Hey RICHMOND!!!Do you love supporting LOCAL businesses and organizations?That's what I love MOST about my job. I’ve been in the commercial real estate and brokerage world for over 15 years. I get to help local businesses and organizations find a place to call home right here in Richmond. In fact, here are my TOP 5 Favorite Projects:#1) Flooring RVA.We helped find them a new showroom with more space AND we were able to help find a tenant to replace their previous lease so they could make a clean break.#2) The Summit (Scott’s Addition area).Such a great, action packed area of town where we were able to help long time friends sell two different properties at the same time.#3) Nomad Deli & Catering Company.Anthony and his family are proof that the American Dream is alive. They started this family owned business as tenants, but eventually bought their building and have continued a successful (and delicious) restaurant!#4) LUX ChurchThis is a great community minded organization that brought life back into a building that was over 130 years old and an area landmark.#5) Liberty Public HouseWhen Alexa told us about her dream concept of a restaurant inside a renovated, historical building, we knew we had just the right property for her! In fact, she moved all the way back to Richmond from the west coast to fulfill her dream of being a restaurant owner.
Posted by Sperity Real Estate Ventures on Tuesday, June 30, 2020
When Elaine Odell realized Tricycle Gardens would not be renewing their lease at her 2314 Jefferson Avenue property, she knew exactly who to call. Nathan Hughes helped her with their original lease in 2012 when he was a partner at Bandazian & Hughes, and he had to be the one to help her again.
“He has the ability to structure a lease that works for everybody — he has wonderful patience. It’s one of the most wonderful things about working with him. He’s patient, he listens to everybody, he’s a really good facilitator in terms of helping people to come to an agreement, to get each party what they need.”
Pizza Bones, more widely understood as the crust you leave behind after devouring a slice of pizza, is Elaine’s newest tenant. Founder Ashley Patino was hanging out with friends in college when she heard this phrase, and she had kept it in her back pocket ever since.
Starting her culinary career at Lamplighter Coffee Roasters, she made her way into the kitchen and then to an internship and eventual position at Sub Rosa Bakery in Church Hill before spending some time in California. Upon her return, she had her plan.
As a property owner, bringing a restaurant into the space felt much more complicated and intimidating to Elaine. “I’m glad Nathan has the experience with restaurants that he does, because I don’t. There are different things you have to be aware of and expenses to pay for and it was great to have someone with his experience help me through that process. He has that devil in the detail stuff only an industry insider knows.”
Ashley has big plans for Pizza Bones. “I want it to be more than just a pizza place, I want it to be a community space.” She hopes to utilize the space for community gatherings, especially the outdoor area.
Ashley’s plan fell in line with the other Jefferson Avenue businesses. “We are working hard to create a place for the community to be, to spend their leisure time, time to gather with friends and family and enjoy a meal,” says Elaine. “That’s why this business makes a lot of sense.”
Union Hill and Church Hill are home to many young families, with toddlers and school aged children. Parents need places where they can have a meal and bring their kids, and feel comfortable doing so. At Pizza Bones, they will see a menu that appeals to a spectrum of family members in an environment that feels good.
Jefferson Avenue is grassroots and organic. You won’t find any chains or franchises here, home to several iconic Richmond spots, such as Union Market, Sub Rosa Bakery, and The Roosevelt to name a few. North End Juice Co. is slated to open a spot in the following months, as well as Elaine’s newest tenant, Pizza Bones.
If you just closed your restaurant and are looking to lease it again, it is important to be aware of potential problems that you may need to address first. Indeed, in real estate, knowledge is power. You may encounter problems, such as pests, lingering odors, and safety or health issues. These problems need to be addressed sooner rather than later before you can even think about leasing your restaurant space again.
Unfortunately, it is common to encounter pests after closing a restaurant. It’s important to address these problems because they can introduce dirt and disease to your property. When addressing this problem, be sure to clean thoroughly with disinfecting chemicals. Close all openings around wiring, vents, and drain pipes to ensure that bugs cannot return and bother the new renters. In addition to bugs and rats, other vermin might seek out food from the now-closed restaurant space. You can set up snap and sticky traps for rats and mice. If bugs and vermin continue to be a problem, calling an exterminator is a good course of action.
In addition to pests, it’s not out of the ordinary to encounter lingering odors after closing a restaurant. These odors can be unpleasant and unappealing for new renters, so they must be fixed before the property can be rented out again. Grease and burnt food are typical culprits of lingering odors. Vinegar, baking soda, and odor-removing cleaning agents are a few ways you can remove these odors. There are multiple odor elimination methods to choose from, so consider your circumstances and needs when selecting which method is right for you.
Damage, Safety, or Health Issues
There can be any number of circumstances which would cause a previous restaurant space to present safety or health issues or have internal damage. Before leasing the space again, it is essential to repair any structural damage to the property. It’s also essential to verify that all carbon monoxide and smoke detectors work, and that there are at least two forms of exit from the unit. Make sure to check for mold and lead-based paint hazards presented by old buildings.
Taking the time to check your property for pests, lingering odors, damage, safety, and health issues will allow you to eliminate unpleasant surprises. Taking care of these issues will help your leasing process to happen more smoothly, and ensure happy future tenants.
Need commercial real estate advice? Contact us today and we’ll be happy to help!
Commercial properties come in all shapes and sizes. They can be the size of a warehouse, or a small shop in a mall. Regardless of its size and purpose, there are a few key things that you can do to make your property stand out and justify a higher list price. To get going on your preparations, start with these three tips.
Nothing makes a place feel rundown and depressing like peeling, chipped, or dirty paint. If this is the current state of your property, you should consider giving it a new paint job before listing. The new paint will give your property a much newer feel. Even if the paint is still in good condition you might want to paint it anyway.
By painting the walls white, you can help make the property seem bigger and give it the feeling of a blank canvas. This will make it much easier for potential buyers to imagine how their color schemes will fit in the room. There are a few ways you can paint your property while sticking to a tight budget. Since the paint is only temporary, you can use lower quality paint. If you choose to leave the paint as it is, you could just focus on touching up certain areas.
Kitchen and Bathroom Upgrades
Kitchens and bathrooms are key selling points, so these should be up-to-date. If you rent your property to businesses, these can make a huge impact on the business’s productivity. A nice kitchen/kitchenette makes a great break room for employees. A poor-quality bathroom will leave a poor impression on visiting customers. No matter who your potential buyers/renters are, they will be impressed if these rooms are in good condition.
Depending on the type of commercial property, staging an empty location can be a big mistake. It makes the place look bare and boring. Consider putting in some simple furnishings to brighten the place up. You shouldn’t spend a lot of money on this. The furnishing is just for show, so it can be cheap, yet stylish. Try to anticipate your tenants’ preferred use for the property and design your furnishing accordingly.
These preparations may take some time and cost you a bit of money. But they will allow you to get the property sold or rented more quickly and at a far better price. Just be sure to plan out your actions well and keep careful track of your expenses.
If you’re planning to list your commercial property, we can help to connect you with buyers. Reach out to us to learn more about how we can assist you!
These days, businesses simply can’t survive without a website. The internet is the first place a customer looks when they are looking to work with a business. With every business building a webpage, it can be hard to stand out. In order to get attention, you need to focus on your niche. If you run a real estate company, there are a few industry specific aspects of your website that deserve special attention. The following advice will help you focus your efforts so that customers are impressed when they view your page.
Add Quality Videos and Photos
There is absolutely no excuse for a pixelated image on your website. Pixelated photos and videos don’t allow customers to see the quality of the property. Instead, they get the impression that you don’t take pride in your work. On the other hand, HD photos and video show that you do high quality work. Video courses are a powerful type of lead magnet to include on your website. Quality video with nice music can help a customer build an emotional connection to the properties on display. It can be expensive to hire a quality photographer, but the returns are worth it.
The last thing you want to do to a customer is drag them through tours of properties that don’t catch their interest. This tires the customer, destroys their enthusiasm, and strains your relationship. You can avoid this with a virtual tour. With the emergence of 360-degree cameras, many real estate companies are starting to put together virtual tours of the properties that they sell and lease. This allows customers to get a better idea of what properties they want to visit in person. If a customer sees that you offer virtual tours, they will be much more interested in working with you, than a company that only shows pictures.
