A local burger joint operator is taking over the former Emilio’s space in the Fan after the restaurant and live music venue’s successor flamed out last year after a few months in business.
Aisha Farooque, who owns Bottom Burger in Shockoe Bottom, is preparing to open The Burger Bar in the space formerly occupied by Emilio’s and Richmonder Public House at 1847 W. Broad St.
Emilio’s opened in the space in 2003 and went on to add locations in Short Pump and Midlothian that closed in 2012 and 2013, respectively. The Fan location was sold last year to Brandon Jackson and Jonathan Cessna, who reopened the space as Richmonder Public House. The concept didn’t last long, though, with the restaurant closing in late 2019.
Farooque, who opened Bottom Burger about three years ago, said she saw the space was for lease and jumped on it.
“I was just looking for another location and a friend had mentioned it to me as well,” Farooque said. “I called and secured it pretty quickly.”
Bottom Burger will remain open for now, but Farooque said she’s been looking to sell that business.
She said The Burger Bar will use the same recipe as Bottom Burger, but the menu will not be as burger-centric as the Shockoe location.
“I want to narrow down burger selection … and do a similar concept, but add some different items like some small plates to have a little bit more variety on the menu,” Farooque said, adding that it will have vegetarian and gluten-free options.
The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner, and brunch on Sundays.
“(Brunch) is a big deal in Richmond and I want to be a part of that. I’m working with a chef on a brunch menu,” Farooque said.
She said she’s gutted and renovated the roughly 2,000-square-foot space and is aiming to open The Burger Bar in late March.
“It’s going to be a totally different look. There are people that have been going to Emilio’s for years. I think they’re going to be pleasantly surprised when they go in,” Farooque said.
The restaurant will be next door to bakery Red Cap Patisserie, which opened just under three years ago. It’ll also be catty-corner to several new neighbors filling the Whole Foods-anchored Sauer Center development.