A new arrival at a notable downtown property is set to add some more fuel to the fire of Richmond’s dining scene.
Lucca Enoteca Pizzeria will open at 525 E. Grace St. on the ground floor of the Berry Burk building near CenterStage.
Owners Mike and Maria Oseguera, who also own Maya Mexican Grill and Tequileria in Short Pump, plan to open the restaurant in August. They have a 10-year lease on the 3,500-square-foot space that has sat vacant since 525 at The Berry Burk shut down a year ago.
Lucca will serve pizzas made on a coal-fire oven, as well as traditional Italian entrees. A wine bar is also planned for the space, which can seat 135 patrons.
The Osegueras opened their Short Pump restaurant at 4348 Pouncey Tract Road in 2012. Mike Oseguera said he’s long wanted to open an Italian venture since he worked at Patsy’s Pizza, which has been in business in New York since 1933.
“I really want to get back to that,” Oseguera said of pizza making. “Maya is doing well for us, so I wanted to do something else.”
The 525 had been owned by Tom Haas, Taylor Hasty and Ted and Jim Ukrop. It closed after two years in business.
The Ukrops own the Berry Burk building, formerly home to clothing retailer The Berry Burk Co.
“We wanted someone who was going to be there for a while – not just a special-occasion place,” Ted Ukrop said in an interview.
According to a release from Shockoe Co., which handled the leasing on the restaurant space, the property was toured by the who’s who of Richmond’s dining scene. The names included Joe Sparatta of Heritage and Southbound, Travis Croxton of Rappahannock Oyster Co., Josh and Jessica Bufford of Toast and Estilo and Chris Tsui of EAT Restaurant Partners, the brokerage said.
Oseguera would not say how much it will cost to open Lucca but said he and his wife would seek financing from a bank.
Oseguera said he hopes to attract both families and the young professionals that have helped fuel Richmond’s dining scene. The success of Grace Street eateries like Rappahannock and Pasture, along with other downtown spots like Graffiato and Max’s on Broad, persuaded the Osegueras that Lucca could succeed in the area.
“I think the exposure will be much better,” Oseguera said when comparing the downtown market to Short Pump. “I’d really like to be part of making Grace Street a destination area.”