In order to increase customer traffic to your website, you need to appear more in online searches. One of the best ways to do that is through content creation like a blog. Having a regularly updated blog will move you up in search engine algorithms. Having quality blog posts will create a good impression with your customers. It is a great way for you to show them your industry knowledge.
Working in real estate is a rewarding business. You are helping people find their dream space. You want to make sure that your hard work is paying off. By updating your website and following the above advice, you will see an increase in customers that trust in your ability to get the job done.
Looking for a new, bigger business location? We can help.
From the IBBA’s website: “A Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) is an experienced business broker who is committed to the highest level of professional development the industry has to offer and has ethical values aligned with the IBBA standards of professionalism. A CBI has the ability to objectively guide clients through the intricacies of the entire marketing and negotiation process of a business sale, resulting in successful transactions and satisfied clients.
A CBI offers the most experienced professional representation available during the process of selling or buying a business. Along with having undergone a specialized initial program of detailed training, a CBI is required to earn continuing education credits to maintain the credential.
When you want to work with the best intermediary to buy or sell a business, look for the CBI designation.”
When a person decides to purchase or lease a new commercial property, it can be one of the most expensive investments they will make for their business. This is why it is so important to make sure that you are getting what you pay for. Unfortunately, one of the pitfalls of being a new buyer is not being able to see some of the most common red flags. The following list includes three commercial real estate red flags you should always keep an eye out for.
Most of the time, red flags within a commercial property will be in the details. These problematic areas can seem okay at a glance but can actually be at the brink of disrepair. An issue that will come up a lot is amateur repairs or additions to the property. Some businesses do not want to pay thousands of dollars in repairs and thus will attempt to cheaply repair certain areas. Although some jobs might be satisfactory, you should always ask for work permits and city inspection documents to have concrete evidence that everything is up and running correctly.
Although you should focus on the details, there are major areas that cannot be ignored. One of the most important ones of these includes the roof. Roof damage can do considerable damage to your business if you are planning to store products within your commercial property. An additional red flag you might run into is the seller attempting to fix the roof in order to close the deal. While roof repair can help, it can’t fix everything. Once water penetrates the building, a broken roof might be the least of your problems. Water can run down walls and destroy pipes and create dangerous mold.
Before you sign on the dotted line, you should always make sure to ask about who is liable for regular maintenance. If the contract places you as the responsible party to repair issues within areas such as the HVAC systems or plumbing, you might want to renegotiate your contract. This attempt to place this workload and cost on you can be seen as a red flag.
Purchasing a commercial real estate property can be quite an expensive endeavor, and thus it’s important to protect your investment. Apply the information above to help you look out for common red flags.
Looking for great business properties? Browse opportunities here!
There are very few restaurants that have the distinction of having been successfully run for
16+ years 20 years [editor’s note: confirmed after posting that the start year was 1993!], and even more rare is the restaurant that has done so with only one set of owners. Avalon Restaurant & Bar at 2619 West Main Street, in the Fan District, has done so under the care of owner Peter Harahan since he first renovated and opened it so many years ago.
Even as a well-established restaurant, Avalon has recently gained recognition by bringing in Chef Jen Mindell to add her well-known flair to the kitchen. Chef Mindell was recently recognized by the Richmond restaurant community as a 2013 Elby Nominee for “Rising Culinary Star”.
Congratulations to the new owners, Walied Sanie and James Baldwin (pictured), who took the reins from Peter Harahan effective late yesterday afternoon. The new owners are keeping the staff in place and will do some remodeling after getting settled into ownership. I look forward to seeing how their vision of the restaurant develops and the changes you will make happen over the years to come.
This particular restaurant holds a special place in my heart because not only have I been close friends with a number of the staff here over the years, but also it is the place where I met my wife several years ago. It means a lot to me to have been involved in this deal, and I appreciate that it will remain to be Avalon under the new ownership.
**Richard Holden and Nathan Hughes, both with Bandazian & Holden, Inc., brokered the sale of the business and coordinated the new lease with the owner of the building.
Here at Bandazian & Holden, we are proud to be a Silver Sponsor of the 2nd Annual Richmond Magazine Elby Awards! This awards program is THE restaurant awards program for Richmond, Virginia and was a hit from the start, last year. This is a time when the stars of the Richmond restaurant scene (some of the ongoing conversation can be found under #rvadine in the Twitterverse) take time out to honor the best and brightest among them.
I have not been involved in the selection or judging processes, but I don’t envy such a difficult decision. We have a lot of great talent and passionate operators and chefs here in town, and I hope that these awards will continue to honor and encourage more talent to develop.
If you are in any way involved in the restaurant scene, I encourage you to buy tickets and attend. Come support your favorite spots!
The event is on Sunday, February 10, 2013 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the doors open at 6pm. The awards are held at 6:30pm with a reception afterwards.
|Fine Dining Restaurant
||New Restaurant (Opened between Nov. 1 2011 and Oct. 31, 2012)
||Excellence in Service
||Rising Culinary Star
||Restaurateur of the Year
||Chef of the Year
|Culinary Student of the Year
Who are you hoping will win? Who isn’t mentioned on this list that you think deserved to be on there? I would love to hear what you think!
There has been a lot of attention given to the recent closings of restaurants in the Richmond area. There have been a lot lately, no doubt — here is a list of closings this year from Richmond.com that they are keeping up-to-date as things change. Some of these have been big surprises to the community at large, but it is important to keep in mind a few things.
Not all businesses close (or are for sale) because of poor sales. There are a variety of reasons:
- personal issues (divorce, wanting to spend more time with children, need to take care of an elderly parent, the owner has an illness)
- the business strategy has changed (the owners no longer want to be in a particular area of town, the owners only want to operate where they own the building)
- the owners are absentee and have other full-time jobs that are suffering because of the demands of owning a restaurant
- the business is on track to make a profit but the owners have run out of operating capital
- the owner is burned out, having spent the last XX number of years in the same location
- the owners realize that the best time to sell is when business is booming — cash out while things are good and maximize the sales price
- poor money management — sales might be great, but if you don’t manage your money well then you won’t stay open for long
- the landlord isn’t willing to renew the lease — maybe they have a better offer from another prospective tenant
- the owner isn’t changing, but they are changing the concept
There is also the counterbalancing effect of new restaurants opening up. Karri Peifer, Editor and Food Writer at Richmond.com, has been keeping track:
— Karri Peifer (@KarriPeifer) October 12, 2012
Almost one year ago, we posted a story about the transitioning of ownership of one Richmond restaurant legacy, Mulligan’s Sports Grille. The past month (Tuesday, October 9, 2012, to be exact) has unfortunately brought us the end to this story — covered here by CBS6 and here by Richmond.com. The restaurant’s official statement from their website is posted here (click the photo to enlarge) –>
Another restaurant that has gotten a lot of press coverage for its closing is Cafe Diem, at the corner of Patterson Ave and N Sheppard St in the Museum District — and right beside our office at 604 N Sheppard St. Since our company is involved in the ownership and management of their building, and most of the commercial property in the area, the media turned to us for some insight.
NBC12 coverage of Cafe Diem closing (with video and a guest appearance from yours truly)
I think the press has done an excellent job with the coverage on this closing. It is often a touchy subject, not only for the restaurant owner(s) but the landlord, the restaurant employees, the loyal patrons, the restaurant vendors, and even the surrounding businesses.
In short, there are lots of reasons why restaurants close. Sure, times are tough all around and lots of people are cutting back on spending, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. If anything, if you enjoy a particular restaurant, be sure to visit it plenty and enjoy it while it’s here. It is fun to always look for the next big thing, but don’t forget about the old favorites either. — By the way, there are LOTS of new restaurants coming soon. Keep an eye out here for announcements!
Have you noticed a decrease in the amount of people dining at your favorite restaurants lately?
Well, a recent expert analysis by the global investment banking firm, Jefferies & Co. shows national restaurant earnings trends have weakened during the second quarter. It may come as a surprise that quick service or fast food style restaurants are holding on strong against the falling market trends especially when compared to full service restaurants.
