Lakeside bar under new ownership

The former Sonny's Bar & Grill at 5516-5518 Lakewood Ave. has been purchased and re-branded as Bryan Park Bar & Grill. (J. Elias O'Neal)

The former Sonny’s Bar & Grill at 5516-5518 Lakewood Ave. has been purchased and re-branded as Bryan Park Bar & Grill. (J. Elias O’Neal)

A local CFO is making his first foray into the Richmond restaurant business.

Tamir Sherif, chief financial officer of Richmond-based Retail Data LLC, is the new owner of the former Sonny’s Bar & Grill at 5516-5518 Lakeside Ave., and has since renamed the establishment Bryan Park Bar & Grill.

Sherif closed the acquisition Dec. 9. He would not disclose the purchase price for the restaurant. Richard Holden, principal broker and owner of Holden Realty, represented the seller.

Sherif, who says he’s a foodie at heart, has always wanted to own a restaurant.

“I’ve dealt with finances my entire career, and I felt buying this restaurant was a solid investment,” Sherif said. “I’ve lived in Montreal, Toronto…and Austin, and have seen this dynamic before.”

He said he likes the Lakeside area’s proximity to established neighborhoods and recreational spots, like the restaurant’s namesake Bryan Park.

Owner Tamir Sharif and General Manager Stevia Lemons. (J. Elias O'Neal)

Owner Tamir Sharif and General Manager Stevia Lemons. (J. Elias O’Neal)

“This is a solid location,” Sharif said. “You have a very interesting group of young professionals, long-time residents and starter homes in the area. We want them to make this their neighborhood spot.”

Several establishments have occupied the storefront over the past decade, such as LA Grill and McCook’s Bar & Grill, Holden said.

Part of Sherif’s strategy for longevity with Bryan Park Bar & Grill is to capture more daytime customers with more menu items and more nighttime crowds with live bands and karaoke.

“We wanted to add new and fresh items to the menu, like Reuben sandwiches, paninis and mac-n-cheese, and some salads,” Sherif said. “We wanted to add items that people could come in and enjoy for lunch and dinner.”

Plans are also in the works to add more local craft beers and wine to the drink menu.

“We have more changes planned,” Sherif said. “But it’s important that we keep this a neighborhood establishment.”

The interior has undergone some cosmetic changes. Many of the windows that were covered with plywood have been removed to let in more natural light. The walls have lost their green paint, replaced with red paint and black chalkboards to highlight food, drink and entertainment specials.

Sherif will continue his day job at Retail Data, a Richmond-based firm that provides competitive pricing data for stores and e-commerce sites–letting general manager Stevia Lemon run the new restaurant. Sherif said he will oversee the finances.

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