A local restaurant chain has spread to the Southside.
Tazza Kitchen opened July 14 at 1244 Alverser Plaza in Midlothian. It’s the chain’s fifth location since owners John Haggai, Jeff Grant and John Davenport opened the first Tazza in Short Pump in 2013, which was followed by expansions in Arlington, North Carolina and South Carolina.
The restaurants sell Mediterranean and Mexican fare cooked with wood-fired ovens. Haggai said he and his partners saw an opening in the restaurant market south of the James River.
“We felt that the Southside was an underserved market,” Haggai said. “A lot of our Short Pump customers come from that part of town.”
The space was formerly home to Belle Vie, which closed last year, and Bookbinder’s Grill prior to that. At 4,600 square feet, the space is Tazza’s biggest yet.
“There’s a lot more elbow room than in Short Pump,” Haggai said. “We had to gut it and start over.”
While the venture may have multiple locations, Haggai said the brand’s goal is for customers to not feel like they are at a chain.
“By definition, we’re a small independent chain now,” Haggai said. “I think our cuisine and our style of service feels nothing like a chain.”
Haggai would not say how much it cost to open the new location. Bethesda-based StreetSense designed the space, and Virginia Beach-based Rigenberg Construction did the renovations. Locally based Surface Architectural Supply, Vanguard Woodworks, and SG Designs did the interior design work.
Haggai said they’ll begin offering private dining services at the Southside Tazza in September to allow customers to rent a closed-off room in the restaurant. And the company is considering expanding its Short Pump location.