The instability in the economy plays the largest role in consumers dining choices. According to Jefferies’ analysts:
“Customers continue to struggle with economic/employment uncertainty, and affordability and value matter more than ever.” (per the NRN article).
The article also said that despite efforts made by casual dining restaurants such as discount and promotions, net traffic is dwindling.
Analysts even found a correlation between the rise in gas prices and the decrease in the amount of restaurant traffic.
“While gas prices spiked in March and have since come down, sales trends across the full-service restaurant industry have decelerated,” the Jefferies team noted in their report.
So the question remains why are fast food businesses doing better than full service restaurants? Is it just because of convenience and affordability?
Many fast food establishments have revamped their menus and created campaigns that showcase their efforts to become more affordable options to casual dining.
So, what are full service restaurants going to do to regain business?
In the NRN article analysts noted that consumers are looking for value, service, and atmosphere. With a good business plan and those qualities full service restaurants will recover.
As the national restaurant market has declined in the past few months, have you noticed a change in RVA? Would you prefer a fast food option to your favorite dining dive in the city?
This makeover was the highlight of discussion at Venture Richmond’s Annual Downtown Development Forum last Thursday, May 31st, as Richmond’s business leaders, developers and architects met to reveal their latest ideas for up and coming projects.
Proposed projects included the VCU School of Medicine building, the Virginia Biotechnology Park, a 150,000-square-foot addition for Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc, as well as several apartment buildings in the Manchester and business districts.
Over $120 million is going into creating more residential spaces across the downtown area, according to agbeat.com, who says the recent heightened demand for apartments is a result of the drop in the Multifamily Vacancy Index (MVI).
Fyi, the MVI measures the multifamily housing industry’s perception of vacancies which has recently dropped to a level of 31, an all time low.
“Multifamily construction continues to be a bright spot in the overall housing market,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe, in a report by agbeat.com.
Residential development across Richmond was a large part of the revitalization plans discussed at last Thursday’s forum. For more information about how the State is funding these different projects, click here.
“We’re a long way from closing,” said Franklin Development’s Manager, Thomas Wilkinson, who discussed the possibility of over 300 apartments, office space and an upscale grocer at Thurday’s forum.
Although the project plans aren’t official yet, Wilkinson assures Richmond-ers that the development will revitalize the Manchester district and appeal to the area’s increasipopulations on. Checkouts Richmond BizSense’s coverage of the Reynolds Development for more info.
Millions of dollars from the City are being put into new construction on the VCU campuses, as well as some of Richmond’s most beloved landmarks, including the Main Street Station Clock Tower and 17th Street.
The idea behind Richmond’s makeover? To transform traditonal buildings and warehouses into modern, revitalized structures for public use.
Be sure to keep your eyes open, as these new developments pop up across the city!
Did you know that (according to the National Restaurant Association) for every $1 spent in any of Virginia’s restaurants, 97 cents of that dollar goes back to helping build revenue for the Virginia economy?
Well, this coming Sunday, June 3rd will prove to be a HUGE boost for Richmond restaurants as well as the Virginia economy with the 5th Annual Broad Appetit Festival, happening downtown in Richmond’s Arts District.
The highly anticipated festival, which runs from 11 AM – 6 PM, will stretch from the 100 to 300 blocks of West Broad Street and give Richmond natives, visitors, families, students and foodies alike a great sampling of the diverse, eclectic Richmond restaurant scene.
Food prices will range from $3.00-$5.00 a plate as well as offer a variety of combos and mixed plates.
This will be the first time in festival history that Broad Appetit will feature exclusive Virginia beers and its first ever People’s Choice Awards, where festival attendees can vote for their favorite dishes.
To give back to the Richmond community, Broad Appetit is donating a percentage of proceeds from the festival to the Central Virginia Food Bank and Meals on Wheels. Last year, a record crowd of over 30,000 gathered for last year’s festival, making Broad Appetit Richmond’s largest dining festival in Richmond’s history.
Broad Appetit plays host to live music and events for all ages. It is the place where food and art intersect.
So, while you’re gearing up a hefty appetite for Broad Appetit on Sunday, take a walk around Richmond and experience the flavor that this eclectic city has to offer.
Which restaurant are you looking forward to trying out most at the festival?
For all you dessert enthusiasts out there anticipating the next sweets shop to open up in Carytown, the time is almost here! Among a bevy of bakeries, sweets and confectionery shops, Carytown will be adding to its list of sweets shops a bigger location for Carytown Cupcakes and a new dining spot for French cuisine: Carytown Creperie.
Carytown Cupakes, a Richmond tradition known for its decadent desserts, is opening its new location at 3111 West Cary Street, across from Can Can Brasserie. A grand opening date for the new location is still up in the air, but owners Dawn & Albert Schick promise the new and improved cupcake boutique is coming soon with even better cupcake concoctions. (Meanwhile, the old location at 2820 West Cary Street is still open!)
After the big move, the former cupcake shop will be magically transformed into Carytown Creperie, a new crepe shop featuring the traditional French-inspired cuisine with a twist: fast, take-away crepes for on-the-go dining.
Five years ago, Rocketts Landing – the rural neighborhood of Richmond bordering Downtown and Churchill along the James River – was desolate, barren and considered as just a watering hole by local fisherman. It was pretty much unheard of by the general public.
Two years ago, that all changed with The Boathouse at Rocketts Landing opening in 2010 and The Conch Republic soon after in 2011. The area was completely transformed into an attractive, scenic stretch of restaurants along the James and tourists, visitors, locals, couples, families and Richmond-ers flocked like seagulls.
Today, Rockett’s Landing is making an even bigger splash. One of the Richmond area’s biggest law firms, Brown Greer, is relocating its headquarters to the 38,000-square-foot Cedar Works Building along the riverfront on Dock Street.
Although the building still needs to be renovated, there are major factors in favor of moving to Rocketts, according to Principal Orran Brown: convenient parking, the location, and the long-term prospects of what Rocketts Landing could develop into.
In the mean time, be sure to visit Rocket’s Landing on Sunday, May 27th for Rocketts Red Glare. The event will feature the Kings of Swingband and a fireworks display to benefit the Neighborhood Resource Center of Greater Fulton.
From a press release received this morning:
RICHMOND, VA (May 24, 2012) – BlackFinn American Saloon, located at 1001 Haxall Point, today announced its plans to sell the restaurant to a local ownership group. The restaurant will remain closed until a sale is completed and the new ownership group has finalized its rebranding of the current space.
BlackFinn has been the sole restaurant tenant of the mixed-use Riverside on the James development since it first opened its doors in 2006. The new tenant will benefit from the revitalization plans that are in place for the surrounding Canal Walk area.
“With the efforts to update and expand the current offerings in the area, we feel that this is a good time and opportunity for both seller and buyer,” said BlackFinn operating partner Ryan Golbitz. “It’s been six terrific years and we are grateful for the support and the business that our community has provided.”
Details of the new restaurant’s name and theme are expected to be announced closer to the reopening date, estimated around fall of 2012.
Anyone else know details? I’ll update if I hear anything.
Be sure to watch the local news outlets for more updates/information.
Just two decades ago, sports bars weren’t very common. This is a community story for locals and sports fans, about one of Richmond’s first sports bars, the changing city landscape around VCU and the retirement of one well-respected business owner.
One Richmond bar scores big and creates a legacy
While the city hosts numerous restaurants and acclaimed cuisine, we also have an often overlooked local sports bar–not a big chain–that’s worthy of a boisterous hurrah.
Mulligans Sport’s Grille first swung open its doors in 1990 to reveal about 20 televisions inside–none of them flat screens–all broadcasting sports games and commentary.
Think about that novelty. The playing field for sports bars used to be fairly empty of any competition.
Harken back to the early 90s, if you can. The daily routine was sans internet, cable television was not a household standard–and it certainly did not supply the multiple sports networks available now. There was an audible welcome from sports fans–to the extent that the dream of three men multiplied into six restaurants.
The first store was so successful that by its second year, the bouncers came to work before the waitstaff. They were needed to control the the crowds who would try to push inside when the waitresses arrived, as to stake early claim to the best seats in the house. The Wednesday concert series brought thousands to Innsbrook, and hundreds would just camp out at Mulligans, many taking in the concert from the comfort of the patio.
