Another out-of-town restaurant chain has begun taking a bite out of Short Pump, as it looks to expand its brand across metro Richmond and beyond.
Florida-based Metro Diner last week opened its first Richmond location at 11525 W. Broad St., a 3,500-square-foot space formerly filled by Capri Jewelers in the Short Pump Shoppes.
It’s the chain’s first foray into Virginia.
Open at 6 a.m., Metro Diner serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, featuring Southern dishes like chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, and salads and sandwiches.
Jason Roach, managing partner of the Short Pump location, said the new restaurant is staffed with about 85 full- and part-time employees.
Founded in Jacksonville, Florida, Metro Diner operates 20 locations throughout its home state and in Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Indiana and now Virginia.
In the next four to five years, Roach said the chain plans to expand to 200 locations across the East Coast. He added Metro Diner could add 10 to 15 restaurants to the Central Virginia market.
And it’s wasted no time staking out its next Richmond outpost.
The diner has signed a lease for a second location at 5625 W. Broad St. in the Libbie Place Shopping Center, in space once occupied by Pronto Pizza.
The firm is working to secure a general contractor for the location and hopes to open in the second quarter of 2017.
Metro Diner joins a list of new-to-market restaurants looking to take a bite out of the area’s competitive dining scene.
Washington, D.C.-based Matchbox American Kitchen + Spirits opened its first location in the region at 11720 W. Broad St. on a site previously home to Chili’s. In a retail strip behind Matchbox, Maryland-based Mezeh Mediterranean Grill also opened its first Richmond location at 11710 W. Broad St.
Cava Grill, a Washington, D.C.-based Mediterranean restaurant brand, is preparing to open in the recently shuttered Applebee’s Bar & Grill at 11780 W. Broad St.