Restaurants Toast, Marco’s Pizza sign on at Scott’s Walk project across from The Diamond

scotts walk construction scaled

The four restaurant buildings are rising on a plot across from The Diamond. (Mike Platania photo)

The restaurant roster at a new development near The Diamond continues to fill out.

Toast New American Gastropub and Marco’s Pizza have both signed leases to open at Scott’s Walk, a multi-building retail project by Thalhimer Realty Partners at 3064 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd. 

The two restaurants will join Chipotle, Raising Cane’s and Starbucks, whose buildings are already under construction.  

The expansion to Scott’s Walk coincides with a passing of the torch of the entire Toast franchise to restaurant industry vets Bob Graham and Chris Staples from wife-and-husband duo Jessica and Josh Bufford, who launched the concept more than a decade ago.

toast bob graham chris staples

Toast co-owners Bob Graham and Chris Staples. (Courtesy Toast)

Graham and Staples last year bought the Toast location at Village Shopping Center in Henrico from the Buffords. The Buffords, for a time, held on to Toast’s Midlothian outpost in Winterfield Place shopping center, but decided to sell it to Graham and Staples in recent weeks.

The deal gave Graham and Staples full control of the brand and included the Buffords’ stake in Sidecar Cocktail Lounge, which opened next to Toast in Midlothian earlier this year. Staples said Toast Midlothian’s general manager Justin Blankenbecler is also now a co-owner of the Winterfield Place spot.

Prior to the Midlothian deal, Staples said he and Graham were intrigued at the idea of heading to Scott’s Walk because it’d put them near the multibillion-dollar, stadium-anchored Diamond District project. When the two approached the Buffords about it, Staples said the conversation eventually led to them taking over the whole brand.

“When (the Scott’s Walk idea) started to take shape, I went right to (Josh and Jessica) and they said they thought it’s a great idea and they wanted to support the idea of growing the brand,” Staples said. 

“It sort of happened organically…I think they saw it made sense for Bob and I to take over and move forward with one vision. We’re really happy that it worked out.”

Jessica Bufford said in an email that she and Josh are looking forward to returning to Toast as customers, rather than owners. 

“We are so excited for this new chapter in the life of Toast and in our own lives. We have been blessed beyond measure over the past 11 years,” Bufford said. 

Staples said the menu for Toast at Scott’s Walk will be largely unchanged from its other locations, serving pub staples like burgers, sandwiches and salads and offering an extensive brunch menu, with large beer and bourbon selections. The restaurant’s 3,300 square feet will be split between a main dining room and a back area with a 20-seat bar and eight televisions. 

“We want to tap into the more youthful nature of that area. We want to offer a sports bar-adjacent feel,” Staples said. 

Toast will share its building with Marco’s Pizza, an Ohio-based chain with hundreds of locations nationwide and a dozen in the Richmond area. 

Marcos main pose

Marco’s franchisees Damion Mason and Brandon Hudson

Local franchisees Brandon Hudson and Damion Mason have signed on for Marco’s to take the last 1,300-square-foot space at Scott’s Walk. The duo have been growing Marco’s local presence since buying in as franchisees in 2017, and Mason said they’ve been trying to get into the Scott’s Addition area for years. 

“We’ve had some deals that fell through. The hardest thing was finding somewhere with good visibility and good parking,” Mason said. 

The Scott’s Walk Marco’s will operate primarily as a delivery and carryout business without any indoor seating. Mason said that’s the direction they’re moving in for the business, and that the Scott’s Walk space fit their needs.

Marco’s is aiming to open at Scott’s Walk in March 2024. Construction on outparcels that’ll house Chipotle, Starbucks and Raising Cane’s is now underway, and work on a seven-story, 148-unit apartment building behind the restaurants is expected to start next year. 

Thalhimer’s Connie Jordan Nielsen and Annie O’Connor had the listing on Scott’s Walk’s retail space, and their colleague Reilly Marchant represented Marco’s in lease negotiations. 

