A Carytown restaurant has shut down after seven years, and it took less than a month for a new venture to step forward with plans for the property.
Mezzanine closed Sept. 26 at 3433 W. Cary St. Owner and chef Todd Johnson opened the restaurant in 2008. He said its early popularity seemed to wane as time went on.
“We had a good run in the beginning,” Johnson said. “(Closing) was just a business decision that I had to make.”
Mezzanine’s 1,600-square-foot space is being taken over by first-time restaurant owner Andrew Friel and a group of investors who plan to open Home Sweet Home this month. They bought Mezzanine’s equipment and fixtures in a deal brokered by Nathan Hughes of Sperity Real Estate Ventures.
“They put up a really affordable price,” Friel said.
Home Sweet Home will strive for a laid-back atmosphere with a few TVs on the walls and fanciful grilled cheese on the menu.
“It’s a place for friends and family,” Friel said. “We’ll be open for lunch and dinner every day.”
Friel, who has a background in bartending in Washington, D.C., said he hopes the restaurant’s location won’t prove too far off the main drag for customers and that an emphasis on service will help keep patrons returning.
“I’m a little wary about where we are going in as far away from the Boulevard as we are,” he said. “I like that Garden Grove (brewery) is nearby.”
In addition to Garden Grove, Home Sweet Home will open near Nacho Mama’s, McDonald’s, Water Coastal Kitchen, and plenty of Carytown retail spots.
Friel hopes Home Sweet Home gains a following and eventually expands if things go well.
“I don’t want to jinx myself,” Friel said. “We’re really taking a see-how-it-goes mentality.”
Despite Mezzanine’s closing, which was first reported by Richmond Magazine, Johnson isn’t leaving the food business. He said he has been hired as executive chef at Ellwood Thompson’s.