A local restaurant group that’s become a sought-after tenant for area malls is preparing to drop anchor with its newest seafood concept.
Island Shrimp Co., from HOUSEpitality Family, which owns the Boathouse and Casa Del Barco, will open Sept. 17 at Chesterfield Towne Center. It’s the first of two new restaurants the company is opening near the mall’s Macy’s concourse facing Huguenot Road.
The island-inspired restaurant is the third branded concept the group has launched and its seventh overall. It operates Casa Del Barco in Short Pump Town Center and on the Canal Walk in Richmond; and The Boathouse restaurant in Rocketts Landing, Short Pump Town Center, Midlothian and City Point in Hopewell.
The company was founded by Kevin Healy. His daughter Paige Healy, the group’s chief creative officer, spent several years imagining and designing the 7,500-square-foot Island Shrimp Co. space that was built from scratch.
“We’ve been working on this concept for three years,” Paige Healy said. “I feel like I’ve been hungry for this for three years, waiting on this to come to fruition. It is here and I’m very excited.”
Years before the group broke ground at the Chesterfield mall, the Island Shrimp Co. brand was in the making at The Boathouse at Sunday Park in Chesterfield’s Brandermill community. Several locals that frequented the restaurant referred to it as the “Shrimp Shack,” Paige said.
Looking to take the concept further, Paige, along with the group’s concept chef T.J. Borawski, and beverage director Michael Avery, explored recipes and cocktails from the world’s tropical regions, including Hawaii and Southeast Asia.
But the restaurant’s main focus is in its name: shrimp.
Using an order card, patrons can order unlimited quantities of different types of shrimp — coconut, garlic, jerk and habanero flavored — by the half pound.
Diners also will find Cuban spring rolls that are made with roasted pork, Black Forest ham, Swiss cheese dill pickle and guava mustard. Also, there’s the Portuguese hot dog, made with guava mustard and mango relish pickled red onion that’s served on a bun made by Richmond-based Flour Garden Bakery.
Several of the dishes can be paired with cocktails, beer and wine options at Island Shrimp. These include passion fruit, mango or blue Hawaiian pina coladas. Its own ISCO Hurricane includes light rum, Barbados Rum, house-made hurricane mix, bitters and a dash of grenadine.
That tropical feeling
To make patrons feel more like they are in the tropics instead of the inner-ring suburbs of Richmond, diners can upgrade their drinks to “Island Style” for $7, with their cocktail served in a coconut or pineapple.
“It’s just a fun way for people to enjoy themselves,” Paige said. “We just want people to have a good time.”
Island Shrimp Co. seats about 270 people, Paige said. The restaurant has several seating areas that include a full rooftop bar and deck, and an “Aloha Bridge” that will connect Island Shrimp Co. to its Casa del Barco at the mall.
Chesterfield’s first Casa del Barco is under construction next door and looks to open in mid-October, about a month after Island Shrimp, Paige said. Both restaurants are near a Red Robin, and all three face Huguenot.
“People will be able to come here, cross over the Aloha Bridge and grab a drink from Casa del Barco to bring back here,” Paige said. “If someone wants a margarita, they can cross the bridge to the other restaurant to get it.”
Island Shrimp Co. was designed by Richmond-based Walter Parks Architects and will employ about 125 people.
The restaurant will be open for lunch, dinner and brunch. Weekday lunch is set to launch Sept. 23. Brunch will kick off around Sept. 28.
Island Shrimp regular hours of operations will be 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday; from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday. It will have live music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
Paige said the HOUSEpitality Family has been approached by other landlords about expanding the Island Shrimp Co. concept to other markets, but said the group is going to maintain its focus on its Chesterfield location for now.
But she did say the company has another restaurant concept is in the works.
“We’re getting close,” Paige said, without divulging any further details. “Stay tuned.”