A pair of first-time restaurateurs are bringing a new concept to a seasoned Fan storefront.
Brun, a Caribbean-inspired soul food restaurant with a cigar-and-whiskey lounge, is taking over at 203 N. Lombardy St. Slated to open in February, Brun will replace the New Orleans-inspired sandwich spot Poor Boys of RVA.
“It’s French for the word ‘brown,’” Brun co-owner Charles Wilson said of the name. “It’s indicative of three things: the ownership, the traditional color of most whiskeys and the color of cigars and tobacco.”
The owners plan to split the 3,200-square-foot space between a full-service restaurant and an area dedicated to cigars and whiskey. The lounge side will have a paid membership, which the owners plan to cap at 250 to 300 people.
“There aren’t a lot of places you can enjoy both whiskey and cigars indoors in addition to live music in Richmond,” Wilson said.
The restaurant is expected to seat 60 people, while the cigar and whiskey section has seating for 70. Wilson said $250,000 is going to be invested in a renovation of the space.
The restaurant’s menu will feature soul food influenced by Caribbean cuisine with entrees ranging from $15 to $20. Nichole Richardson, who owns food truck Mobile Yum Yum, has been tapped to run the kitchen.
Co-owner Adam Evans is a Washington, D.C. native and former Chesterfield County Public Schools administrator. Wilson, a Chicago native, is a former Dominion Energy instructor for nuclear reactor operators, and also works as a workforce development consultant and founder of vocational training program Legacy Builders STEM Academy.
They both moved to Richmond in recent years and met as neighbors before making the leap together into the restaurant world.
“We live in Northside Richmond. There are not a whole lot of people of color moving into that area right now. The gentrification is very high,” said Evans. “You just see people like, ‘Hey, how you doing,’ and have conversations as friendly neighbors and then you find things in common and figure out there’s a good vibe and energy.”
Their chance to scoop up the Lombardy Street space came after Poor Boys closed in recent weeks. It was also previously home to Flora and Balliceaux. Also in the neighborhood, a new ice cream shop is taking shape.