Restaurant owner adds DC flair to downtown hotel project

Crews work on renovating the future Hilton property downtown. Photos by Michael Thompson.

Crews work on renovating the future Hilton property downtown. Photos by Michael Thompson.

A Washington, D.C. restaurateur and night club owner plans to add two more options to the downtown dining scene – including a restaurant with a 50-foot onyx bar.

In November, Kunal Shah plans to open Belle and James at 700 E. Main St. downtown. The 2,600-square-foot space is the on the ground floor of an 18-story office tower that will be converted into two Hilton-branded hotels.

Belle and James will be part restaurant and part cocktail lounge, and its menu will have different takes on traditional American foods. Shah has a five-year lease on the space.

Neil Amin of Shamin Hotels, which bought the downtown property last year, said the hotels should be open by July. Amin and Shah are family friends.

“That area is lacking a high-end concept,” Amin said. “The concept Mr. Shah is bringing will complement the hotels.”

But Belle and James isn’t the only concept Shah is bringing to the downtown property.

He has a second five-year lease on another 1,000 square feet in the hotel building where he plans to open Chocolatte. The cafe will sell coffee, breakfast, lunch and chocolates from Richmond’s Chocolates by Kelly.

Belle and James will open on the ground floor of the office tower at 700 E. Main St.

Belle and James and Chocolatte will open on the ground floor of the office tower at 700 E. Main St.

“I saw the building and fell in love with it,” Shah said. “The food is very competitive down here. I want to introduce something with that D.C. touch.”

Shah wouldn’t say what it will cost to get his cafe and restaurant open but said revenue from his ventures in Washington, D.C. are financing the move south. Those ventures consist of a nightclub called Kabin Lounge, a speakeasy called The Sheppard and a Karma Beauty Lounge salon.

Lee Design and Interiors of Alexandria designed the downtown spaces and is handling their construction. A 52-foot onyx bar is planned for Belle and James.

Appealing to locals is a priority for Shah, but he said he also envisions a steady stream of hotel guests.

“You can travel, stay in the hotel and try this restaurant,” Shah said.

Shah said opening Belle and James before the hotels gives the restaurant two opening dates: one for the locals and another one for hotel guests.

“It’s a good year to get feedback from the locals,” Shah said. “We have the freedom to adjust before the hotel opens.”

Crews work on renovating the future Hilton property downtown. Photos by Michael Thompson.

Crews work on renovating the future Hilton property downtown. Photos by Michael Thompson.

A Washington, D.C. restaurateur and night club owner plans to add two more options to the downtown dining scene – including a restaurant with a 50-foot onyx bar.

In November, Kunal Shah plans to open Belle and James at 700 E. Main St. downtown. The 2,600-square-foot space is the on the ground floor of an 18-story office tower that will be converted into two Hilton-branded hotels.

Belle and James will be part restaurant and part cocktail lounge, and its menu will have different takes on traditional American foods. Shah has a five-year lease on the space.

Neil Amin of Shamin Hotels, which bought the downtown property last year, said the hotels should be open by July. Amin and Shah are family friends.

“That area is lacking a high-end concept,” Amin said. “The concept Mr. Shah is bringing will complement the hotels.”

But Belle and James isn’t the only concept Shah is bringing to the downtown property.

He has a second five-year lease on another 1,000 square feet in the hotel building where he plans to open Chocolatte. The cafe will sell coffee, breakfast, lunch and chocolates from Richmond’s Chocolates by Kelly.

Belle and James will open on the ground floor of the office tower at 700 E. Main St.

Belle and James and Chocolatte will open on the ground floor of the office tower at 700 E. Main St.

“I saw the building and fell in love with it,” Shah said. “The food is very competitive down here. I want to introduce something with that D.C. touch.”

Shah wouldn’t say what it will cost to get his cafe and restaurant open but said revenue from his ventures in Washington, D.C. are financing the move south. Those ventures consist of a nightclub called Kabin Lounge, a speakeasy called The Sheppard and a Karma Beauty Lounge salon.

Lee Design and Interiors of Alexandria designed the downtown spaces and is handling their construction. A 52-foot onyx bar is planned for Belle and James.

Appealing to locals is a priority for Shah, but he said he also envisions a steady stream of hotel guests.

“You can travel, stay in the hotel and try this restaurant,” Shah said.

Shah said opening Belle and James before the hotels gives the restaurant two opening dates: one for the locals and another one for hotel guests.

“It’s a good year to get feedback from the locals,” Shah said. “We have the freedom to adjust before the hotel opens.”

Your subscription has expired. Renew now by choosing a subscription below!

For more informaiton, head over to your profile.

Profile


SUBSCRIBE NOW

TERMS OF SERVICE:

ALL MEMBERSHIPS RENEW AUTOMATICALLY. YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR A 1 YEAR MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL AT THE RATE IN EFFECT AT THAT TIME UNLESS YOU CANCEL YOUR MEMBERSHIP BY LOGGING IN OR BY CONTACTING [email protected]

ALL CHARGES FOR MONTHLY OR ANNUAL MEMBERSHIPS ARE NONREFUNDABLE.

EACH MEMBERSHIP WILL ONLY FUNCTION ON UP TO 3 MACHINES. ACCOUNTS ABUSING THAT LIMIT WILL BE DISCONTINUED.




Return to Homepage

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
2 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
7 years ago

Four new hotels underway in downtown Richmond and the timing is excellent with revenues up 7% per room this year. We need more hotels and tourism.

Matthew Davey
Matthew Davey
7 years ago

Hotels need to replace the apartments and condos on the Canal Walk so that tourism and restaurants can thrive there.