Lamplighter co-owner brews new breakfast venture in Henrico’s West End

Zach Archibald, co-owner of Lamplighter Coffee Roasters, will launch Surrounding Counties, a quick-serve breakfast concept, on Nov. 1. (Courtesy of Zach Archibald)

Zach Archibald is betting there’s a place in the West End for his style of breakfast.

The co-founder and co-owner of Lamplighter Coffee Roasters will launch Surrounding Counties Specialty Coffee Explorers Club, a quick-serve breakfast concept on Nov. 1 at 8801-A Three Chopt Road.

The 1,500-square-foot spot in the Westbury Shopping Center will sell coffee drinks and breakfast food in a to-go format with a cafeteria-line format similar to the Chipotle experience.

“It’s a Chipotle of breakfast. There’s no seating inside, it’s in-and-out,” said Archibald, who doesn’t have an active hand in Lamplighter’s day-to-day operations.

The food menu will be built around poached eggs, grits and oats, with menu items priced at $6 to $10.

Surrounding Counties won’t roast its own coffee, but rather serve other brands such as, naturally, Lamplighter and Proud Mary Coffee Roasters, an Australian brand.

Surrounding Counties Specialty Coffee Explorers Club will feature coffee and a food menu at Westbury Shopping Center in Henrico County. (Jack Jacobs photo)

From its storefront in the former Papa Murphy’s pizza space, situated a stone’s throw from Freeman High School, Archibald sees the school’s students, parents and teachers as an untapped market for a quick-serve concept.

Archibald said the coronavirus pandemic has prompted creativity in the coffee industry, such as bulk bags of iced lattes to-go and other innovations, and he plans to codify that sort of innovative thinking into Surrounding Counties. A subsection of the cafe’s eight-person staff will focus on creation of a rotating specialty-drink menu that could be prepared in batches and quickly served by the rest of the staff.

“Instead of having a whole staff to meet the execution level standards of the craft, you would have a one- or two-staff department that would be tasked with exploration of the craft and creative ways of commercializing it,” Archibald said. “Typically, if you work in coffee shops, you’re going to be in this lane. What we’ve done is created a new lane.”

Archibald hopes to franchise the concept.

Archibald’s venture comes as Lamplighter recently scaled back its footprint with the permanent closure of its Morris Street location in the Fan due to the pandemic. Blanchard’s Coffee Roasting Co. scooped up the spot and plans to open a cafe there.

In other coffee news, Starbucks is eyeing a new location with a drive-thru at 2309 W. Broad St. And in Northside, coffee-and-barbecue concept Smokey Mug is preparing to open.

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Scott Christino
Scott Christino
7 months ago

I love the creativity, but would be nice to have egg options other than poached?