Dormant Berkeley Hotel restaurant space lands new Italian joint

berkeley1

The Berkeley Hotel sits right where Shockoe Slip’s cobblestones begin on East Cary Street. (BizSense file photo)

Shockoe Slip is set to get a new Italian eatery. 

Radha Kamarajugadda is preparing to open Chef’s Kitchen in The Berkeley Hotel at 1200 E. Cary St., serving primarily Italian cuisine as well as some Indian dishes. 

Kamarajugadda, whose background is in IT, got into the restaurant business about two years ago when she opened Desi Bites, an Indian fast-casual franchise near Innsbrook. She sold the franchise last September and said she’s now looking to try an independent restaurant. 

“I want to try without a franchise now that I experienced that. I want to explore more on the Italian side,” she said. 

Kamarajugadda said Chef’s Kitchen will be a “fusion” restaurant with American-Italian and Indian food. 

“The main point is going to be house-made pastas,” she said, noting that she plans to offer “handkerchief” pasta, a shape similar to lasagna sheets that are often infused with herbs. 

Chef’s Kitchen will include a full bar and table service. It’ll occupy about 3,000 square feet in the ground floor of the Berkeley Hotel and have seating for up to 88. The space has been vacant since previous restaurant tenant Cobblestone closed in April 2020.

Chef’s Kitchen’s breakfast and lunch dishes will be in the $15 price range and dinner options around $20. 

Kamarajugadda said her Chef’s Kitchen concept is not affiliated with David Dunlap’s Midlothian Chef’s Kitchen off Midlothian Turnpike. Dunlap is also working on opening a French eatery in the historic Jewett-Bass Hall

Chef’s Kitchen in the Berkeley is aiming to open in the coming weeks. Kamarajugadda said she’ll be keeping her day job in IT after it opens. 

The restaurant will be the second business to open in the Berkeley since Kalyan Hospitality’s Nick Patel and RPC Realty Capital’s Steven Walker bought the 55-room hotel for $6 million in 2022. Last year Virginia Credit Union opened a 1,200-square-foot branch on the hotel’s ground floor. 

Another recent addition to the Shockoe Slip dining scene is Echelon Wine Bar, which opened last fall in the former Bistro Bobette space at 1209 E. Cary St. 

berkeley1

The Berkeley Hotel sits right where Shockoe Slip’s cobblestones begin on East Cary Street. (BizSense file photo)

Shockoe Slip is set to get a new Italian eatery. 

Radha Kamarajugadda is preparing to open Chef’s Kitchen in The Berkeley Hotel at 1200 E. Cary St., serving primarily Italian cuisine as well as some Indian dishes. 

Kamarajugadda, whose background is in IT, got into the restaurant business about two years ago when she opened Desi Bites, an Indian fast-casual franchise near Innsbrook. She sold the franchise last September and said she’s now looking to try an independent restaurant. 

“I want to try without a franchise now that I experienced that. I want to explore more on the Italian side,” she said. 

Kamarajugadda said Chef’s Kitchen will be a “fusion” restaurant with American-Italian and Indian food. 

“The main point is going to be house-made pastas,” she said, noting that she plans to offer “handkerchief” pasta, a shape similar to lasagna sheets that are often infused with herbs. 

Chef’s Kitchen will include a full bar and table service. It’ll occupy about 3,000 square feet in the ground floor of the Berkeley Hotel and have seating for up to 88. The space has been vacant since previous restaurant tenant Cobblestone closed in April 2020.

Chef’s Kitchen’s breakfast and lunch dishes will be in the $15 price range and dinner options around $20. 

Kamarajugadda said her Chef’s Kitchen concept is not affiliated with David Dunlap’s Midlothian Chef’s Kitchen off Midlothian Turnpike. Dunlap is also working on opening a French eatery in the historic Jewett-Bass Hall

Chef’s Kitchen in the Berkeley is aiming to open in the coming weeks. Kamarajugadda said she’ll be keeping her day job in IT after it opens. 

The restaurant will be the second business to open in the Berkeley since Kalyan Hospitality’s Nick Patel and RPC Realty Capital’s Steven Walker bought the 55-room hotel for $6 million in 2022. Last year Virginia Credit Union opened a 1,200-square-foot branch on the hotel’s ground floor. 

Another recent addition to the Shockoe Slip dining scene is Echelon Wine Bar, which opened last fall in the former Bistro Bobette space at 1209 E. Cary St. 

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George MacGuffin
George MacGuffin
5 months ago

“…Kamarajugadda said Chef’s Kitchen will be a “fusion” restaurant with American-Italian and Indian food.”

Now that’s NOT Italian

Ian Coleman
Ian Coleman
5 months ago

I wonder if Midlothian Chef’s Kitchen is going to have an issue with the name?

George MacGuffin
George MacGuffin
5 months ago
Reply to  Ian Coleman

Imagine if he, a legitimate chef, would start an IT support business that specializes in unplugging, waiting 5 minutes before restarting and naming it “Midlothian’s IT Office”.

Funny thing, the story never answers the obvious question: who is the “chef” behind Indian infused Lasgna in this “Italian joint”?

Travis Jordan
Travis Jordan
5 months ago

I hope Kamarajugadda does well on this but you dont mix indian food with italian food in one restaurant. Also she wants to keep her day job after the restaurant opens so the owner isnt going to be there like an owner should be. I think I will pass on this restaurant.