Scouting report guides restaurateur’s call

Home Team Grill owner Garland Taylor is opening Urban Tavern. (Photos by Michael Thompson)

Home Team Grill owner Garland Taylor is opening Urban Tavern. (Photos by Michael Thompson)

For his fourth Richmond restaurant, the owner of a local sports bar chain is trying something new.

Home Team Grill owner Garland Taylor has leased the former Shackelford’s restaurant space at 10496 Ridgefield Pkwy., where he plans to open his new concept, the Urban Tavern, early next year.

The 4,200-square-foot space is in the Gleneagles Shopping Center.

Taylor owns three Home Team Grill locations. The first opened in 2004 in the West End. A Fan location followed in 2007, and expansion to Fredericksburg came in 2011.

The restaurant is launching in the former Shackelford’s space.

The restaurant is launching in the former Shackelford’s space.

Blackwood Development Company, the owner of the shopping center, reached out to Taylor after Shackelford’s closed in October 2012. With a sports bar already in the shopping center, Blackwood asked if Taylor would be willing to bring in a new concept. After initially declining, Taylor came around.

“I remembered the success the group had before,” Taylor said. “The location was proven, and I’ve got the infrastructure to add this to the lineup.”

Taylor sent 140 surveys to people who knew the area and the property to get some feedback on what kind of restaurant he should open.

“My intention early on was to open a gastropub,” Taylor said. “After kicking the tires and surveying people, the conclusion was maybe that’s not where I need to be.”

Instead, Taylor plans to create a comfortable tavern that has trendy decor and menu items.

Taylor used wood reclaimed from the former Shackelford’s interior for paneling, put in concrete floors and a concrete bar top, and has plans to upgrade the patio.

He wouldn’t say what it has cost him to launch the Urban Tavern. He is using personal savings and reinvestment money to finance it.

There will be 24 craft beers on tap and domestic bottles available. Taylor said he is still working out how he wants to price the menu.

Although he has a new venture, Taylor is far from finished with his sports bar concept.

The Home Team Grill got its federal trademark July 5, protecting the brand from being copied by others.

“That is the critical component I needed before I move into franchising and other markets,” Taylor said. “You got to make sure you got your systems in place before you tackle that tiger.”

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Mary Lee Schultz
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Looking forward to seeing the new concept take shape.

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