Former Black Sheep owner dives back into Richmond dining scene

Swan Dive opened Monday at 805 N. Davis Ave. in the Fan. (J. Elias O’Neal)

After a brief hiatus, a local restaurateur is back with a new venture in the Fan.

Kevin Roberts and his wife Rachelle on Monday opened Swan Dive in the former Betty on Davis space at 805 N. Davis Ave.

Swan Dive makes its debut seven months after Roberts closed Black Sheep, a restaurant he ran for nine years at 905 W. Marshall St. in Carver before closing it last fall.

That space has since been leased to another restaurant user, Cobra Cabana, which is planning a summer debut.

With the look and feel of an underground Parisian bar and restaurant, Swan Dive is a departure from Black Sheep, serving Southern comfort cuisines with French flair.

Menu items include its La Belle Nicoise salad served with eggplant, anchovies, boiled egg, green beans, olives, potatoes, capers, tomatoes and lemon vinaigrette; and its Le President Croquet Monsieur, served with gruyere, ham and béchamel on French bread.

“We wanted to keep the concept simple,” Kevin Roberts said. “This is a menu that we think people are really going to embrace.”

Swan Dive will grind its own pork and ground its own chuck roast, which is used in its Jacques In A Box dish – where the ground chuck is cooked to order with a choice of cheese or chicken liver mousse.

For dessert the menu will include the Under the Cherry Spoon dish, a frozen chocolate mousse with spice cookies, chocolate ganache and brandied cherries. The booze menu will have beer, wine and several mixed drinks, including the Napoleon Complex, served with Templeton Rye, Pierrce Ferrand cognac, Benedictine, Dolin Sweet vermouth, Angostura bitters, Peychauds bitters and orange peel.

Roberts will serve as the executive chef, and Bob Harr of the former Ginter Parked food truck is joining him in the kitchen.

“I was his dishwasher when he was at Bamboo Café,” Roberts said of Harr.

Added Harr: “Now the student is teaching the teacher.

“We’ve known each other for about 30 years. I worked with him at Black Sheep, so when he decided to launch Swan Dive, I was given the opportunity to come here,” Harr said.

Swan Dive seats about 60 patrons, including eight at its bar.

The restaurant opens at 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday for lunch. Dinner service, which is scheduled to launch Wednesday, will begin at 5:30 p.m. daily.

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