Veteran local restaurateur Garland Taylor’s newest concept has opened its doors at Regency as the West End mall continues to undergo redevelopment.
Sloop John B, Taylor’s Caribbean-influenced taco restaurant, debuted earlier this month at the mall’s newly redone Quioccasin Road entrance.
The restaurant focuses on tacos and cocktails, and the menu also features several entrees and bowls. Tacos are priced at $3 to $4.
The 5,000-square-foot restaurant features a similarly-sized rooftop area that’s scheduled to open next spring. The restaurant has capacity for around 200 diners indoors, and Taylor now expects the rooftop to be able to accommodate about 250 people.
“We were running out of warm weather and we had parts of that project that were involving things that needed a longer lead time, so we made the decision to advance with Sloop John B downstairs,” said Taylor, who also owns Twin Hickory Tavern in Glen Allen, and formerly owned Home Team Grill in Richmond.
804 Builders was the general contractor for the Sloop John B buildout. The project architect was Baskervill. Taylor declined to share his investment in the space, which is near yoga studio YogaSix and Footlocker.
The restaurant’s name is a reference to a Beach Boys version of a Bahamian folk song about a shipwreck.
Sloop John B will soon be joined by another Taylor-owned enterprise: In the Sauce, a pizza shop that is now scheduled to open in the spring next to the taco restaurant. The two restaurants have divided a space that was formerly home to McCormack’s Big Whisky Grill, which has moved a few doors down within the mall, also along the Quioccasin entrance.
“We’ve done the demo and some of the mechanical things that are required,” Taylor said of In the Sauce. “A lot of the plumbing is already in place.”
Sloop John B opened shortly after NOVA of Virginia Aquatics opened its swimming facility in September in the mall’s former Macy’s South building. The swimming center serves as a new anchor for Regency as it transitions away from a traditional retail-and-restaurant focus into a mixed-use development.
The 50,000-square-foot NOVA facility has a 50-meter Olympic-sized pool as well as two 25-yard pools, plus an 800-seat bleacher, lockers and offices. The project is the first phase of the center’s construction and cost $12 million, NOVA Executive Director Ann McGee said in an email.
NOVA also operates a facility at 12207 Gayton Road. It plans to hold 20 swim meets at its Regency center in the 2021-22 swim season, McGee said.
The upcoming second phase of the center will make available the space’s second floor as a spectator area with more than 1,200 seats and community rooms to hold regional and national swim meets. McGee said planning is underway on the second phase.