A locally based restaurant chain is making moves on both sides of the river, with plans to relocate its Midlothian home base and add a new location in the city.
Brick House Diner has leased the recently shuttered Kitchen 64 space at 3336 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd. for 10 years. Co-owner Vic Routsis said they’re planning to open the new location at the start of next year.
Routsis, who opened the Midlothian Brick House in 2004 with brothers Bill, John and Nick, said they were approached about the space by Johnny Giavos, the prolific local restaurateur who opened Kitchen 64 in 2007.
Giavos, who co-owned the business with his wife Katrina and Ernest von Ofenheim, closed the restaurant late last month for unspecified reasons. Routsis said Giavos let them know the space would be available, even though they weren’t looking for an additional location.
“He said, ‘Hey, I’ve got a good restaurant that I’m willing to get rid of.’ I guess he’s concentrating more on his (Stella’s Grocery) markets and other stuff he’s got going on,” Routsis said.
“We weren’t even looking for another place, but the opportunity looked good, the deal was good and the location was good. So, we went ahead and went forward with it.”
The brothers signed their lease with landlord Pamela Saunders, who has co-owned the property since 2012 with her late brother Thomas “Tommy” Sotos, according to property records. Tommy, a restaurateur whose Zippy’s Ba-Ba’s preceded Kitchen 64 in the space, was killed in a hit-and-run in Henrico County earlier this year.
The new Brick House, to be called Brick House on the Boulevard, will be the Routsis’s fourth location. They also have locations in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, where Routsis said they grew up and their father had a restaurant named Four Brothers Steakhouse.
Routsis said Brick House on the Boulevard will be a breakfast-and-lunch spot with service from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Breakfast will be available all day, offering Brick House’s signature omelets, benedicts, skillets and scramblers.
He said they’re planning some interior renovations to the 3,300-square-foot space, with a remodeled bar and other adjustments to tables and chairs. He said they’re doing the interior work themselves, with signage to be added to the outside in coming weeks. “Coming soon” signs announcing the new location were posted on the building in the past week.
Midlo location to move west
Meanwhile, the Routsises are also planning to move their original Brick House location farther west along Midlothian Turnpike to Westchester Commons, where they’ll be building a new and slightly larger building.
The brothers in 2019 bought the 1.4-acre parcel at 164 Schofield Drive and are planning a 5,000-square-foot building next to the Taco Bell beside the shopping center’s entrance at Midlothian Turnpike and Watkins Center Parkway. Routsis said they paid $620,000 for the unimproved lot, which he said had been planned for a Steak ’n Shake.
The new building will seat 140 people, 20 more than the 3,000-square-foot space that they lease at 13520 Midlothian Turnpike. The brothers opened the restaurant in 2004 in the brick building that previously housed a seafood market.
“We tried to get a longer lease here, but (the landlord wasn’t) willing to give us a longer lease right now,” Routsis said, adding that they offered to buy the building but couldn’t agree on a sale price.
On top of more space, he said the new location will provide ample parking, which is limited at their current spot. They’re working with Fultz & Singh Architects on the building’s design.
Routsis said they’ll continue at their current spot through 2024 and plan to open the new restaurant in January 2025.
Correction: Tommy Sotos ran Zippy’s and Zippy’s Ba-Ba’s restaurants, the latter in the Kitchen 64 space. The article originally linked to a story about a diner owned by a cousin with a similar name. The story link and reference have been removed.