A New Yorker is bringing a taste — and the pace — of the Big Apple to downtown Richmond.
Owner Mike Hussein will open the Times Square restaurant on Fourth Street next week in the building that until April housed Bill’s Barbecue. Hussein said he hopes to bring a New York vibe to his diner.
“The way we’re going to work here will be so fast you’ll feel like you’re in New York City,” Hussein said. “The only thing that’s going to be missing is the subway outside.”
Times Square is tentatively set to open July 10, said Johnny Farag, Hussein’s cousin and vice president of the restaurant.
The diner will be the ninth installment of a restaurant Hussein’s father opened about 17 years ago in Times Square itself. Hussein owns eight other Times Square restaurants, all in New York City.
Hussein, 41, will be the head chef at Times Square. He is a career restaurateur and has been cooking professionally for about 19 years.
He is opening the restaurant with the help of his cousins Johnny and Jason Farag. Jason, who also owns the Mediterranean Bistro in the Fan, will serve as president of Times Square.
Richmond’s version of Times Square looks just like its New York counterparts, Johnny Farag said, with one exception: A mural on the back wall depicts the Richmond skyline instead of New York’s skyscrapers.
The menu is also unchanged and mainly features American dishes with some Italian and Mediterranean offerings.
The staple dish will the “Famous Philly Steak and Cheese,” made famous, Jason Farag said, because Times Square uses thinly sliced rib-eye steak instead of frozen Steak-umm meat.
Most entrees will cost about $7, with fries or chips and a drink included.
Hussein has about $52,000 invested in the restaurant. He is borrowing the money from Johnny Farag. He moved into the space about a month ago and has added new sheetrock, paint and kitchen equipment.
The restaurant will operate from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at first, but Hussein plans to turn it into a 24-hour business, like his eight other diners. Johnny Farag hopes to see some of the hustle and bustle of New York business coming through the diner.
“The motto is going to be, ‘Pick up the pace, pick up your taste,’” he said.