Just to the south at 2902 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd. is another major project from TRP in a 272-unit apartment building it’s working on with Charlotte-based Crescent Communities. The seven-story building is taking shape right near where Arthur Ashe Boulevard goes over the train tracks.

scotts walk construction scaled

The four restaurant buildings are rising on a plot across from The Diamond. (Mike Platania photo)

The restaurant roster at a new development near The Diamond continues to fill out.

Toast New American Gastropub and Marco’s Pizza have both signed leases to open at Scott’s Walk, a multi-building retail project by Thalhimer Realty Partners at 3064 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd. 

The two restaurants will join Chipotle, Raising Cane’s and Starbucks, whose buildings are already under construction.  

The expansion to Scott’s Walk coincides with a passing of the torch of the entire Toast franchise to restaurant industry vets Bob Graham and Chris Staples from wife-and-husband duo Jessica and Josh Bufford, who launched the concept more than a decade ago.

toast bob graham chris staples

Toast co-owners Bob Graham and Chris Staples. (Courtesy Toast)

Graham and Staples last year bought the Toast location at Village Shopping Center in Henrico from the Buffords. The Buffords, for a time, held on to Toast’s Midlothian outpost in Winterfield Place shopping center, but decided to sell it to Graham and Staples in recent weeks.

The deal gave Graham and Staples full control of the brand and included the Buffords’ stake in Sidecar Cocktail Lounge, which opened next to Toast in Midlothian earlier this year. Staples said Toast Midlothian’s general manager Justin Blankenbecler is also now a co-owner of the Winterfield Place spot.

Prior to the Midlothian deal, Staples said he and Graham were intrigued at the idea of heading to Scott’s Walk because it’d put them near the multibillion-dollar, stadium-anchored Diamond District project. When the two approached the Buffords about it, Staples said the conversation eventually led to them taking over the whole brand.

“When (the Scott’s Walk idea) started to take shape, I went right to (Josh and Jessica) and they said they thought it’s a great idea and they wanted to support the idea of growing the brand,” Staples said. 

“It sort of happened organically…I think they saw it made sense for Bob and I to take over and move forward with one vision. We’re really happy that it worked out.”

Jessica Bufford said in an email that she and Josh are looking forward to returning to Toast as customers, rather than owners. 

“We are so excited for this new chapter in the life of Toast and in our own lives. We have been blessed beyond measure over the past 11 years,” Bufford said. 

Staples said the menu for Toast at Scott’s Walk will be largely unchanged from its other locations, serving pub staples like burgers, sandwiches and salads and offering an extensive brunch menu, with large beer and bourbon selections. The restaurant’s 3,300 square feet will be split between a main dining room and a back area with a 20-seat bar and eight televisions. 

“We want to tap into the more youthful nature of that area. We want to offer a sports bar-adjacent feel,” Staples said. 

Toast will share its building with Marco’s Pizza, an Ohio-based chain with hundreds of locations nationwide and a dozen in the Richmond area. 

Marcos main pose

Marco’s franchisees Damion Mason and Brandon Hudson

Local franchisees Brandon Hudson and Damion Mason have signed on for Marco’s to take the last 1,300-square-foot space at Scott’s Walk. The duo have been growing Marco’s local presence since buying in as franchisees in 2017, and Mason said they’ve been trying to get into the Scott’s Addition area for years. 

“We’ve had some deals that fell through. The hardest thing was finding somewhere with good visibility and good parking,” Mason said. 

The Scott’s Walk Marco’s will operate primarily as a delivery and carryout business without any indoor seating. Mason said that’s the direction they’re moving in for the business, and that the Scott’s Walk space fit their needs.

Marco’s is aiming to open at Scott’s Walk in March 2024. Construction on outparcels that’ll house Chipotle, Starbucks and Raising Cane’s is now underway, and work on a seven-story, 148-unit apartment building behind the restaurants is expected to start next year. 

