First-time restaurant owner Ian Baptiste is adding some swing to Northside.
He opened Union Bistro & Jazz last month at 2400 Northumberland Ave. near Virginia Union University.
Union Bistro serves African and Caribbean food such as curry chicken, rice and peas, and plantains. It only does dinner service for now but will eventually look to add lunch.
It will feature local jazz acts throughout the week.
Baptiste, who also owns a construction company, said his concept was inspired by the Jazz Corner, a jazz club in Hilton Head, South Carolina, as well as the VMFA’s Thursday jazz evenings and The Hippodrome Theater in Jackson Ward.
Baptiste said he hopes the popularity of the Sugar Shack Donuts less than a mile away, as well as Union Bistro’s proximity to Virginia Union will help the venture succeed.
“We looked at a lot of places around town,” he said. “This is an up-and-coming neighborhood.”
Baptiste said it cost about $5,000 to get Union Bistro open. He’ll be helped in the venture by manager Yasmine Harris. The two have worked together previously in catering event planning, and they hope the following they’ve built will translate to success for Union Bistro.
They’ll have some local competition to contend with in the realm of Caribbean food. Bello’s Lounge is planned to open in Shockoe Bottom, and R&B Caribbean Grill opened in February near VCU.
With Union Bistro up and running in Northside, Baptiste already has ideas for growth for his new concept.
“My hope, by the grace of God, is to open one in Short Pump,” he said.
Hello I wanted to know what days do you have the jazz band. Because me and my husband just had our fifth year anniversary on last friday. And we love to enjoy the atmosphere. Thank you please get back to me soon.