Turning Point, a breakfast-focused restaurant chain, is coming to Richmond

turning point food Cropped

The breakfast- and lunch-focused chain serves avocado toast, huevos rancheros, lattes, cappuccinos and more. (Courtesy Turning Point Restaurants)

A breakfast and lunch spot with roots near the Jersey Shore is the latest out-of-town restaurant chain to target the Richmond market. 

Turning Point Restaurant plans to open early next year at 5320 Wyndham Forest Drive, just north of Short Pump in Henrico County. Its space in the Publix-anchored Nuckols Place shopping center will be the chain’s first location in Virginia, and 27th overall. 

Turning Point was founded in Little Silver, New Jersey, in the 1990s as a coffee and tea shop that also served lunch and dinner. It changed hands in 1998 when the original owners sold it to Kirk Ruoff, who’d been working at Chili’s but dreamed of owning his own restaurant. 

kirk ruoff

Kirk Ruoff

Shortly after taking over Turning Point, Ruoff decided to cut dinner and add breakfast to the menu. 

“It was getting killed at night. There was no night business,” Ruoff said. “I went in and bought with very little money down. After six or eight months I got it to break even.”

Ruoff said these days the average bill at Turning Point is around $18 or $19, and that they’re trying to offer a higher touch for breakfast and lunch than a classic diner or IHOP. 

“It’s not gourmet, but it’s definitely upscale,” he said of Turning Point’s food. 

Along with breakfast staples like pancakes, omelets and skillets, Turning Point’s breakfast menu includes multiple types of eggs Benedict and a sandwich made with pork roll, a type of ham popular throughout New Jersey. The lunch menu includes paninis, sandwiches, salads and more. 

Ruoff has also kept a piece of Turning Point’s coffeeshop roots intact with its drinks, as he said the restaurants serve multiple blends of coffee served in French presses, as well as lattes, cappuccinos and a variety of teas.

“We’re really known for our French press coffees. People’s palates have improved and they want a nicer coffee,” he said, adding that Turning Point’s drinks menu also includes breakfast cocktails like mimosas and bellinis. 

In the early 2000s, Ruoff began slowly adding more locations, but things have taken off in recent years after Turning Point received an investment from Philadelphia-based private equity firm NewSpring Capital in 2019. That deal allowed Ruoff to keep a majority stake in the company while also taking in over eight figures of capital. 

Turning Point now has 26 locations throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Ruoff said the company had been looking to get into the Maryland and Northern Virginia market for a while, but couldn’t find a spot that worked. 

“So we decided to go a little bit farther south into Richmond and found this location in Glen Allen,” he said. 

turning point nuckols place Cropped scaled

The chain is taking a space in the Publix-anchored Nuckols Place shopping center. (Mike Platania photo)

It wound up leasing about 3,500 square feet in Nuckols Place. Segall Group’s Trey Blankinship and Jamie Lanham represented Turning Point in the deal. Thalhimer’s Connie Jordan Nielsen and Alicia Brown represented the landlord. 

Turning Point is looking to open the new restaurant in the first quarter of 2025.

Ruoff said the company continues to look to grow in Virginia. It recently signed on to open a spot in Stafford, and Ruoff said he’d like to get into other parts of the Richmond region like Midlothian. 

The company has begun franchising a few locations in Pennsylvania, and while Ruoff said he’s not ruling out selling the franchise rights to Virginia, the company is not rushing to either.

“We’re fully capable of running it ourselves, but if the right franchisee prospect came in we would certainly explore that,” he said. “We’re very selective with who we bring in. I’m not looking to have headaches and I’m not looking to be a maniac with growth. It’s (about) smart, steady growth.”

Ruoff said so far, he’s enjoyed the taste of Virginia’s Southern hospitality.  

“The people we’ve met, and the folks that we’ve dealt with are very pleasant. Not that I’m knocking the Northeast,” he said, laughing. “The folks in New Jersey and New York are very busy and it just seems like in Virginia they enjoy life a little bit more and they can slow down, it’s refreshing.”

POSTED IN Restaurants

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Phil Hess
Phil Hess
23 hours ago

At last, a place that serves pork roll!

Brett Hunnicutt
Brett Hunnicutt
20 hours ago
Reply to  Phil Hess

Nate’s Bagels serves pork roll. It’s on a sandwich called “The Jersey Turnpike”

Phil Hess
Phil Hess
21 seconds ago

Excellent.

George MacGuffin
George MacGuffin
9 hours ago
Reply to  Phil Hess

Pear-shaped people food!
‘murica!
Why would anyone want anything from New Jersey?

Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
22 hours ago

I can’t see how you can lose money serving eggs and pancakes if people pay $18 for that meal. What’s in that coffee?!!

Bruce D Anderson
Bruce D Anderson
21 hours ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

You have obviously never had a genuine Jersey diner breakfast, my friend.

Peter James
Peter James
12 hours ago

Yep – can’t argue about that! Ain’t nothin’ like it.

Last edited 12 hours ago by Peter James
Lonzo Harris
Lonzo Harris
22 hours ago

Everyone wants to be in Richmond now,will people travel that far for pancakes,that remains to be seen, I wish them well tho.

Brett Hunnicutt
Brett Hunnicutt
20 hours ago
Reply to  Lonzo Harris

This location is in the middle of an office park and many residential neighborhoods. They don’t really need to rely on anyone traveling here.

Peter James
Peter James
12 hours ago

Yep – they have a pretty robust “catchment” area for potential customers within a very easily drivable distance. Plus, the right mix of population density and income density. They’re no doubt seeing pretty close to the same metrics regarding Midlothian, which is why Kirk mentioned a possible location there.

Bruce D Anderson
Bruce D Anderson
21 hours ago

Be still my heart! Jersey breakfasts coming to RVA? Pork roll, egg and cheese sammiches? Oh, oh, oh! 🙂

Michael Boyer
Michael Boyer
20 hours ago

Restaurants get you on the beverages.