Thalhimer’s Connie Jordan Nielsen and Annie O’Connor had the listing on Scott’s Walk’s retail space, and their colleague Reilly Marchant represented Marco’s in lease negotiations. 

Just to the south at 2902 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd. is another major project from TRP in a 272-unit apartment building it’s working on with Charlotte-based Crescent Communities. The seven-story building is taking shape right near where Arthur Ashe Boulevard goes over the train tracks.

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CLARK CHESSER
CLARK CHESSER
9 months ago

Anyone know what’s going on with the Greyhound station next to this project? I’d read, here I think, that the property had been sold, and then sold again.

Stephen Weisensale
Stephen Weisensale
9 months ago
Reply to  CLARK CHESSER

City property records say it was last sold it February 2023 for $11M.

Michael Morgan-Dodson
Michael Morgan-Dodson
9 months ago

February seller was FirstGroup which is Greyhound’s parent company. They sold it for $11M to Twenty Lake which has the same address in CT as the LLC that is the listed current owner. Is was listed by Commonwealth again in February but maybe they took it off the market? It is not listed with them anymore.

Barry Greene Jr.
Barry Greene Jr.
9 months ago

I thought to myself yesterday when I saw the green building, that looks like a Starbucks but then thought there’s 3 others within a mile on Broad, Arthur Ashe, and on Robinson. I seriously underestimate their market demand at times.

David Humphrey
David Humphrey
9 months ago

My guess is they might close the one by Rover City Roll. That one is pretty tight to get in and out of. The stacking line for the drive thru is short and not much parking for instore customers.

Justin Reynolds
Justin Reynolds
9 months ago

I’m glad to hear of a local food option going in here, but I’m still very disappointed at how auto-centric the city allowed Scott’s Walk/Wawa/Tommy’s car wash to be given what’s planned for the Diamond District.

Alan Miller
Alan Miller
9 months ago

We are still a very car friendly city. You go on some of these streets with dedicated bike lanes, you rarely see any bike riders, Especially Brook Rd & Patterson.

Justin Reynolds
Justin Reynolds
9 months ago
Reply to  Alan Miller

Bike lanes have little to do with being auto-centric—I’m talking about how this development will feature surface parking lots and numerous drive-thrus. Ideally we wouldn’t allow drive-thrus in this area and we’d have a multistory building with residential above retail and structured parking, like a parking garage.

David Humphrey
David Humphrey
9 months ago

Being so close to the highway I think there will always be some level of that in this area. The biggest challenge will be how to make sure the pedestrian and vehicular modes of travel conflict as little as possible.

Susan Mossem
Susan Mossem
9 months ago
Reply to  David Humphrey

Sidewalk improvements, where needed, and add pedestrian bridges that can accommodate bikes, strollers, and wheelchairs The VCU campus could use pedestrian bridges as well.

Keith Van Inwegen
Keith Van Inwegen
9 months ago
Reply to  Susan Mossem

No one uses pedestrian bridges. VCU had one at 11th and Leigh and it never got used.

Lee Thomas
Lee Thomas
9 months ago

I think this is fairly accurate. If it’s part of a hilly landscape or ties into adjacent buildings or infrastructure, a pedestrian bridge can be useful. But if it features what seems like miles of switchback ramps at both ends, no one will bother with it

Michael Morgan-Dodson
Michael Morgan-Dodson
9 months ago

Auto centric is understatement; Starbucks and Raising Canes will have drive thrus. I have a feeling even the Chipotle will have one. And Marco’s is a grap and go. They tore down Hardee’s to make it more urban and then down the street we build up what will look like Midlothian Turnpike or West Broad Street.

Last edited 9 months ago by Michael Morgan-Dodson
Justin Ranson
Justin Ranson
9 months ago

Of course there are drive thrus, it’s right at a major interstate offramp.