A Chesterfield restaurant has uncorked its revamped concept after five months of renovations.
The Desserterie at 6161 Harbourside Centre Loop near Brandermill reopened last week as Annie Ruth’s Wine Bar and Bistro.
Owner Curtis Perry said the new name emphasizes the restaurant’s offerings beyond sweets – and its new greater focus on wine.
“The (Desserterie) name didn’t really reflect what the overall climate in the restaurant was. People would come over with boxes of food looking for desserts,” Perry said. “You can’t really overcome that name.”
The Desserterie first opened as a desserts-only spot in 2008, and added brunch, lunch and dinner over the years. Perry bought the business in 2019. Prior to that he founded and operated Perry Richmond Insurance, which he sold in 2018.
Perry said the shift toward a wine bar was made because wine is a major seller at the restaurant. As part of the renovations, he added a 22-foot bar with eight seats.
“We sold probably more wine than soda or tea and definitely coffee,” Perry said. “My thinking was maybe a wine bar is the way to go.”
The restaurant closed for renovations in August, a process that Perry said took longer than expected due to delays in permitting. It is in the midst of a soft reopening with lunch service only at the moment. Perry expected to be fully up and running with lunch, brunch and dinner service by early March. A ribbon-cutting with the Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce was held at the restaurant last week.
Perry said a reworking of the menu is still in progress, though the lunch menu is largely set. Generally the restaurant is slimming down the menu to focus on best sellers like quiches.
Perry said he felt the Desserterie’s dinner service, specifically cooking time, was in need of improvement, which he’s betting can be accomplished with a smaller menu and new kitchen equipment.
“In the past we did very well with lunch and brunch, and our biggest opportunity is dinner,” he said. “Before, we didn’t have the right equipment and we probably had too many items on the menu.”
Perry estimated that $40,000-$50,000 was invested to buy and install the new bar and new kitchen equipment.
Desserts will continue to be part of the menu, but the restaurant plans to trim the number of dessert cases from three to one. Perry said that the previous concept devoted about a quarter of its footprint to dessert cases.
“Even though I’m sure people will expect this to have desserts, our focus now is the food and the wine,” he said. The restaurant also has a cocktail menu.
Annie Ruth’s has seating for 80 people between its 1,500 square feet indoors and 900-square-foot patio.
As for the Annie Ruth’s name, Perry said it’s a nod to his late mother.
“She loved to entertain and make good food,” he said.
Please bring back the roast beef panini.