Former Shaved Duck owner bringing new restaurant to the Fan

sprezza fan lombardy Cropped

The spot adjacent to The Lombardy Market has housed five restaurants in the past 15 years. (BizSense file photo)

A storied Fan restaurant space in line to house an Italian restaurant is now set to be the next destination for a Chesterfield restaurateur who’s flying north into the city limits. 

Joe Kmetz, who formerly co-owned The Shaved Duck in Midlothian, is preparing to open Trouvaille at 203 N. Lombardy St., the space that in recent years has housed restaurants including Balliceaux, Poor Boys of RVA and cigar bar Brun. 

After working in the kitchens of such local spots as Wood & Iron Gameday, The Flyin’ Pig and Tazza Kitchen, Kmetz opened The Shaved Duck Restaurant in 2017 in a retail strip in Westchester Commons before closing it this summer. 

Named for the alleyway across the street, Trouvaille will serve a “seasonal menu with a craft cocktail focus,” as Kmetz put it. He said he wants to keep Trouvaille’s menu flexible, an approach he also used at The Shaved Duck. 

trouvaille alley Cropped

The alleyway for which Trouvaille is named is located directly across the street from the restaurant and runs about three blocks in the Fan.

“(The menu) will cover what I feel like cooking. It’s not going to be a menu that’s going to put me in a box,” Kmetz said. 

Trouvaille recently inked a lease for the 3,600-square-foot space. Thalhimer’s Reilly Marchant and Annie O’Connor represented the landlord in the deal. 

Trouvaille’s emergence marks another twist in 203 North Lombardy’s long history of hosting restaurants and bars. Over the summer, Italian restaurant Sprezza was set to be the building’s latest tenant after it left its home in Shockoe Slip. It’s unclear what caused Sprezza’s plans to change and what’s next for the restaurant. Sprezza owner Angela Petruzzelli wasn’t available for comment by press time. 

Bogart’s operated in the space for decades until 2008, and it was succeeded by a number of other restaurants including Balliceaux, Flora, Poor Boys of RVA and Brun, the last of which is being sued by the building’s owner Steve Gratz. He alleges that Brun owes him unpaid rent and damaged the building upon exiting. That lawsuit is still outstanding in Richmond Circuit Court. 

Meanwhile, Kmetz is working to get Trouvaille open by February. He said that the space doesn’t need much work, and that he’ll be utilizing both the front and rear bars that have long been in the building. 

“​It’ll be a casual, fine-dining setting,” Kmetz said. “We’re going to polish the bar and do some painting and make it look nice.”

Kmetz had opened The Shaved Duck with his father and brother, but is going it alone on Trouvaille. He said he’d initially wanted to open a restaurant in the city, but his family ties to Chesterfield County wound up bringing The Shaved Duck to Westchester Commons. 

“I grew up over in that area so (my father and brother) thought that they wanted to do something a little closer to home,” Kmetz said. “But the kind of concept that I’m going for now seems to be a better fit in the city.”

sprezza fan lombardy Cropped

The spot adjacent to The Lombardy Market has housed five restaurants in the past 15 years. (BizSense file photo)

A storied Fan restaurant space in line to house an Italian restaurant is now set to be the next destination for a Chesterfield restaurateur who’s flying north into the city limits. 

Joe Kmetz, who formerly co-owned The Shaved Duck in Midlothian, is preparing to open Trouvaille at 203 N. Lombardy St., the space that in recent years has housed restaurants including Balliceaux, Poor Boys of RVA and cigar bar Brun. 

After working in the kitchens of such local spots as Wood & Iron Gameday, The Flyin’ Pig and Tazza Kitchen, Kmetz opened The Shaved Duck Restaurant in 2017 in a retail strip in Westchester Commons before closing it this summer. 

