Local cheesecake company owner opening bistro at Stony Point mall

Verseau Bistro General Manager Katelin Myers, left, and owner Cheryl Wittman. (Photos courtesy of Verseau Bistro)

A local cheesecake baker has a different kind of venture in the oven at Stony Point Fashion Park.

Verseau Bistro is planned to open in early December at Stony Point. Behind the concept is Say Cheese…Cake owner Cheryl Wittman, who is planning to offer a range of cheesecakes, coffee, wine, beer and charcuterie at the bistro.

The new restaurant will occupy a 1,300-square-foot space across from the Vineyard Vines and near P.F. Chang’s at the mall.

Wittman said the upcoming bistro is an expansion of Say Cheese…Cake, which is relocating from a commercial kitchen space at the Stony Point outpost of Edible Education in favor of more room at Verseau. It’s Wittman’s first attempt at a restaurant concept.

 “Some of it was space considerations. The business has just expanded since I opened,” Wittman said in reference to Say Cheese…Cake. She launched that business in 2020 doing online and wholesale cheesecake sales. It will continue to operate in addition to Verseau.

About $65,000 has been invested in the bistro’s buildout, furniture and some new equipment, Wittman said. The space is expected to have seating for 20 people.

The bistro’s name is the French word for Aquarius, which is Wittman’s astrological sign and was deemed a suitably exotic name for what Wittman described as a European-style bistro concept.

Verseau Bistro will serve cheesecakes, coffee, wine, beer and charcuterie.

Though Wittman looked around the area for a potential space for Verseau, she decided to stay put at the South Richmond mall because she liked the lease terms (she signed a 12-month lease for her new space) and she wanted to be there for whatever plans the mall’s new owner might have in store.

“They’re really hellbent on wanting to do something with this mall. The terms they give the small businesses are very attractive,” she said. “Just listening to mall management and how they seem excited about the new investment firm taking over, how great would it be if the mall turned around and I’m on the ground floor of it?”

Florida-based Second Horizon Capital bought the mall for $15 million earlier this year. The company has yet to announce its plans for the mall.

Wittman brought on Katelin Myers to be the general manager of Verseau. They crossed paths at Edible Education’s Midlothian location, where Myers previously worked and Wittman first opened Say Cheese…Cake before moving to the Stony Point location.

Wittman said Say Cheese…Cake’s business is about evenly split between wholesale and online sales and the two sides of the business complement each other. She currently has about 10 wholesale clients, which include Eggspectation, Latitude Seafood Co., O’Toole’s Restaurant & Pub and Tazza Kitchen.

“People went to these restaurants and got a slice of cheesecake and fell in love with it. Next thing I know, I’m getting a call,” Wittman said of her company’s growth.

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Brian Glass
Brian Glass
5 days ago

It’s apparent from the signing of a one year lease that the mall will do whatever it takes to add tenants . This isn’t a good sign for the future of the mall.

Steven Gooch
Steven Gooch
3 days ago
Reply to  Brian Glass

Hopefully she has an option. $65,000 is a lot to put into a buildout on a 1 year lease.

Brian Glass
Brian Glass
3 days ago

Steven: You are correct!

Cheryl Wittman
Cheryl Wittman
2 days ago
Reply to  Brian Glass

Considering that a large portion of the investment is appliances and other wares that will come with me wherever I may be, the fact that I’m paying a very small amount over what I pay today to rent commissary kitchen space and that a 12 month term for a startup means I’m not tied to an expensive 5 year lease with CAM added and utilities NOT included…please explain how this is a negative for my business. I see nothing but positives here for me and other small businesses attempting to test the waters. Not to mention being in on a… Read more »