Two prominent Richmond restaurateurs have unleashed the power of the beard on Southside.
On Oct. 22, Chris DiLauro of Bacchus and Manny Mendez of Kuba Kuba opened the Galley in the Stratford Hills Shopping Center. They’ve been packed almost every night since.
“We’ve been thrilled with the numbers so far,” Mendez said. “We’re going to open up for lunch on Wednesday, I think.”
The restaurant is not currently open for lunch.
BizSense reported in May that the two restaurateurs, who both sport long beards, had signed a lease on the old Stratford Grill, which closed last year after decades in business.
Mendez and DiLauro hired Virginia Commonwealth University alumnus and artist Jeff Killen to remodel the interior, building the restaurant’s booths and decor by hand.
“We had to completely revamp it,” he said. “It had been vacant for six months when we took it over, and before that it had been crushed.”
In May, Mendez said the restaurant’s menu wouldn’t be just Cuban or Mediterranean. At the Galley, you can find Kuba Kuba favorites such as the Cuban sandwich and paella, and there are Mediterranean touches such as the lentil burger topped with tzatziki and feta cheese.
Most sandwiches run from $8 to $10, and entrees run from $12 to $20. The beer selection draws heavily from the Virginia craft scene, with selections from Devil’s Backbone, Hardywood, Blue Mountain, AleWerks and Wild Wolf.
Mendez said it was likely the menu would be tweaked in the coming weeks as they figure out what works and what doesn’t.
“It’s still trial and error,” Mendez said. “We’ve got waitresses who haven’t worked a full shift yet, cooks who still haven’t worked a shift – they’ve been trained but haven’t actually done it yet. It’s still very early on.”