Named for the alleyway across the street, Trouvaille will serve a “seasonal menu with a craft cocktail focus,” as Kmetz put it. He said he wants to keep Trouvaille’s menu flexible, an approach he also used at The Shaved Duck. 

trouvaille alley Cropped

The alleyway for which Trouvaille is named is located directly across the street from the restaurant and runs about three blocks in the Fan.

“(The menu) will cover what I feel like cooking. It’s not going to be a menu that’s going to put me in a box,” Kmetz said. 

Trouvaille recently inked a lease for the 3,600-square-foot space. Thalhimer’s Reilly Marchant and Annie O’Connor represented the landlord in the deal. 

Trouvaille’s emergence marks another twist in 203 North Lombardy’s long history of hosting restaurants and bars. Over the summer, Italian restaurant Sprezza was set to be the building’s latest tenant after it left its home in Shockoe Slip. It’s unclear what caused Sprezza’s plans to change and what’s next for the restaurant. Sprezza owner Angela Petruzzelli wasn’t available for comment by press time. 

Bogart’s operated in the space for decades until 2008, and it was succeeded by a number of other restaurants including Balliceaux, Flora, Poor Boys of RVA and Brun, the last of which is being sued by the building’s owner Steve Gratz. He alleges that Brun owes him unpaid rent and damaged the building upon exiting. That lawsuit is still outstanding in Richmond Circuit Court. 

Meanwhile, Kmetz is working to get Trouvaille open by February. He said that the space doesn’t need much work, and that he’ll be utilizing both the front and rear bars that have long been in the building. 

“​It’ll be a casual, fine-dining setting,” Kmetz said. “We’re going to polish the bar and do some painting and make it look nice.”

Kmetz had opened The Shaved Duck with his father and brother, but is going it alone on Trouvaille. He said he’d initially wanted to open a restaurant in the city, but his family ties to Chesterfield County wound up bringing The Shaved Duck to Westchester Commons. 

“I grew up over in that area so (my father and brother) thought that they wanted to do something a little closer to home,” Kmetz said. “But the kind of concept that I’m going for now seems to be a better fit in the city.”

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George MacGuffin
George MacGuffin
7 months ago

Unclear what caused Sprezza’s plans to change? Perhaps because it is the Bermuda Triangle for restaurants. You can set your watch to shutteriing.

Last edited 7 months ago by George MacGuffin
Jerel C Wilmore
Jerel C Wilmore
7 months ago

I suspect that the owners of Sprezza, a bistro that normally operated a limited number of days a week and was not open late for drinks, realized they would not be able to use the space profitably.

Jerel C Wilmore
Jerel C Wilmore
7 months ago

It’s a challenging location, but there’s a lot of opportunity here too. It’s a large (for the Fan) location with fairly high rent. If you go into this location you have to have a plan to use all that space. The last business to fail in that space wanted to offer dinner and drinks four nights a week and make up the difference with “membership fees.” It wasn’t a realistic business plan. When you pay rent, you are paying rent 24/7. You can’t leave the business empty and unproductive 70% of the time. If you want to succeed in that… Read more »

Michael Morgan-Dodson
Michael Morgan-Dodson
7 months ago

I hopw they succeed too but no set menu and “what I feel like cooking” comment is strange.

I guess he’s saying it’ll be a mix of items, but it’s like are you saying the menu might change often too?

Jerel C Wilmore
Jerel C Wilmore
7 months ago

You are right. The place that is the master of this is Dot’s Back Inn. They have a solid base of offerings that appeal to regulars, but also a lot of specials based on seasonal ingredients.

I’m just concerned he’ll try to do a four-days-a-week bistro with just lunch and dinner of “what I feel like cooking” menus. I think he’d struggle to pay his bills.

What that space needs is 8am-12 midnight Sunday through Thursday and 8am-2am on Fridays and Saturdays. Saturdays and Sundays should offer a solid brunch menu.

Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
7 months ago

The restaurants come and go but the Lombardy Market continues to serve the immediate community. It’s been a stable presence for decades.