A short-lived Latin American restaurant in Shockoe Bottom has been revamped as a nightclub.
The Dive recently opened at 1800 E. Main St. by the same owner as Crave, which had operated in the space since October.
Owner John Malanka said the switch came in April and is partially an attempt to grab the attention of people living in the neighborhood or who come there for entertainment after the sun goes down.
“It’s more a club atmosphere in the nighttime and in the daytime we do our lunch and dinner,” Malanka said. “We’re catering more to the area itself and the locals.”
Though nightlife is a focus of the Dive concept, it also serves brunch, lunch and dinner. The club features a menu of American bar staples like burgers, steaks, wings and fried chicken. Entrees are priced at an average of $12 to $13.
Malanka plans to open the space’s second floor as a hookah lounge in August. The second floor, which wasn’t used by Crave, brings the total footprint to more than 2,000 square feet.
The Dive has space for about 35 people to sit downstairs and expects to be able to accommodate another 50 in the upstairs area. It has about 10 employees.
Malanka said mismanagement played a factor in Crave’s demise.
“It was the mismanagement I had at the time. I wasn’t hands on because I had other restaurants,” he said. “The people weren’t doing what I thought they should do and I put a new team in.”
He said the new crew’s comfort with American fare led to the menu at the Dive. Malanka said Dive is a joint venture between himself and business partner De’Andre Hunter, a local DJ.
In between opening The Dive and closing Crave, Malanka also briefly tried running his Italian concept The Parm Shop out of the Shockoe Bottom space.
Malanka said he’s also permanently closed The Parm Shop location near Regency mall, which he opened in 2019. He said he felt foot traffic at the mall, which is undergoing a substantial redevelopment, was too low to continue to operate it.
He said he also owns restaurants in New York, New Jersey and Spotsylvania.