Jerilyn Smith-Lundy knows a thing or two about the late-night crowd.
She has spent more than a decade working as a bail bondswoman and fugitive recovery agent – and living the irregular hours that come with the territory.
And after her many drives for work through Shockoe Bottom, Smith-Lundy said she saw a “for rent” sign on North 18th Street that sparked an idea for what she hopes will be a haven for her fellow nighthawks.
Smith-Lundy plans to open the Liquid Cafe bar and restaurant in a two-story, 1,500-square-foot space at 4 N. 18th St. in October.
It’ll be her first venture in the restaurant industry, and she said she wants the bar and restaurant to be a place where people can enjoy watching sports without the rowdy crowd and stay as late as 3 a.m.
“People forget about the industries that work after normal hours,” Smith-Lundy said. “Not everyone works 9 to 5.”
The Liquid Cafe will sell fried and grilled items such as seafood and chicken for lunch and dinner. The top floor will have sofas and coffee tables and the downstairs will have tables and a bar.
“Sometimes you just want somewhere intimate, but you don’t want everyone around you,” she said.
Liquid Cafe would join the flow of new restaurants in the Bottom, including Shockoe Whiskey and Wine, which opened in August in the former Julep’s space, another new venture from the same owners next door, and Castanea, which opened recently on East Main Street.
“I like what’s happening in the Shockoe Bottom area,” Smith-Lundy said. “There are both negative and positive changes.”
About 11 employees will be hired to help Smith-Lundy run the restaurant as she continues her full-time job in bail bonds.
She said the name for The Liquid Cafe was picked for its associations with movement and tranquility.
“Liquid is something that is flowing,” she said. “Any business that I’ve put myself into, I look for longevity and growth.”