Two newcomers to the restaurant business are making their first foray into the industry in downtown Hopewell.
Jonathan Montiel and Phillip Hughes are opening City Point Ice Cream & Burgers later this month at 236 E. Broadway, near the Beacon Theatre.
Before deciding on a concept, the duo bought the building that now houses the restaurant earlier this year due to its location in an opportunity zone, which is a federal economic development designation that provides tax incentives to encourage economic growth.
They were open-minded about a commercial use for the property and landed on a casual restaurant that caters to families after conversations with local leaders suggested there was demand for such a spot.
“They (opportunity zones) really do help out in making an investment in an urban space and that was one of the draws, the tax benefits,” Hughes said. “We really came to Hopewell with a blank slate.”
An LLC tied to the restaurant bought the property for $200,000 in a deal that was recorded in March, according to Hopewell online property records. The property was most recently assessed at about $107,000.
The restaurant will focus on hamburgers, ice cream and milkshakes. Its frozen treats will be made of Blackstone-based Richlands Dairy Farm products. Hughes likened their concept to something like Five Guys.
“Our vibe is modern industrial. We want to make sure we’re affordable but also provide a high-end experience in Hopewell,” he said. “We’re hoping for that small town feeling but with great quality food.”
The plan is for a burger, drink and fries to cost around $13 to $15. Milkshakes will start at around $6 a pop.
The 1,000-square-foot restaurant will have seating for 48 people.
The business partners have invested around $75,000 in the restaurant so far, which includes the down payment for the building. Not included in that figure is the $15,000 City Point won through the Homegrown for Hopewell business pitch competition this summer. The prize money was earmarked for kitchen equipment.
The purchase of the property was facilitated through a C&F Bank loan, which also covered most restaurant-related expenses.
The City Point co-owners attend Victory Tabernacle Church in Midlothian, which is where they met. While Montiel and Hughes have worked in restaurants before, this will be their first time as owners.
Hughes is a real estate agent with River City Elite who lives in Chesterfield. Montiel works in IT and lives in Richmond. Both are pastors at their church.