John Sweeney, along with the Hurley brothers, Mark and Matt, were experimental business owners. They tried off-the-wall things like “cook your own steak” night, where hot grills stood ready for the sports aficionado to meet tong to meet steak.
The investors ran with their game plan, opening a total of six locations. After the Innsbrook location came Mulligans in Mechanicsville, Sixth Street Market Place, Southside, the Fan and then Farmville.
A common complaint in the restaurant industry here in Richmond is about how outdated and difficult (and sometimes just plain nonsensical) the ABC regulations are, especially for start-ups. Well it might finally be time for that to change:
…the state’s Alcohol Beverage Control Board is for the first time in 20 years reviewing and updating all of its regulations in an effort to rewrite or eliminate any antiquated and burdensome restrictions. And they’ve asked the state’s merchants to help, giving them until Oct. 17 to propose changes.
You heard them, folks. If you have an ABC license, then they want to hear from you! Be a part of the updates in the ABC laws. If you’ve seen what can be done better, now is your chance to speak up.
Where to speak up? I’m not exactly sure. I checked the Virginia ABC website and didn’t see anything specific about the initiative, but calling them directly would be a good place to start. If you do know the reporting process, please leave a comment with the information.
(Thank you to Richmond BizSense for pointing out this article in their morning email. If you’re not receiving it already, then you might want to rectify that.)
There was a rumor floating around for the past few weeks that Amy Cabaniss, the owner of Julep’s in Shockoe Bottom, was purchasing the building where Davis & Main operated a long-standing restaurant for decades. There was good reason for the rumor, because it was true!
Amy closed on the deal to purchase the real estate and the equipment at 2501 West Main Street this past Friday afternoon. Richard Holden, Principal Broker at Bandazian & Holden, represented Amy in the purchase.
It has been on the market for some time. Fan of the Fan reported back in June that the restaurant had closed, and I know that it had been for sale for some time before that. We are proud that Bandazian & Holden was part of making this sale happen, and even more proud that such a fine restaurateur will be the one taking over.
The new restaurant will be Mint New Casual Cuisine. From all of the great ideas that I’ve heard from Amy and from the reactions I’ve heard so far from the neighbors, the Fan District will be very happy to have her there!
Congratulations on the purchase, Amy! I can’t wait to try out the new place!
While we have many talented restaurateurs and chefs in Richmond, but only a handful can claim such a long-lasting impression on Richmond’s restaurant landscape as Stavros “Steve” Dikos can.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch has a wonderful article that commemorates his restaurant legacy. Read it — you will recognize the restaurant names! Dikos was the father of Katrina Dikos Giavos, whose husband Johnny Giavos is mentioned so much in the local restaurant scene because of their string of highly successful restaurant ventures (3 Monkeys, Kitchen 64, Sidewalk Cafe, etc).
Mr. Dikos passed away over the weekend of heart problems at the age of 85. My thoughts go to his family, and all of the people whose lives he touched, as they work through this loss.
As you may have noticed, we have Cafe Gutenberg for sale (see the big “Cafe Gutenberg – FOR SALE” in the menu above, or just click here). It’s a little bit of a different situation than normal, since usually these matters are highly confidential and even to find out the name and address of one of our business listings you would have to go through a screening process and commit to a Non-Disclosure Agreement.
In this case, the owners had decided to be upfront with their staff and even agreed to do an interview with Style Weekly about their decision to sell. Unfortunately, the article published didn’t accurately portray how the owners of Cafe Gutenberg feel about Shockoe Bottom or what they said about their reasons for selling the business.
Jason Guard, aka @rvafoodie, has given Chef Jen Mindell a chance to tell her side of the story as to why she and her partner are selling the business and to provide some background on how the past few years have been in Shockoe Bottom. Check out her guest post on Jason’s blog, Caramelized Opinions.
Everyone wants to know what the future holds, and the good folks at Nation’s Restaurant News have given us a peek at the future of restaurant trends. It is interesting to see what’s brewing on the front lines of the restaurant industry, although I bet a lot of those “hot trends” will burn out before they get anywhere — and even more won’t make their way here to Richmond at all.
The one that they are most confident in is — pies. Not only sweet pies, but savory ones, too. From what the article says, the pie shop is the new cupcake shop. I guess it makes for a good headline (and no denying that pies are tasty!), but there are other predictions they make that I’ve already seen happening locally:
• The new mom and pop. Self-financed restaurants built on limited budgets are growing in number. “This is an economic decision,” he said. “There are a lot of people out there who still want to open up restaurants, and it’s a good opportunity to look at real estate in a down economy.” The restaurants are typically small and the owners are extremely involved. Some examples are eVe in Berkeley, Calif., and Sons & Daughters in San Francisco.
• One-ingredient restaurants. “Restaurateurs are taking one ingredient and building full restaurants around them,” Freeman said. Following on the several-year trend of gourmet burgers, the trend is extending to grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs and sliders. “We’re predicting perhaps a peanut butter restaurant next or a big biscuit restaurant,” he said.
What do you think the biggest trends for restaurants in Richmond will be for 2011? What are you hoping will be the new trends?
Last Tuesday was “An Evening at Morton’s”, where a select group of individuals involved in Richmond’s restaurant community were brought together to discuss Richmond’s food culture. You can see my write-up and some useful links here.
I wanted to be sure you were aware of a few more resources that are especially useful if you weren’t able to follow along that night:
- All of the participants answered some introductory questions before the panel, and the answers can be found here.
- The live blog and questions from participants online were recorded and can be read in their entirety here.
- Here is the NBC12 coverage of the event, and there is a video on that same page of the coverage. The part of the report focused on the Steak Chat starts about halfway through the video.
I would love to hear what you thought of the discussion, and any insights you may have to share that didn’t get covered that night. There was a lot to cover, and we could have gone on for hours — so there are definitely topics that didn’t get fully discussed.
I’ve followed the ongoing series “An Evening at Morton’s” since it started off the year with a discussion on the Young Professional Business Climate, so I know that this is an exciting group and they have spun off some great discussions already.
Rather than rehash what has been said previously, I encourage you to read what Richmond.com has to say about the format of the evening and how you can participate. (nudge: go here)
[Okay, I lied. I am going to rehash just a little bit.] The masterminds behind the evening pick a topic, get experts together around a table at Morton’s Steakhouse down in Shockoe Slip, have a moderator facilitate the discussion, live blog & live tweet it, take questions and interactions with folks following along at home, record it, and release follow up posts wrapping up what was learned from the evening.
Thus is born #steakchatrva, or the long version, An Evening at Morton’s.
The topic on the table this month is Richmond’s Food Culture, which is a topic that is very near to my heart (and wallet, considering that most of what I do as a Commercial Realtor and Business Broker has to do with restaurants). I had heard of the topic and suggested some folks and angles on the topic to make things interesting. It hadn’t occurred to me that I might be asked to be at the table, so I was honored and excited to get the call.
We have a great panel for tonight’s discussion (taken straight from Richmond.com’s article on the evening):
- Brandon Fox (@bpfox), Richmond Magazine Dining Columnist & RHome Managing Editor
- Andy Howell, Cafe Rustica owner and chef
- Nathan Hughes (@rvabusiness) Bandazian & Holden VP & Sales Manager
- Karri Peifer (@KarriPeifer), Richmond.com food writer & editor
- Randy O’Dell (@Bellytimber), co-owner Bellytimber & Mezzanine
- Heather Sullivan, NBC 12 co-anchor NBC12 News Today & “Restaurant Report“
- Deveron Timberlake, Style Weekly food and drink editor
- Michelle Williams, deLux, Europa, The Hard Shell, Water Grill, The Hill Cafe chef / owner
While there are lots of people that could be included in the discussion, as evidenced by the larger than normal panel this month, there is only but so much space at the table. It is always important to note that while we are representatives of the community, we are not the end-all to the topic and need the rest of the community to step up and participate. We don’t want to lose the other voices that are equally important in the discussion.
So here is how you can participate:
- Follow the conversation on Twitter by clicking here to see everything that is tagged with #steakchatrva, and use the hashtag #steakchat to appear in that stream to participate on Twitter.
