Quesadillas coming to Jackson Ward, but RG3 eats first

Photos by Michael Thompson.

Bodillaz will open another location on North 2nd Street a few doors down from Thai Corner. Photo by Michael Thompson.

A local restaurateur and developer is making two big investments this summer with hungry office workers and football fans in mind.

Bert Terranova, owner of Bodillaz on West Broad Street, is headed to Jackson Ward to open a second location for his restaurant’s brand of Americanized quesadillas, Buffalo wings and other fare.

Terranova is buying his way into a busy stretch of Jackson Ward’s North 2nd Street. Bilder and Terranova Development, a company he runs with Josh Bilder, bought the property at 321 N. 2nd St. It paid $120,000 for the space in a deal that closed last month.

An August opening is planned for Bodillaz new 700-square-foot space, which was previously home to Sweet Peaz Bistro.

The new space is smaller than Bodillaz 1,600-square-foot location near Virginia Commonwealth University. But setting up in Jackson Ward gives Terranova a spot to appeal more to nearby office workers and try to capitalize on downtown delivery and takeout.

The Bodillaz truck will join the lineup at this year's Washington Redskins Training Camp. Courtesy of Bodillaz.

The Bodillaz truck will join the lineup at this year’s Washington Redskins Training Camp. Courtesy of Bodillaz.

“Bodillaz on Broad is more a VCU and college spot,” Terranova said. “Now that we’re closer to downtown, we’re going to have more of a professional, formal setting.”

It joins a growing number of eateries along North 2nd Street. Thai Corner, Ándale, Slideways Bistro and Big Herm’s Kitchen also operate along that street.

Lucy’s, catering more to the dinner crowd, opened late last year at 404 N. 2nd St.

“We’re trying to create a little food court on that whole strip,” Terranova said.

Jackson Ward isn’t the only food court where Terranova hopes to gain traction.

Bodillaz operates a food truck that will be among those operating later this month at the Washington Redskins Training Camp Food Court on West Leigh Street.

Terranova applied last month and paid a $2,500 fee to participate.

For Terranova, the cost of entry is worth it if he can conjure up enough sales and introduce more people to Bodillaz.

“It’s definitely a premium price,” he said. “As one truck, it might not make sense, but when you have other locations around town…it’s almost like a marketing tactic. We further promote business, promote our brand and get more customers.”

Carytown Burgers and Fries, Buz and Ned’s Real Barbecue, Red Eye Cookie Co., The Boardwalk Hot Dogs, and Opa Food Truck will join Bodillaz at the three-week training camp.

Lesa Williams of SMG Management, the firm that manages the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center at 2401 W. Leigh St., said 14 other local food vendors applied for a spot this summer.

Once Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and company leave town, Terranova will return his focus to his brick-and-mortar operations.

Bert Terranova

Bert Terranova

Terranova, 35, opened the first Bodillaz in 2009 at 916 W. Broad St. near VCU’s Monroe Park campus.

Bilder said he and Terranova used money from their nearby homebuilding activities in Carver to purchase the new Bodillaz space.

“I think there’s a lot of opportunity in the neighborhood,” said Bilder, who is also converting a rundown theater in Church Hill into apartments.

Snipes Properties represented the sellers in the deal, Windsor and Debra Edwards, according to a city record. The couple owned Sweat Peaz Bistro.

Terranova said he got into the food industry after the economy took a hit in 2008. He was inspired by his family’s experience with opening diners in the Northeast.

“Once the market slowed down as far as housing, I decided to open a restaurant at VCU,” Terranova said.

Along with its food truck, Bodillaz also operates a cart and a trailer around town. And Terranova said he wants to start franchising next year.

“It pretty much took me five years to get established,” he said. “I’d love to branch out into different surrounding areas, maybe Henrico, Chesterfield or Hanover.”

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7 Comments on "Quesadillas coming to Jackson Ward, but RG3 eats first"

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Roger Smith

I attend VCU and eat at Bodillaz at least two to three times a week. The food is great. Bodillaz staff is always friendly. Bodillaz will make a fantastic addition to Jackson Ward.

David Martin

Got to hand it to Bert Terranova and Josh Bilder for thinking of this great idea to expand into Jackson Ward. I’m a out of town visitor and love Bodillaz, the food is awesome as well as the staff because they are so helpful and they prepare the food so well. I love the DJ at the West Broad Street location, he plays your favorite tunes. I would recommend this restaurant to locals as well as out of town guests.

Luke Neal

I love the food and atmosphere of Bodillaz. My friends and I are stoked that another is coming even closer to Shockoe Bottom!

Kathleen Morgan

This is AWESOME. I really hope more of these restaurants expand their hours and open on the weekends, as opposed to 11-3 M-F. I know Andale did open for the weekend the bike races were here–stopped in and it was great.

Ray Russo

Awesome establishment. Great job Mr.Terranova keep plugging away all the hard work pays off.

Bert Terranova

Thank you all for the love and support. We look forward to servicing VCU, VUU and the downtown Richmond area for years to come.