There’s a new face behind a Carytown crepe maker, one that wants to make a play for a niche segment of restaurant clientele: rehearsal dinners for weddings.
Ownership of the Les Crepes at 3325 W. Cary St. in Carytown recently passed to longtime employee Andrea Ramirez and the restaurant’s chef, Gonzalo Viloria.
With its fixed pricing, deposits and reservations, Ramirez said rehearsal dining provides a steady revenue stream worth leaning into, in addition to continuing to cater to its usual customers.
“We want to be the next rehearsal dining spot,” Ramirez said. “We want to be that destination restaurant for rehearsal dinners.”
Central to the rehearsal dinner pivot is the restaurant’s second-floor space, which wasn’t regularly used prior to the pandemic. The restaurant added tables upstairs to accommodate more diners within public health requirements on spacing and that space, along with the patio, are the restaurant’s main spaces for private group dining, Ramirez said.
The second-floor room can hold up to 60 people, while the patio can accommodate as many as 70 people. Reservations require a $100 deposit, and the restaurant requires a minimum of $1,200 in food and beverages for the reservations, according to the restaurant’s website.
Ramirez said she’s particularly drawn to rehearsal dinners because of the special place they have in wedding ceremonies. She developed her appreciation for them while working at La Grotta Ristorante downtown.
“I fell in love with the idea of those events. It’s the romantic side of it,” she said. “When I hosted rehearsal dinners (at La Grotta) I was just crying during the speeches. I love the romance of it.”
The restaurant will largely continue to serve the same varied menu of crepes, though it may introduce new pasta dishes in the future, Ramirez said. The restaurant has 11 employees.
Ramirez and Viloria bought the restaurant from Fernando Lozada in January for an undisclosed amount. Lozada continues to own Les Crepes at Stony Point Fashion Park. Lozada’s operation plans to relocate from Stony Point to Gayton Crossing in March.
The Carytown outpost has no plans to leave its 3,500-square-foot space, where it’s been since 2017. Though the leaders of the two restaurants keep in regular contact, the restaurants are now separate businesses.
Ramirez started as a server at the Les Crepes at Stony Point in 2016, and landed the general manager spot at Les Crepes Carytown in August. While a server at the Stony Point restaurant, Ramirez carpooled to work with Lozada as he also worked his way up in the company.
“He’s like a brother to me,” Ramirez said of Lozada.
In other neighborhood restaurant news, BBQ Chicken and Beer, which is a franchise of South Korea-based chain BB.Q Chicken, plans to open across the street in the spring. A kabob-focused Afghan restaurant named Ariana Kabob also plans to open in Carytown soon.