- Go to Richmond.com here and scroll down for the input form anytime before the event tonight to set a reminder.
- Watch the live blogging here starting at 6:30pm tonight, October 19th, to see the discussion unfold.
What do you think we should be talking about? Have anything you would like to share? Feel free to leave a comment or two here, if the urge should strike you. Just keep in mind that I won’t be checking the blog once the discussion is underway, so chime in on the other channels listed above to have your voice heard after 6:30pm tonight!
Business is booming! Relatively speaking, at least, the economy is buzzing along. Things certainly aren’t where they used to be, but they are getting better. Running a small business is tough, no doubt about it — but it’s always tough.
One of the first questions I hear is “how is business” — and the answer lately has been that business is great! The business I’m in (commercial real estate and business brokering) is busier than it has been in the past couple of years. I can’t speak for the entire industry, but our small piece has been rolling along quite briskly. The period between the 4th of July and Labor Day weekend is usually dead for us, except for the residential leasing, but this year defied past trends and was the busiest we’ve had in a long time.
As I’ve said in the past, I’m a small business. I’m not Coca-Cola or Dow Chemical. I don’t need the whole economy to be in a bubble to be doing well. I just need to do well with and by my clients and customers to be rewarded. Conversely, I don’t need the whole economy to be in recession for my business to be spiraling downward, either.
It’s not just our business at Bandazian & Holden that has been on the upswing lately. I’ve been hearing from more and more friends that their businesses are doing the same thing, and that brings me great hope for everyone.
Don’t take my word for it, though. The news outlets are tapping into the data and things are starting to spring back (or at least stop going down) all over:
From Nation’s Restaurant News: Atlanta’s restaurants seeing better days
Operators in the city pointed to an increase in private parties and convention business, which they expect to continue as the holiday season nears. And while diners remain value-conscious, some restaurateurs reported that increased drink and appetizer orders are giving check averages a boost.
U.S. retail sales rose for a third consecutive month in September, posting a stronger-than-expected increase that should fend off fears of a double-dip recession but doesn’t signal a strong recovery.
For the second quarter, area sales totaled $2.59 billion compared to $2.64 billion in the second quarter of 2009. The decrease of 1.89 percent is the smallest quarter to quarter change since BizSense began analyzing taxable sales data at the end of 2008—a sign that the slowdown may be flattening out.…
Restaurants and bars are also doing a little bit better, growing sales by more than 6 percent in the second quarter. That is a big change from the 1 percent to 2 percent decrease reported for previous quarters.
What has changed? I don’t know. Maybe people are tired of being scared and sitting on the sidelines, waiting for more bad news. What I do know is that we got ourselves into this mess, and it’s up to us to dig our way out — everyone working on their small piece of the hole. There is plenty of money to be made in good times and bad times, trick is that the people have to earn their money in the “bad times”. Let’s keep making this work!
What do you think? Have you seen business improving in your corner of the world?
Richmond Restaurant Week 2010 runs the last week in October, Monday the 25th through Sunday the 31st.
Here is a description of the event straight from the official Richmond Restaurant Week website:
Richmond Restaurant week is in its 9th year. Each year, 25+ local, independently-owned restaurants gather together to get behind a cause aligned with their interest: food. The restaurants each offer a 3-course menu for a set price, this year $25.10, and donate a portion, this year $2.10, of each meal purchased to benefit Meals on Wheels in conjunction with the Central Virginia Food Bank. We’ve seen great success in years past and have donated tens of thousands of dollars to feed the hungry in the Richmond area. Come out and try a new place or visit your favorite restaurant and support this great cause!
RVANews.com and Richmond.com are both posting menus as they come in, and it doesn’t look like you’ll go wrong with any of the participating restaurants. In fact, I haven’t been able to choose yet because everything looks so good. At least I still have a couple of weeks to decide — but reservations should be made as early as possible because the schedules fill up fast!
Where are you going for Restaurant Week this year? Returning to an old favorite? Or trying out somewhere new? Please leave a comment to help guide folks that are experiencing Richmond Restaurant Week for the first time!
Virginia Governor, Bob McDonnell, has been getting a lot of news coverage lately over his push to privatize ABC stores statewide: RTD from 9/3/10, NBC12 from 8/19/10, Hburgnews.com from 8/26/10, Style Weekly from 6/29/10.
This proposal still has a ways to go and many levels of bureaucracy to push through before it becomes reality, but McDonnell ‘s senior staff members have been studying the issue to make recommendations. Here are their official findings (the full version), which were released today. You can find the presentations that were made through this link. (although it doesn’t look like it will stay the top story but for so long)
I pulled out a number of points from the press release that I found to be the most intriguing:
- 1,000 retail licenses will be auctioned off to the highest bidders
- The licenses will be broken into three categories: 600 licenses for large establishments such as grocery stores; 150 for smaller establishments such as package stores and wine and beer shops; 250 for convenience stores/retail pharmacies
- No one company will be allowed more than 25% of licenses within each level
- 1,000 licenses will still give Virginia 1.8 outlets per 10,000 adults, far below the private state average of 3.8 per 10,000 adults
- Majority of new license holders will be existing stores; Virginians will primarily see new shelves in retail establishments, not new establishments.
- 332 licenses will be guaranteed for areas currently served by an existing ABC outlet
- The additional 668 licenses will be granted based on population density
- The wholesale side will also be privatized, allowing the Commonwealth to completely focus on law enforcement and regulation of distilled spirits
- There is no tax increase in the privatization proposal
- The Commonwealth will also make an additional $33 million on the sale of the ABC warehouse in Richmond and 19 state owned outlets
- The number of ABC enforcement agents will be increased by 25%
- The Commonwealth, through the ABC board, will maintain health, safety, law enforcement and marketing regulatory authority over private distilled spirit sales and distribution
Also, the point that has been making the most buzz lately is the idea of a 4% tax on the gross liquor receipts for restaurant operators. That seems to have been taken out of the recommendations (given the 9th bullet point listed above), unless it’s a matter of semantics and they’ve buried it by not calling it a tax. I didn’t have time to go through, but I’m sure there will be lots of other people combing through the details of this proposal word for word.
Another point that is of particular interest to me is the sale of the ABC main warehouse. I wonder who will be listing that? *ahem* Mr. Governor, I’d be happy to take a look at it for you!
There aren’t many restaurateurs that are so widely acclaimed and well-liked as Alain Lecomte. Richmond has lost a true talent and he will be missed. Over the years I have heard lots of high praise for both Alain and his restaurant, Chez Max. Having never met the man personally, I can’t add much that isn’t already covered in the article in this morning’s Richmond Times-Dispatch — “Restaurateur Alain Lecomte dies at 46” (so go read it, *nudge*)
Fear is a strong motivator, but so is hope. They’re especially strong when they come together. It’s a special moment when we’ve made it through an especially bad economic downturn and your business starts to tick upwards for the first time.
Commercial landlords have been through that hard time right along with every other business owner, and they are ready to see that uptick themselves. They are ready to deal to get in good steady tenants. At the same time, businesses are seeing new contracts come in (I know we have!) and they are ready to start taking advantage of the deals on leases — are you?
I’m certainly not the first to point this out, and I’m taking my cue from a recent online article on National Real Estate Investor — “Office Tenants and Landlords Battle for Upper Hand”
Landlord concession packages are not likely to get any bigger… “They’re as good as they’re going to get.” The same may be true with rents, he adds. “Rents may fall in some markets a bit further, but the ship starts to turn before a lot of people know they’re on it.”
Robert Bach, senior vice president and chief economist at Grubb & Ellis, agrees. “More tenants are active now and willing to sign a long-term lease because they are more confident in their own outlook and realize now is a good time because of the concessions available.”
They’re talking about office leases in the article, but it makes just as much sense with retail and restaurant spaces, too.
Of course you never know when the economy has hit bottom until it’s too late to take advantage of the best deals. The great part is that as long as you’re not making decisions out of fear, you can keep your eye on your own business and use cues from your business activity help you decide when is the best time to move.
So if you’re seeing cues that things are getting better in your business, perhaps it’s time we talk about finding a good deal now…?
