New national concepts flourish
A noticeable number of national chains announced plans to open operations across the region during the year.
California-based Burgerim announced plans to open its first Henrico County location at the Publix-anchored Nuckols Place retail development at 5400 Wyndham Forest Drive in March. Two more are in the works in Chesterfield County, at Winterfield Crossing in Midlothian and the Swift Creek Place development in Brandermill.
After opening a location in Willow Lawn a few years ago, salad chain Chopt announced plans this year to open a new restaurant in the James Center and another in the Trader Joe’s-anchored Short Pump Station retail center in Henrico. Both are set to open in the first part of 2020.
Texas-based Rusty Taco opened its first East Coast location in the Westchester Commons shopping center at 15816 Westchester Commons Main St. in Chesterfield.
California-based burger and shake joint Habit Burger fired up its first location in the region in May at 11309 Midlothian Turnpike, in part of a newly built retail center in front of Target near Chesterfield Towne Center.
Chicken Salad Chick opened one of two restaurants planned for the region in the Publix-anchored Westpark Shopping Center at 9669 W. Broad St. in Henrico. A second location is planned to open in February 2020 at the Brandy Creek Commons retail plaza at 6595 Mechanicsville Turnpike in Mechanicsville.
Husband-and-wife team Harry and Sara Ragsdale have opened their fourth Marco’s Pizza restaurant.
Jane Blackburn, a second-generation Dairy Queen franchisee, and her husband Michael are planning a new stand-alone location of the ice cream chain in the soon-to-be Publix-anchored Charter Colony shopping center at 14031 Midlothian Turnpike in Chesterfield.
Oklahoma-based Sonic is straying from its typical car hop drive-thru model to open the brand’s first dine-in concept in Virginia in about 1,500 square feet in the 805W mixed-use development at 805 W. Cary St. near VCU. It will be joined by &pizza, which operates nearly 40 locations nationwide.
Local restaurant groups expand
Several local restaurant groups made big leaps to expand their concepts across the region.
Chicken Fiesta owner Harold Vega will open his fifth restaurant in the region in the former Pizza Hut at 13350 Midlothian Turnpike in Midlothian.
Sisters Rosio and Karina Garcia, who own Little Mexico restaurant at the corner of South Harvie and West Cary streets, are preparing to debut Lolita’s at 2929 W. Cary St. in Carytown.
No stranger to expansion, EAT Restaurant Partners signed a lease to open a second Hot Chick Fried Chicken Joint in Winterfield Crossing. The group also opened Wong’s Tacos in GreenGate in Short Pump. It’s a spinoff of its Wong Gonzalez concept downtown. Its Pizza & Beer of Richmond (PBR), which first opened in Cary Street Station in the Fan about a year ago, is poised to open its second location in the future Shoppes at Rutland Place near U.S. Highway 301 and Rutlandshire Drive in Hanover County in mid-2020.
Kevin Healy’s HOUSEpitality Family, which owns the Boathouse and Casa Del Barco, opened its newest concept, Island Shrimp Co., at Chesterfield Towne Center, as well as the county’s first Casa del Barco next door.
Walied Sanie and James Baldwin, who co-own Social 52 at 2619 W. Main St., are preparing to launch Charred, a new restaurant at the future Shoppes at Rutland Place in Hanover County and at the Swift Creek Place retail development Chesterfield. Charred’s menu will center on wood-fired and smoked entrees.
Speaking of smoked meats, local pit master Chris Davis opened Frontier by Alamo at 412 N. 25th St. in Church Hill, a sister restaurant to his Alamo BBQ location on Jefferson Avenue in the growing neighborhood.
Holes in the donut market?
Duck Donuts abruptly closed its Willow Lawn location, leaving the chain with one local location in the Altria Theater at 6 N. Laurel St. that it opened in April. It previously had another spot in West Broad Village that closed in 2018.
Richmond-based Sugar Shack Donuts closed its Virginia Beach and Charlottesville locations until further notice. The nearly 7-year-old chain has 10 shops around Virginia, according to its website, including in Henrico, Hanover, Chesterfield and its original shop at 1001 N. Lombardy St. in Carver. Those all appear to be open for business as usual.
There was some good news to report on the donut beat. Krispy Kreme is planning to build a new store at 11240 W. Broad St., next to the Sonic in the Kohls-anchored Brookhollow shopping center in Short Pump. It will be the chain’s third in the region.
On a personal note, I’ll be handing off restaurant coverage in the New Year to my BizSense comrade Mike Platania. Make sure to send all of your juicy restaurant and brewery tips to [email protected]