the two-story restaurant.

“It’s a historical building, so we’re keeping most of it intact,” he said. “We’ll have floor-to-ceiling windows [upstairs] that look over the farmers market and Main Street Station.”

He plans to bring on a staff of 20 to help run the restaurant including his wife, who has worked about 20 years in the local restaurant scene.

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Clark Norton
Clark Norton
10 years ago

Glad to see new restaurant taking vacancy so quickly. But a high end dining facility needs to have safe, well lighted free parking. These locations suffer for lack of a parking deck!

Steve
Steve
10 years ago

Clark as much as I agree with you I need to Point out asking for that in Shockoe Bottom is like asking for a Unicorn. There are plenty of lots that are very close and will do if you don’t know where to look for free parking.

John Van Peppen
John Van Peppen
10 years ago

I can appreciate the concern over parking. We will offer valet parking every night. Visit our website at ArcadiaRichmond.com for more information.

Taylor Falls
Taylor Falls
10 years ago

I think it’s great and am excited for John and his wife! There is plenty of parking coupled with other high end restaurants right there who have made it work! Go for it!

Matt
Matt
10 years ago

I agree that parking is a complete non-issue. I go down to Rosie Connolly’s and Lulu’s very often and never once had a problem with parking. Just have to walk a couple of blocks at the most. As mentioned, there are pay lots, too, though have never needed to use them. Shockoe Bottom during dinner time hours isn’t exactly hoppin’ so a parking spot is very attainable.

Look forward to seeing more vacancies filled in Shockoe. Good luck to Arcadia!

joe
joe
10 years ago

Its just amazing. Suburbanites think they have to park their fat butts at the front door of everything. Stay out in your ugly cul-de-sac ghetto. Downtown has too many ugly surface parking lots.

e brown
e brown
10 years ago

I will GLADLY walk for city ambience over suburban sprawl any day! Good luck – look forward to dining w/ you!

Brett
Brett
10 years ago

Hmm, no parking, yet Juleps, LuLus, Havana, Rosies, River City Dinner, Halligans, and others all seem to make it work. Imagine that. Believe it or not there are literally thousands of people that live and work within walking distance. I say more business and less parking! It’s called a city.

Glad to have another quality establishment join the neighborhood! Good Luck!

Karen Harlow
Karen Harlow
10 years ago

Offering Valet parking is huge! Good for you! If I were going to an upscale restaurant in the bottom a part of me would be concerned with parking.

will
will
10 years ago

awesome!!! welcome

Joey
Joey
10 years ago

I worked for John for several years and can’t wait to see what he does to the old Gutenburg. Im sure its gonna be amazing and ill be ready to try it out. I know the wine and beer list will be superb. Give ’em hell JVP

jd
jd
10 years ago

Pretty much anything that John touches turns to gold, I’m sure Arcadia will be no different! Cheers John, looking forward to the new restaurant!