Everyone can now rest easy, dancing will no longer be tolerated in the City of Richmond! (Well, when I say “everyone can now rest easy”, I really mean everyone except for those pesky dancers.) From what I hear, dancing brings about all sorts of immorality so I am relieved that we won’t have dirty dancers parading around making light of the city’s laws. (My research really is confined to movies from the first half of certain movies from the 80’s)
I’m actually a little confused because visitors or transplants to the city are always complaining about how there aren’t many dance clubs here anyways.
Style Weekly has plenty of information in this week’s edition here, including a Q&A follow up session with a representative from the Mayor’s office.
As a tribute to the new City ordinance, here’s a video of some scenes from the movie Footloose:
Actually, this ordinance is nothing new here in the Richmond metro area. Chesterfield and Henrico have been issuing permits (or NOT issuing permits, depending on who you talk to) for a couple of years now.
Here are a few links about the stink from last year about Chesterfield and dance permits:
- Richmond BizSense article from 3/24/2009
- Midlothian Exchange article from 3/24/2009
- NBC12 article from 3/27/2009
(thanks to Richmond Good Life’s time-capsule archives for those links!)
Henrico has the same type of ordinance and dance club permits, but I recently had a tenant that had to apply for one and it wasn’t a huge ordeal.
If you’ve run against any of these dance ordinances or know of how it’s handled in other areas, I’d love to hear about your experiences. Leave a comment!
Richmond restaurants have been getting lots of love from the national cable TV shows lately — Bobby Flay has been through a couple of times (or he’s been through once and he’s coming back through again soon) and Eric Ripert was spotted scouting the Richmond restaurant scene just last week.
Recently, Man v. Food stopped into three great local restaurants for their legendary food challenges — Caliente, Black Sheep, and Buz & Ned’s. Rather than rehashing all of the details here, read this great recap of MvF’s visit to Richmond here on RVANews.com: “Man v. Food v. Richmond“
There was even a Nightline news crew covering MVF while they were here: click here for the video, which I can’t seem to embed. It’s a Hulu video, so there are about 30 seconds of commercials, then skip ahead to 7:51 in the video by sliding the bar at the bottom. Watch through about 15:52 and you’ll get to see the entire MVF report.
The reason I’m posting this now is because the Richmond episode will be airing soon, on Saturday, July 3rd at 10:30 E/P ! Set it up on your calendar, set your DVR because you won’t want to miss this!
[edit (6/26/10, 4:31pm): regardless of what the Travel Channel says, I’ve gotten multiple reports from people that their DVRs and other things have shown them that the actual premiere date is Wednesday, June 30th at 9:00pm E/P — given the incorrect info that I was relying on earlier, I feel that I should warn you that while the date has been confirmed by multiple people, I found the time through some further research on the Travel Channel site]
Every once in a while a potential restaurant buyer will ask me about how any past ABC violations may affect the ABC licensing of a new establishment. Here’s a fairly extreme case, but an important lesson to learn (from a RTD article last week, “Former Velvet strip club site can’t sell alcohol“):
Under state law, the ABC Board may refuse to allow a hearing on a license request if a license for that location has been refused or revoked within 12 months.
“It is enforcement’s position that without a significant period of time separating the Velvet reputation and clientele from that location, the reopening of a similar establishment will contribute to the reoccurrence of the same issues dealt with in the Velvet hearing,” said Francis J. Monahan, director of the law-enforcement bureau.
Oh…what’s the lesson you say? Don’t mess with the Virginia ABC board! You may not agree with them and it may suck sometimes, but you have no choice but to play by their rules if you want to remain in business.
(I wrote about Sam Moore’s ongoing ABC issues a couple of years ago, too: “Poor, poor, strip club owner…“)
Every time you turn around in Richmond, there is a new restaurant popping up…well, pretty much everywhere! This week is no exception.
I’m not going to pretend that I’ll keep you up with ALL of the openings and closing through this blog, but I’ll keep up my tradition of sharing news when I’ve come across it and when there is a particularly active week or two I’ll compile the info and point you to where I’ve seen the news.
Speaking of which:
1) The old Fuddruckers at the intersection of West Broad Street and North Parham Road has been sold to Buz Grossberg to expand his Buz & Ned’s Barbeque concept to a second location from its original home on Boulevard. That was announced a few weeks ago or so. The reason why I think it’s noteworthy today is because of Buz’s interview with Al Harris of RichmondBizSense that was posted this morning. Lots of great info on his plans for the building, and how the deal worked when his last attempt at a new store didn’t.
2) Secco Wine Bar opened this week in Carytown (Style Weekly article from last week), after at least a couple of months of public preparation (and who knows how long this was in the works before it was made public).
3) Dos Amigos Burrito opened a couple of weeks ago on MacArthur Avenue in Northside, to replace a short-lived ice cream shop (posting from North Richmond News). From what I’ve heard, it’s related to Northside Grille around the corner on Bellevue.
4) Empress is opening with a “Grand Soiree” this Wednesday, 4/28, at 2403 West Broad Street (former location of Enoteca Sogno, and Ma Musu’s West African Cuisine before that). Check out this article on RVANews for more details on the restaurant and the Grand Soiree.
AND, there are plenty more on the immediate horizon! I can think of at least 5 others new restaurants that are coming soon, but they are all at a stage that I can’t spill the beans. Believe me, that you’ll be excited when you hear (and I’ll let you know as soon as they let me!).
If there are any others that I’ve missed, please share. We have a great restaurant scene here in Richmond, and it’s only getting better as we celebrate it!
If you’re looking for commercial space for your business, or think that you might ever be looking — read this article from Entrepreneur Magazine, “How to Negotiate a Lease“. It has lots of great information on what to expect and how the process works for finding a commercial space to lease. [please ignore all of the obnoxious advertising that Entrepreneur Magazine is so horrible about, the article is worth suffering through the ads]
Be educated about the process and do your homework, but don’t let your ego get in the way and think that you can do this on your own. As the article mentions, be sure to use a commercial broker to find and negotiate the space with you, and use an attorney to review the lease documents.
There are things that you won’t know that you’re missing, no matter how savvy of a tenant you are — and those things that you missed will become painfully obvious the moment you reference your lease regarding a contentious issue 2 years from now, or the moment you hear about the space that wasn’t officially “on the market” but was half the price and better positioned than the space you chose.
I said my bit in a post yesterday, after seeing Alix’s videos — but there is SO much more that can be said, and she has a quite a few of the stories I have heard over the years about the rough days here in the Triangle. Be sure to read all about it!
There is a little-discussed part of Richmond’s Upper Fan/Museum District that was once a pretty rough area — “The Devil’s Triangle”, or as it is sometimes called, “The Bermuda Triangle”. Now it is an economic corridor with independent shops and restaurants that serve the residents of the Museum District, the Fan District, and anyone else that wants to wander through.
I lived in the area for several years back in the mid to late nineties, and I missed most of the rougher times but heard plenty about Felix’s, Cafe 21, and the Ritz — now Caliente, Cafe Diem, and Arianna’s.
We moved our offices over to 604 North Sheppard Street several years ago to be in the heart of the revitalization going on, and to show our commitment to the area. Our founder and CEO, Bedros Bandazian owns all of the commercial along this part of Sheppard Street except for the 7-Eleven, as well as some nearby commercial buildings — so there was already a strong commitment within the company to revitalizing the area. Our move made a further commitment, and of course we all patronize the surrounding businesses faithfully.
The transformation has taken another step with the most recent additions of:
- Sylvia’s Stitch & Suds (renovated coin laundrymat, now a seamstress and laundry),
- Arianna’s Grill (Italian restaurant from the extended family who also own Mary Angela’s and several others around town — built out from almost from scratch shell)
- The parking lot in the rear of the buildings at Park & Sheppard (repaved, landscaped, lighted, and available for any customers of the shops along Sheppard)
The Devil’s Triangle is located in the Museum District, which is nestled within the Upper Fan, of Richmond, VA.
This area received its name from three rough local bars, which formed a triangle. The bars have changed ownership, and the area has undergone a major transformation.
However, the nickname has stuck, and has a quirky appeal to locals–locals who never went when it was actually the Devil’s Triangle.
It wasn’t unlikely for police to find wanted suspects in the bars, or for gun and fistfights to happen almost nightly.
