Ted Santarella is ready to take on the restaurant chains in the West End.
The Richmond restaurateur is set to open Tarrant’s West at 11129 Three Chopt Road on Dec. 8. It’s Santarella’s third local restaurant in eight years, joining the original Tarrant’s Cafe and Max’s on Broad downtown.
“People tell me they don’t like going downtown or going out to chains,” Santarella said. “I really want to go against the chains. They don’t offer local fare that people want.”
Santarella, 57, spent $1.35 million to transform the old Grandpa Eddie’s Alabama Ribs & BBQ into Tarrant’s West. The 6,700-square-foot restaurant and bar can seat 236 and there’s room for another 60 outside.
Renovations on the property took 10 months and used financing from First Capital Bank. Jeremy Lehman led the construction, and Santarella designed the space himself.
The crystal chandeliers, landscape paintings, mosaic tile and tin roof at Tarrant’s West will be familiar to patrons of the original Tarrant’s. And the menu and postprandial mints are also the same as those in the downtown location.
“We make our living one plate at a time,” Santarella said. “The menu at Tarrant’s has proved to be popular.”
Santarella isn’t the only restaurateur who has seen opportunity away from the downtown skyline. In November, Joe Sparatta of Heritage and Lee Gregory of The Roosevelt opened a new concept in the Stony Point Shopping Center on the Southside.
Still, the currents seem to flow both ways across the James. A pair of Southside restaurateurs is taking a gamble on downtown restaurant property near VCU.
In addition to lunch and dinner, Tarrant’s West will also do takeout and delivery, as well as weekend brunch. Santarella said 20 percent of his sales at the downtown Tarrant’s come from delivery and takeout.
Prices at the West End location will be similar to those found downtown, where entrees run up to about $30.
“My food is customer-driven,” Santarella said. “If you give people quality food, they’ll be willing to pay for it.”
Patiently waiting for Tarrant’s West to open. I love the food at both of their other locations, but rarely got to go there because of the downtown parking pain. Opening Week, I will be there.
This is a terrific operator and will make a significant splash in the dining scene in the West End. Congratulations to Ted and Colliers International brokers Susan Jones and Statia Gibson for their roles in making this a destination dining location.