Shockoe Bottom restaurateurs plan new venture next door

From left: Crump, Epps and Minter are behind a new restaurant and event venue coming to Shockoe Bottom. Photos by Michael Thompson.

From left: Micah Crump, Tamica Epps and Shawn Minter are behind a new restaurant and event venue coming to Shockoe Bottom. Photos by Michael Thompson.

The owners of a Shockoe Bottom bar and restaurant are taking more space in the neighborhood.

Shawn Minter and Tamica Epps plan to open Loft 17, an event venue and restaurant at 1717 E. Franklin St. The pair said they have a lease for the 4,000-square-foot property, formerly the Lounge Bar and Grille, and will look to open next month.

Loft 17 will be available to rent out for various events, such as wedding rehearsals, birthdays, retirements and corporate functions. The space will also be open to the public as a restaurant Thursday through Sunday for dining in and drink specials.

The owners hope to open the space for dining and events next month.

The owners hope to open the space for dining and events next month.

Minter and Epps are co-owners of Shockoe Whiskey and Wine, which opened next door in August in the former Julep’s space at 1719 E. Franklin St. They both have a background in organizing events around town.

Minter said he thinks the “ambience of downtown” will make Loft 17 an attractive place to hold socials for event organizers.

“The Bottom is coming,” he said. “The residential population is rising.”

Minter also owns an events operation called The 29th at 29 N. 17th St, and Epps works full-time in human resources for McKesson. Shockoe Whiskey and Wine’s chef, Micah Crump, will also do the cooking at Loft 17.

Minter wouldn’t say how much it will cost to open Loft 17 but said it is self-financed.

The number of restaurants in Shockoe Bottom is on the rise. Castanea recently opened on East Main Street, where a pizza restaurant and bakery are also in the works.

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