Rich Holden, former owner of Felix, talks about how a two block area came to be known as The Devil’s Triangle. Located in Richmond, VA, this area was home to drug trafficking, prostitution, bar brawls and gunfights. The triangle consisted of three bars, The Felix, The Ritz, and Cafe 21.
Although Holden called it “The Bermuda Triangle,” that moniker is also commonly synonymous with “The Devil’s Triangle.”
[editor’s note: Richard Holden is now the Principal Broker and President here at Bandazian & Holden, Inc.]
I’m eagerly awaiting Alix’s article to go along with the videos, and if she’ll allow me I’ll share it with you in a later post — or at least I’ll link over to it! I greatly appreciate her allowing me to use the videos here, and encourage you to go to her Vimeo site to take a look at her other work!
If you haven’t visited the Devil’s Triangle in a while, you should! Visit the Black Hand for some coffee that was roasted right there on site. Come sit on Caliente’s patio and enjoy the spring breeze while you have dinner. Come listen to some amazing music down at Cafe Diem. Or explore one of the other shops or restaurants.
[edit (4/13/10, 2:27pm): After a couple of off-blog responses, I’m curious to ask — If you are familiar with the Devil’s Triangle, please share some memories of your time there with us in the comment section below!]
The short answer is: “hard work”!
Long hours and a passion for the business are all key to the success of a restaurant. I always tell prospective buyers that are new to the business that it is not just a career, it’s a lifestyle. If you can’t throw yourself entirely into the job, you might want to consider another job.
Take a look at this recent article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch about a day in the life of a restaurant owner, “Hard work keeps fledgling pizzeria going in Henrico“.
This is a sad story about people taking advantage of trust given to them by the general public. No, it's not about the government or big-business (this time), but about the trust that we put in the waitstaff at our favorite restaurants.
Six servers at high-end restaurants in Washington, DC, were accused of stealing credit card numbers from customers and selling them to criminals who used the numbers to create counterfeit cards and charge $750K worth of items at local stores. (See the full article from the Washington Examiner here.)
Secret Service investigators cracked the Washington-area scheme
after customers began complaining to their banks of unauthorized
charges on their cards, Secret Service Special Agent Philip Soto wrote
in a sworn statement filed in Alexandria’s federal court. Soto
discovered patterns in the charges that led him to the restaurants,
where managers helped him trace the stolen information back to specific
“Every employee has a unique
number they put into the register before ringing up a charge,” Clyde’s
of Gallery Place manager Paul Walker told The Examiner. “With that
system in place, we can point back to an employee very quickly. …
It’s very traceable.”
A few lessons to be learned and points to be made in light of this story:
- Watch your credit & bank accounts for odd activity. You can't catch what you don't see.
- Regardless of the poor example these servers have give, most servers are wonderful and extremely trustworthy. Don't let a few bad apples make you disrespectful.
- As an industry, retailers and restaurateurs need to use systems to make the detective work easier (at least) and stealing private data harder (even better).
It's a shame that these stories happen at all, and with a bad economy people become even more desperate. The best that we can do is show that this type of behavior will be recognized and punished, without over-reacting and only seeing the negative.
An Open Letter (Please Eat With Us)
We tend to long for the things we have lost, but never seem to blame ourselves for not supporting them while they’re here.
by Carey M. Friedman
I can't say it any better. Go read! And when you go eat, support your local business owners.
Leave a comment and share: What are your favorite local restaurants?
This is a little outside of the Richmond-metro area, but once I saw this post by the Washington Post's GOGBlog (Going Out Gurus), I felt the need to share. Fritz Hahn has put together a great list of the new bars that are already slated for opening in 2009 in the District.
There is a lot of action here in Richmond, too. I'll be sure to share the news once the owners of each establishment give me the green light to make it public.
There may be hard times overall, but there are still entrepreneurs willing to take a chance to see their dreams come to life! If you have the money and the drive to succeed, there are a lot of opportunities and great deals for the savvy owner.
I posted last January about the pending closing of Bogart's at 203 North Lombardy Street. Since then, a new location was chosen and the construction on the new space began.
Check out this update on the status of the build-out at Cary & Granby Streets for the relocation of Bogart's in the Fan — via RVAjazz: "A drive by Bogart's" (a thorough update, too!)
Per the blog posting, the new Bogart's is on track to open "no later than" January 20th. If anyone has information, please share!
Today was the big day for the Shops at White Oak Village! The
eagerly anticipated shopping center was formally introduced to the
community this morning, and while the line of speakers patting each
other on the back for a job well done was the agenda for the event (and
well deserved!), the important news is that this is not your typical
Every developer says that their shopping center
is unique, but this time it was proven. Not only was the environment
taken highly into consideration in the construction and build-out, but
the way the traffic is controlled and the landscaping is done lends to
a very pedestrian-friendly environment.
Then again, this is the
same developer that did Short Pump Town Center and that was a new style
for the area, too. I have to say that it is refreshing to see that
there are developers doing such high quality work and not just churning
out the same strip mall over and over again.
Lately I have seen a flood of inquiries for information on the newest addition of shops in the East End of Richmond — The Shops at White Oak Village. From all of the internet traffic, it is easy to believe that this shopping center will be a huge hit.
With the GRAND OPENING occurring this Monday, October 13, it is an appropriate time to revisit the project and see how everything stands for the public unveiling. All of the shops that were revealed in the previous post (3/27/08) have been confirmed, plus quite a few more. Take a look at this page of the official website for the directory of shops.
Several comments from the previous post called for a fitness center, a Chipotle, and a movie theater. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem as though any of those are on board yet — except that there is a Qdoba scheduled to open right away!
There is a grand opening event on Monday that I will be attending, so I will be sure to report back with my impression of the overall project and see if I can bend the ear of an insider to find out about any other hot pieces of info to share!
Be sure to check back next week for the update, or just subscribe using your feed reader or by typing your email address in the "subscribe" box under my picture along the left hand side of this window (be sure to confirm your address when the service sends you their email). If there is anything else you would like for me to find out, leave a comment and I'll see what I can do!
File this under: "Some people just have too much time on their hands."
A county in the state of New York is considering legislation that would require restaurants to list the prices of daily specials. Apparently even that isn't going far enough for some folks, and these same legislators are tempted to require lists of prices for desserts, cocktails, and coffee.
I wonder when this same county is going to regulate the font on the menus and the quality of the paper that they use?
Has anyone else found this to be a problem in their restaurant experiences? I can't think of an example where the consumer "needs to be protected" from not having a list of prices.
I appreciate a good wine, but I have never felt terribly inclined to order the
most expensive wine on the list so the advice of ordering the more expensive
wines in order to get the best value (i.e., smallest markup) doesn't really
work for me. That's not to say that the advice isn't sound, only that it
doesn't fit my tastes — or budget.
usual strategy is to either find a wine that I know and like, or experiment
with a wine from a region that has won me over with good but moderately priced
being said, it is very interesting to read about the pricing strategies and
some of the reasoning behind the seemingly arbitrary pricing structures of wine
any of the information from the article rings particularly true, or you have additional advice
to share – please do!
article was found through a series of posts on other blogs: “Restaurant Wine Pricing” by pjpink at River City Food and Wine pointed to “Figuring Out
Restaurant Wine Pricing” by vcuspoon at Anything Wine, who pointed to the
original article. Visit these posts to find their perspectives on the article, as well as other comments from their readers. Thanks to both for highlighting the WSJ article!)
It is big news in Richmond when a long-standing local restaurant stalwart closes. Even the usual blurbs about openings and closings can get blown into a full-out article in the RTD.
The recent closing of La Petite France demonstrated that even titans can fall. La Petite had operated at 2108 Maywill Street since 1971, and had a strong following for its French fine-dining experience.
There are always a multitude of possible reasons why a business closes its doors, and there is no point in trying to make guesses from the outside — and it's always a shame to see it happen. The most-recent owners of the business made some statements as to why they made their decision, and you can see those in the RTD article from Thursday's edition.
As for moving forward, the building owners are prepared to make a good deal for a qualified tenant looking for a fully-equipped restaurant and has told Bandazian & Holden to find someone ASAP. Get in contact with me and let's see what we can do.
