Five years after rolling into the local food scene with a food truck, Goatacado is setting up permanent residence in The Fan.
The venture, known for its quinoa bowls, is putting the finishing touches on new digs at 1823 W. Main St. and is targeting an early October opening, said co-founder Ian Newell.
Newell said the move into The Fan has been about a year in the making. Work to the site is being completed by Newell and chef Nick Kroko.
Much of the 1,500-square-foot interior is dedicated to the kitchen – a point of reference to Newell’s mission to make Goatocado’s first brick-and-mortar location an educational experience for its patrons.
“The kitchen is going to be the focal point,” Newell said. “I want people to see and learn about where and how their food is prepared, and that starts with where their food is prepared.”
The new location will also serve as Goatocado’s nerve center for its other operations, which Newell said will remain intact despite opening a new permanent restaurant.
Goatocado operates a small restaurant inside the Carytown Bike Company at 3112 W. Cary St.
It also runs a food truck and tent at the Martin Agency on Fridays in Shockoe Slip, and on Thursdays at Hardywood brewery and Capital One’s offices in Glen Allen. On Saturday mornings, Goatcoado sets up at the South of the James and St. Stephens farmer’s markets, and caters events and travels to festivals.
“We’re still going to operate in those locations,” Newell said. “Having the restaurant will give a place to prep our food for our events, and our other operations.”
Newell said he looked at a number of locations across the city before settling on The Fan, including Church Hill and Carytown.
Before becoming Goatocado’s headquarters, the hanger-like structure was constructed in 1950 as a quonset hut, which served mostly as industrial storage space.
“The proximity to VCU and being in The Fan…this was a good location for us to be,” Newell said.
The site was foreclosed on in 2014, according to city records. Newell said Goatocado is leasing the building from Richmond-based W. E. Bowman Construction.
With more space, Newell said Goatocado plans to introduce a number of new menu options, including an expansive drink menu with beers from area breweries, along with its signature drinks: pomegranate ginger ale and mint-lime iced tea.
“We’re installing the 16-tap line ourselves,” Newell said. “We want to provide as many options at this location, since this is going to be our home base.”
Goatocado also will sell coffee from Richmond-based Lamplighter Roasting Company, and kombucha juice from Ashville, North Carolina-based Buchi Kombucha.
While still serving up quinoa bowls and mac-n-cheese for lunch and dinner, Newell said the restaurant plans to incorporate a build-a-bowl concept – where customers can choose a quinoa or noodle base for the bowl, their choice of vegetables and fruits, and other add-ons that now include chicken from Shenandoah Valley Organic in Harrisonburg. The restaurant also will bake naan flat bread, Newell said.
“We don’t want to limit ourselves to just vegetarian options,” Newell said. “We’re still going to create those same bowls without meat, but we want to create an experience for everyone.”
Goatocado will incorporate indoor and patio seating, where Newell plans to grow wildflowers and herbs such as mint and cilantro.
Establishing a home base for Goatocado allow the restaurant ample room to grow.
“Mobile operations are a tough business model,” Newell said. “We want to make it as easy as possible for customers to get good fresh food…and having a restaurant location helps us achieve that mission.”