An institution in the Fan bar scene has a new owner.
Walied Sanie and James Baldwin last week bought Avalon Restaurant & Bar at 2619 W. Main St., and they plan to spend about $50,000 to spruce up the joint.
“It’s been here for 19 years. It’s definitely a fixture in the area,” Sanie said. “We plan on moving forward with the remodeling, getting it back up to where it needs to be.”
Sanie said that, in addition to the renovations, he’s working with chef Jen Mindell to craft a new menu.
“She’s an incredibly talented chef, and I think right now she’s underutilized at Avalon,” he said. “I want to be able to show off her talents and the eclectic style she brings.”
Mindell was nominated this year for a Richmond Magazine Elby award for “Culinary Rising Star.”
Sanie, a VCU graduate, most recently worked as an operating partner at BlackFinn American Saloon in Bethesda, Md., before moving back to Richmond. His partner also has a background in hospitality but is now a contractor.
They plan to keep the restaurant open during the renovations.
Sanie and Baldwin bought Avalon from owner Peter Harahan, who opened it in November 1993 and who still owns the neighboring Bamboo. The partners are leasing the restaurant’s space. Nathan Hughes and Rich Holden of Bandazian & Holden brokered the deal.
Harahan said that Avalon struggled during the recession and that he was focusing his energy on Bamboo.
“I’ve been in it for 20 years, and it was time to move on,” Harahan said. “I’m happy to see that Avalon will continue on in the Fan after me.”
I’m so behind. Where’s Q now? She was what defined Avalon to me.
So exciting! I pretty much started eating at Avalon just for Jen’s vegan sandwiches. I always wished the atmosphere was a little better so I’d spend more time there.
Hopefully the food will get good again. Bad food is what stopped me from going back