New owners renovating old Mojo’s building on Cary to attract restaurant  

Mojo’s closed after over 20 years in business last fall. (Mike Platania photo)

Gordon Quinby and Charley Smith are hoping a makeover will help an old Cary Street restaurant building get its mojo back.

The pair last month purchased the former Mojo’s Philadeli building at 733 W. Cary St. for $750,000.

Sitting near VCU’s campus at the corner of West Cary and South Laurel streets, the 6,700-square-foot building had been home to Mojo’s for over 20 years.

The restaurant closed last fall, and Quinby and Smith’s purchase of the building closed Dec. 22. The 121-year-old building was most recently assessed by the city at $912,000.

Quinby said in an email that he and Smith plan to renovate the building with the hope of attracting another restaurant tenant.

“Despite COVID and the near-term impacts to the restaurant and higher education sectors, we feel it remains a strong submarket of Richmond and demand will return accordingly in due time,” Quinby said.

He added, “We will be fully renovating the property using enterprise zone incentives and historic tax credits and hope to have the property ready for occupancy in late 2021. We feel that a restaurant is the best use for the property but we are open to other uses for the right tenant.”

Prior to housing Mojo’s, Bandito’s Burrito Lounge called the building home in the late ’90s. Bandito’s is now under new ownership and continues to operate out of the Museum District.

Quinby said he and Smith have a number of other properties throughout the VCU and Fan area and have no plans for any major redevelopment of the Mojo’s spot.

“We don’t have plans to redevelop the property as it’s a historic building and serves as part of the remaining gateway to the Oregon Hill community,” Quinby said. “Our anticipated scope of work will include restoration of the original glass storefront and entryway of the building.”

Just across Laurel Street to the east is the new 805W development, which is set to soon welcome a new tenant in Paisano’s Pizza.

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Brett Hunnicutt
Brett Hunnicutt
10 days ago

Glad to hear someone is fixing this up. It has not been well kept, which is a shame. At least some of the old buildings on this stretch have been saved from the wrecking ball.

Michael Dodson
Michael Dodson
9 days ago

If Banditos didn’t move out of the building until 2002; how was Mojos in the space for over 20 years? I know Banditos was there in the spring of 2001 because of certain not to be named but prominent local real estate lawyer/professor held our spring exam/end of semester party buying beers at Bandito’s..

Jay Sowers
Jay Sowers
6 days ago
Reply to  Michael Dodson

Close to 20 years. I remember Mojo’s was further west in the Fan for a short time, and I think it opened in 2001, and then moved there after Bandito’s moved out.

Michael Dodson
Michael Dodson
4 days ago
Reply to  Jay Sowers

It was on Strawberry Street when it was founded. Barely any seats. They moved in 2004 to the newer space And I am just a few years under 40 then if we are going to fudge on time and age? 🙂

Eric Vaughan
Eric Vaughan
9 days ago

It was a great place to hang out and one of the few places in RVA to get a legit cheese steak (wiz please). VCU’s expansion/construction was already killing it, then along came the COVID shutdowns. They struggled through it all then their lease wasn’t renewed. Mojos is missed.

Justin Sculthorpe
Justin Sculthorpe
7 days ago
Reply to  Eric Vaughan

My buddy from work and I were regulars for a number of years at the Mojo’s Monday wing special. The waitresses knew us and memorized wing preferences and drink orders… it almost got to the point where we just showed up and food arrived. Great Wings and, or course, the cheesesteaks. RIP mojos.