Five restaurants in 18 months.
That’s the pace set thus far by Mike Lindsey and Kimberly Love-Lindsey, the married-couple restaurateurs who have just signed on for their fifth concept in Richmond: Jubilee at 1303 Hull St. in Manchester.
When it opens this spring in the former Wildcraft Foccacia Co. space, Jubilee will add to the portfolio of their Lindsey Food Group, which includes Lillie Pearl and Pop’s Market downtown on Grace Street, a Buttermilk and Honey location in Short Pump and another set to open soon in Manchester.
Their rapid growth clip began in 2020 when they left their gigs at locally-based EAT Restaurant Partners to open Lillie Pearl and they haven’t slowed down since.
Love-Lindsey joked about the state of their sanity after putting so much on their plate, literally and metaphorically.
“The other day Mike and I were talking, and I was like, ‘Are we blessed? Are we crazy?’” she said, laughing. “Five restaurants in a year and a half is a lot. I think we’re a little bit both blessed and crazy.”
The duo said they jumped at the opportunity to lease the 2,000-square-foot space on Hull Street after Wildcraft closed in December after less than a year in business.
Lindsey said their lease for the building materialized quickly.
“(Wildcraft) closed one day, we were in there the next, then a week later it happened,” he said.
Lindsey said the new concept’s name is a reference to both Jubilee Day, an alternate name for Juneteenth, as well as feelings of celebration in general.
“Jubilee, especially in the black community, that term is used quite a bit in celebration. The celebration of Juneteenth was always built around what’s called the jubilee,” Lindsey said. “Then this is our celebration as well, to be in an area we’ve wanted to be and do the concept we’ve really been wanting to do.”
The new restaurant will be similar to Lillie Pearl, which offers a mix of American and West African fare in the former Pasture space downtown.
Lindsey said he’s been working on a menu for Jubilee, noting that they’d like to include dishes such as seared halibut in a lobster dashi, cauliflower steak and a seafood pot with mussels.
“We’re just being creative and still sticking to what we like to do with our approach to New American with global influences,” he said. “Being in Richmond, I like to highlight Southern ingredients, but this won’t necessarily be a Southern restaurant.”
Since opening Lillie Pearl, the couple got working on Buttermilk and Honey, a fried chicken concept they’ve opened in Short Pump and are preparing to open in Hatch Local, Manchester’s forthcoming food hall in The Current. Last summer they also bought Pop’s Market, the sandwich-heavy spot across from Lillie Pearl.
Four of the group’s five restaurants are in spaces that were previously other concepts, with the exception being the Buttermilk and Honey in The Current. Lindsey said their focus on taking over turnkey spaces has helped them grow rapidly and without taking on debt or investor capital.
“My goal is to get a space that’s a slab and build our own restaurant, but you know what? We’re not ready for that,” he said. “We’re building the ground floor based off opportunities that make sense for us.”
Lindsey said the space on Hull Street is no different and won’t need a lot of work to get Jubilee open.
“The space is kind of built like an old diner. We want to keep that feel, but do some reimagined and upscale twists to it,” he said.
“It’ll be dinner only, and we’re kind of thinking higher-end and big on craft cocktails and spirits. It only has about 50 seats to give it a more intimate feel.”
Sperity Real Estate Ventures’ Nathan Hughes represented Lindsey Food Group in the Hull Street lease. Local landlord and developer Michael Ng owns the building, having bought it as his entrance to Manchester in 2018.