For Richmond’s dining scene, 2017 was a year of continued expansion across the region at the hands of local and out-of-town players.
Restaurant groups stay hungry
Several local restaurant groups appeared bullish throughout the year, as many announced new ventures around Richmond.
Chris Tsui, owner of locally based EAT Restaurant Partners, continued to expand his empire, buying into some of the area’s hottest neighborhoods.
This summer, Tsui’s firm purchased the River City Diner at 7 N. 17th St. in Shockoe Bottom, where it plans to rebrand the shuttered restaurant and develop a new concept.
The company also is teaming up with Richmond-based Monument Cos. to open another eatery on the ground floor of 326 E. Broad St. downtown, next to the Greater Richmond Convention Center.
A pizza and beer venue is pending for Tsui’s firm in the Cary Street Station development, which is led by Monument Cos. and Howard Kellman of the Edison Co. And EAT opened Red Salt Chophouse & Sushi, the eighth restaurant in its portfolio, in August at 12221 W. Broad St. in the new GreenGate development.
Johnny Giavos, whose many restaurant holdings include Sidewalk Café, Stella’s and Kuba Kuba, expanded his reach during the year. With partner Chris DiLauro, Giavos is planning Little Nickel, a new spot in the former Cielito Lindo space at 4702 Forest Hill Ave.
Giavos, DiLauro and Manny Mendez of The Galley opened Galley To Go in the former Mandarin Palace space next door to The Galley at 2811 Hathaway Road.
And a Stella’s Grocery location is in the works in Scott’s Addition in the HandCraft building.
Little Saint, the latest addition to RVA Hospitality, which owns Tarrant’s Café, Max’s on Broad and Tarrant’s West, opened in the former Deco Ristorante space at 2901 Park Ave. in the Museum District.
It’s the first restaurant opened by RVA Hospitality owner Frances Santarella, who took over the company last year from her late husband Ted Santarella.
Kevin Healy’s Housepitality Family restaurant group continued its rapid growth, opening Boathouse at City Point in Hopewell and Casa Del Barco at Short Pump Town Center. The group also is planning new Boathouse and Casa Del Barco restaurants at Chesterfield Town Center.
Carytown restaurant fixtures The Daily Kitchen & Bar and West Coast Provisions, both owned by the Richmond Restaurant Group, opened second locations in Short Pump’s GreenGate development.
C-ville shows an appetite for RVA
The pipeline of Charlottesville-based dining establishments continued to flow into Richmond in 2017.
Roots Natural Kitchen announced last fall it will occupy 2,400 square feet in the former Village Café location at 939 W. Grace St. It is scheduled to open in February.
Poke Sushi Bowl announced plans to open its first metro Richmond location in 1,200 square feet being vacated by Mathnasium Math Tutoring and Learning Center in the Downtown Short Pump retail center.
And restaurateurs Ravi Dahiya and Rinku Singh teamed up to open Tulsi Indian Cuisine in the former Spiral Noodle location at 3131-33 W. Cary St. in Carytown – marking their first Richmond venture since launching Royal Indian Restaurant in Charlottesville in 2003.
New in town
New-to-market restaurant chains also gained steam throughout the region.
B. Good, a fast-casual chain serving kale and grain bowls, smoothies and shakes, opened its first restaurant in the region in West Broad Marketplace at 12246 W. Broad St. It’s planning a second location in the Shoppes at Reynolds Crossing in Henrico.
Tiajuana Flats is preparing to launch two locations: at Willow Lawn and West Broad Marketplace.
Two local restaurants proved to be short-lived, each closing after less than a year. The Farmers Market Restaurant & Bar in old town Petersburg was shuttered in May after less than six months.
That left it at the center of an ongoing dispute between its landlords and previous operators, but isn’t stopping it from being revived by a Chester-based family of restaurateurs.
Anchor Bar, a New York-based chain known for its buffalo wings, closed its location at Stony Point Fashion Park after eight months in business. That closure, too, sparked at least one court proceeding.
There is too much interesting food news to fit on this page, so follow this link to catch up on every BizSense restaurant story from the year.