Kubaccha cometh

Two of the finest beards on the Richmond food scene want to branch out from the Fan, where both own restaurants.

Manny Mendez of Kuba Kuba (right in photo) and Chris DiLauro of Bacchus (left in photo) are partners in a new restaurant in the works on the Southside.

The new venture doesn’t have a name or a menu yet, but it could open this fall on Forest Hill Avenue, Mendez said.

“We joke about calling it ‘Kubaccha,’” Mendez said. “We’re not just going to do Italian, which is what Chris does at Bacchus, and we’re not just going to do Cuban. It will be good, neighborhood food.”

The pair signed a lease on the location at 2805 Hathaway Road in March. The restaurant is in the old Stratford Grill, a restaurant that has been near the Stratford Hills Shopping Center since the 1950s.

Mendez said that it was too soon to know what the startup costs would be but that they shouldn’t be burdensome because the skeleton of a restaurant was in place.

“This building has good bones,” Mendez said. “We don’t have to invest in a bar, a hood system, a dish room, sinks — they’re all there. We’re just going in and giving it a fresh start.”

DiLauro, who lives a mile from the shopping center, has thought about starting a restaurant on the Southside for some time, he said.

“I live in that neighborhood,” DiLauro said. “We need a good restaurant over there, and we don’t really have anything. It’s all chain restaurants. People want a good place to eat and drink. It would help solidify the neighborhood.”

DiLauro said that when the Stratford Grill closed in January, he set the wheels in motion to open a new restaurant on his own but realized quickly that it wouldn’t work.

“I arranged to see the restaurant with the agent and realized it was too much,” he said. “So I called Manny and told him I wanted to show him something. I didn’t tell him it was a restaurant space.”

DiLauro had worked out loose terms with the shopping center, and as he drove Mendez over to the restaurant, he filled him in on his idea.

“We looked at the place, sat down and talked about it for about 15 minutes,” he said. “Then he looked at me and said, ‘Let’s do it.’ It was pretty spontaneous.”

DiLauro said he saw the restaurant serving the staples: soup, salad, hot and cold sandwiches, burgers, steak and seafood. The pair also wants to make sure the bar is top notch.

“There is just such a void for restaurants out there,” he said. “We’re trying to fill the gap. We want to be the place where people go when they want to drink a martini after work or take their parents to when they’re in town.”

DiLauro said the restaurant would be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner and for brunch on weekends.

Two of the finest beards on the Richmond food scene want to branch out from the Fan, where both own restaurants.

Manny Mendez of Kuba Kuba (right in photo) and Chris DiLauro of Bacchus (left in photo) are partners in a new restaurant in the works on the Southside.

The new venture doesn’t have a name or a menu yet, but it could open this fall on Forest Hill Avenue, Mendez said.

“We joke about calling it ‘Kubaccha,’” Mendez said. “We’re not just going to do Italian, which is what Chris does at Bacchus, and we’re not just going to do Cuban. It will be good, neighborhood food.”

The pair signed a lease on the location at 2805 Hathaway Road in March. The restaurant is in the old Stratford Grill, a restaurant that has been near the Stratford Hills Shopping Center since the 1950s.

Mendez said that it was too soon to know what the startup costs would be but that they shouldn’t be burdensome because the skeleton of a restaurant was in place.

“This building has good bones,” Mendez said. “We don’t have to invest in a bar, a hood system, a dish room, sinks — they’re all there. We’re just going in and giving it a fresh start.”

DiLauro, who lives a mile from the shopping center, has thought about starting a restaurant on the Southside for some time, he said.

“I live in that neighborhood,” DiLauro said. “We need a good restaurant over there, and we don’t really have anything. It’s all chain restaurants. People want a good place to eat and drink. It would help solidify the neighborhood.”

DiLauro said that when the Stratford Grill closed in January, he set the wheels in motion to open a new restaurant on his own but realized quickly that it wouldn’t work.

“I arranged to see the restaurant with the agent and realized it was too much,” he said. “So I called Manny and told him I wanted to show him something. I didn’t tell him it was a restaurant space.”

DiLauro had worked out loose terms with the shopping center, and as he drove Mendez over to the restaurant, he filled him in on his idea.

“We looked at the place, sat down and talked about it for about 15 minutes,” he said. “Then he looked at me and said, ‘Let’s do it.’ It was pretty spontaneous.”

DiLauro said he saw the restaurant serving the staples: soup, salad, hot and cold sandwiches, burgers, steak and seafood. The pair also wants to make sure the bar is top notch.

“There is just such a void for restaurants out there,” he said. “We’re trying to fill the gap. We want to be the place where people go when they want to drink a martini after work or take their parents to when they’re in town.”

DiLauro said the restaurant would be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner and for brunch on weekends.

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jd
jd
10 years ago

Can’t wait! Love to see more restaurants join the scene in Forest Hills / Westover Hills!

Scott
Scott
10 years ago

Having frequented Bacchus and Kuba Kuba for years while living in the fan (and elsewhere) I’m looking forward to giving this new venture a try. I’m sure it will be top notch and I wish Manny and Chris much luck.

I currently live in Forest Hill and it will be great having another nice restaurant close by. Don’t forget about Parkside 🙂

Steven Selinger
Steven Selinger
10 years ago

Thank you so much for bringing this new enterprise to our neighborhood. We look forward to real excellent cuisine so close to our home.

Cameron Jackson
Cameron Jackson
10 years ago

Glad to hear it coming to fruition! Desperately need something like this in the area.

Jenn
Jenn
10 years ago

Glad to hear a good restaurant is in the works for this area! Thanks for recognizing the void, Manny & Chris!

Lynn
Lynn
10 years ago

YAY! Can’t wait!

Lisa L
Lisa L
10 years ago

My husband and I moved to Southside 6 years ago and we are continually crossing the River to head back to our old neighborhood (the Fan) for dinner (Kuba Kuba is a staple for us and we just tried Bacchus for the first time a few months ago and loved it). I’m so excited about this venture. Good luck guys and thanks for thinking about us Southsiders!

Reese B.
Reese B.
10 years ago

I’m always happy to see more restaurants in the area but this belief that all we’ve got here in the southside are chain restaurants is both wrong and insulting. Can’t you just talk about your new restaurant without the snobby attitude that you’re deigning to finally bring good food to the unwashed masses? I’m sure the owners and chefs of the many wonderful, non-chain restaurants in the southside would agree.

Elaine
Elaine
10 years ago

I agree with Reese B. and Do try to not alienate us all at once.

Phil H.
Phil H.
10 years ago

Positive Vibe Cafe is in the same shopping center as the old Stratford Grill, as is Mandarin Palace. I’ve never been to Rock Falls Tavern, but it’s practically next door. At the end of the same shopping center is Paradise Diner and Ruong Tang Thai restaurant is across the parking lot.

“Nothing but chain restaurants”?

kb
kb
10 years ago

For those of you who think the restaurant owners are snobby and insulting to other nearby non-chain restaurants, please remember that only part of their conversation with the reporter is detailed here. It’s easy for comments like that to be taken the wrong way when they are removed from their broader context. You are right to point out the other local restaurants in close proximity. But you are wrong to vilify others for one conversation you weren’t a part of. Reese B.’s comments are far more insulting than anything I read in this article.