Two years after leaving the kitchen at Quirk Hotel and striking out on his own in Midlothian, David Dunlap is readying another concept a couple miles away.
The owner of Midlothian Chef’s Kitchen is planning to open 1870, a French-inspired concept at 13310 Midlothian Turnpike.
“We’re going to go for a French-inspired steak-and-seafood house, with a heavy emphasis on French and Virginia wines,” said Dunlap.
The restaurant’s future home, Jewett-Bass Hall, is a two-story building that dates to the 19th century. The concept’s name is a reference to the year the structure was built.
Dunlap bought the 4,000-square-foot building and an adjacent parcel through an LLC for $850,000 in October.
Dunlap said the building is near his house, and he had admired it for some time. After deciding he wanted to own the space for his next restaurant, he found that Jewett-Bass Hall was for sale.
“We pass by it all the time and we always said it’s an amazing building and it’d be really cool for a restaurant,” Dunlap said. “We were looking to purchase a building for a second restaurant and we’re looking at a couple different options and this came up on our radar. We came and checked it out and fell in love with it.”
1870 is expected to open early next year, with room for 130 diners between the two floors.
Dunlap said he intends to maintain the building’s historic appearance, and plans to install two bars (one on each floor) and buy new equipment to outfit the building’s existing commercial kitchen area. The upper level will feature two private dining rooms.
Dunlap declined to share what he planned to invest in the build-out of the space.
Jewett-Bass Hall is believed to be the only brick commercial building constructed in the 19th century that is still standing in Chesterfield, according to a history on the website of the nearby Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church, which owned the building from 1988 to 2019.
From the year it was built until the early 1950s, it was a general store. The store was operated at first by brothers George and John Jewett, who built the building, and in the 1920s sold it to a married couple named Bass. In the 1960s and 1970s, the building was home to a bicycle shop.
Mount Pisgah used the property as a Sunday School and meeting space. The building was most recently home to Jenni Comer’s real estate firm Jenni and Co., which according to its website has moved a few blocks away to 13510 Midlothian Turnpike.
An entity tied to Comer sold the building to Dunlap, according to county land records. The property is next to the Caddy’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill.
Heather Placer of Shaheen, Ruth, Martin & Fonville Real Estate represented the seller in the deal. Neemit Shah of Cornerstone Commercial represented the buyer.
Chef’s Kitchen will continue to operate at 11501 Busy St., where Dunlap opened it in early 2021 after he was laid off from Quirk Hotel during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dunlap said he wants the two sister restaurants to complement each other.
“I didn’t want to do the same exact concept because we’re two miles down the road,” he said.
Chef’s Kitchen expanded in June 2021 to take over an adjacent storefront within the Courthouse Crossing shopping center. Later that year, in order to focus on the dine-in experience, the restaurant phased out its market area that sold prepared meals in response to changing customer preferences as the pandemic continued.
Dunlap co-owns both restaurants with his wife, Brittany.