Several months ago I was very early for an appointment at a local Starbucks. I thought that it would be a great opportunity to catch up on some online research and emailing. After getting my drink and settling in, I was surprised to find that the Wi-Fi at Starbucks was no longer a free access hotspot. Instead, I had to have an account with one of the mobile phone carriers!
I was floored by the absurdity of a coffee shop without access to the internet…..and then promptly forgot about it when I realized it was a good opportunity to just relax and read a magazine or a newspaper.
A recent article on Richmond.com brought the memory back, and I thought I would share it here with you: 'Eat Beat: Wi-Fi Hotspots'. In the article, there is a partial list of locally-owned establishments that offer free internet access to their customers. The comments below the article help fill in some of the gaps in the list.
The point is that I'm glad that Starbucks is making such a blatantly selfish move that is undoubtedly driving traffic to their locally-owned competitors. I'm still floored by the mistake, but I'm happy that it gives us one more reason to seek out small businesses that truly do understand what we need.
As reported by Style Weekly in "Street Talk" this week, the final deadline has been set for closing the remaining vendors at Sixth Street Marketplace. The original deadline was August 9, 2007, but that has been extended three times due to lengthy relocation agreement negotiations and the search for two city agencies currently housed in the Blues Armory.
The deadline, as it stands now, is May 12. Deals have been struck with approval from all sides regarding the relocation packages (forgiving 50% of back rent owed and $25k for relocation expenses). There are seven remaining food vendors that were part of the negotiations.
It's good to see that things are moving forward, and the city can finally put the space to good use. Now if only I could remember what the new use was supposed to be…… Does anyone else remember?
Since there have been so many inquiries to my blog regarding The Shops at White Oak Village (see previous entries on the subject from 5/15/07 and 6/15/06), I thought it was time for an update. Considering the time between each posting on the shopping center development, maybe I should consider labeling this as an annual update…
Now there is an official website for the project, and there are confirmed tenants listed:
- Circuit City (I suppose it will be one of the new "The City" stores)
- Hyatt Place
- Red Lobster
- Sam's Club
Here's a factoid that I knew but had forgotten — the developer for The Shops at White Oak Village is the same developer that put together Short Pump Town Center and River Lofts at Tobacco Row, Forest City Enterprises. Of course, given the confirmed tenant mix so far, White Oak will be a very different shopping center than Short Pump is. That doesn't mean it won't be a good mix, just that it will be different — hopefully different in the way that reflects the needs and wants of the surrounding demographics.
It looks as though the project is still on target for a grand opening in Fall 2008, but we'll keep an eye out for any updates to that — and maybe another update before a full year passes…
[EDIT (10/13/08): Click here for the latest update on the Shops at White Oak Village.]
[EDIT (10/31/08): Click here for pictures and a post about the grand opening today!]
We’ve all seen the rants about customers that don’t tip, or the customers that are so cheap that they don’t tip properly. This post isn’t about rehashing those same tired complaints, even as unfortunately on-the-mark as they are. (Anyone that has been a waiter or bartender can attest to the truth of those anecdotes.)
This is about tipped employees getting their fair share of what they have worked so hard to earn, and about keeping yourself out of trouble if you are a restaurant owner. Starbucks just learned a $100M lesson in California, and employers everywhere need to take note.
Tip Pooling: The requirement that an employee must retain all tips does not preclude a valid tip pooling or sharing arrangement among employees who customarily and regularly receive tips, such as waiters, waitresses, bellhops, counter personnel (who serve customers), busboys/girls and service bartenders. Tipped employees may not be required to share their tips with employees who have not customarily and regularly participated in tip pooling arrangements, such as dishwashers, cooks, chefs, and janitors. Only those tips that are in excess of tips used for the tip credit may be taken for a pool. Tipped employees cannot be required to contribute a greater percentage of their tips than is customary and reasonable.
The basis of the argument in the Starbucks case in California was that shift-supervisors were sharing in the tip pool, which is against California labor law.
In fact, a call to the Richmond District Office of the US Department of Labor verified that it is not California labor law that dictates this, but instead it is Federal law. I was referred to the description quoted above, where only "waiters, waitresses, bellhops, counter personnel (who serve customers), busboys/girls and service bartenders" can participate in tip pools. That’s not to say that other employees can’t be tipped, but they cannot participate in a tip pool.
Employers, take the lesson to heart before it costs you both in back-pay and legal fees! (I’d like to point out here that I am NOT an attorney, but that’s why I called the US Department of Labor to get their opinion. There are always gray areas, and that’s why there was a court case over this. Check with your attorney to make sure you’re covered.)
That’s not usually the easiest question to field, but lucky for me I have some recent reference material on hand to help me weed through the many, many wonderful places in Richmond to eat.
The first place to start is Style Weekly‘s most recent issue, with their annual State of the Plate issue. I have read through the issue and it’s worth going through the whole thing, rather than having me point out just an article or two that I would suggest. The magazine not only gives a rundown of the best of the best, but it has a number of other restaurant-related articles that will give any foodie in Richmond a warm fuzzy feeling.
(And Nate’s Taco Truck is featured in one of the side pictures throughout the issue. I had forgotten about this gem that I had the pleasure of running into down at First Fridays a few months ago. Incredible! I highly suggest you take any chance you get to have one of Nate’s tacos.)
On the subject of food and restaurants, there is a new food festival that will highlight local chefs and local foods. "Broad Appetit" will be held on May 18th from noon to 5:00pm on the 100-300 blocks of West Broad Street.
Here are a couple of blurbs from the official press release (which can be found here) that I thought best described the new event in a nutshell:
The first annual Broad Appétit Food Festival will feature Richmond’s
favorite food purveyors, restaurants, chefs, cart vendors and artisans.
The event is free to the public and is designed to feed one’s mind,
soul and body with an eclectic mix of crafts and art, offerings from
twenty of Richmond’s favorite chefs, and a huge kid’s area complete
with original food-related entertainment and cool activities.
Renowned author and food revolution leader, Joel Salatin from Virginia’s own Polyface Farms, Inc. will be on hand to discuss the Polyface founding principle that
the ultimate safe and secure food supply is the one growing in your own
community. Joel was excited to be involved in this inaugural event
stating "celebrating local food and its answers to food fears, this
event applauds relationships between good producers, culinary artists,
and integrity food aficionados."
If you are ready to not only experience some of the area’s most talented and well-known chefs, but also open your food horizons (yummy bugs!), then put this event on your calendar.
Thanks to Richmond Food Collective for the tip on this one!
And one last minute bit of news: Style Weekly’s restaurant critic, Brandon Fox, will be on WRVA 1140-AM, on Doc Thompson’s radio show at 4pm today (Thursday). Sorry for the late notice, but I just saw the news about it a moment ago.
Despite the recent smoking ban legislation in Minnesota, some bars have fought the ban in a very creative way. There is a provision in the ban that allows for participants in theatrical productions to smoke in restaurants and bars. The bars are working around the legislation, legally, "by printing up playbills, encouraging customers to come in costume, and pronouncing them ‘actors’." (see the full article on TheWashingtonPost.com)
Again, this demonstrates that there is a segment of the population that looks forward to smoking in public and they will go out of their way to frequent establishments that cater to their wants. Those that prefer non-smoking restaurants and bars have demonstrated that there is also a market for their wants, as well. The local market has responded with a number of alternatives for smoke-haters — and I think that’s wonderful!
I applaud the efforts of the Smoking Resistance in Minnesota, and I hope that their results are instructive to the rest of the country doesn’t fall on deaf ears. Here is a quote from the article that demonstrates the desire for smoking establishments, and the harm that a smoking ban can do to the livelihood of anyone that gets in the way of the anti-smoking groups:
Proving anew there’s no business like show business, Anderson said her
theater-night receipts have averaged $2,000 _ up from $500 right after
the ban kicked in. Similarly, Bauman said revenue at The Rock dropped
off 30 percent after the ban took effect, then shot back up to normal
once the bar began allowing smoking again.
Here’s a message to the Virginia legislature regarding the *thankfully* failed smoking ban from this year and last year: Keep your mitts off! The free market is working in this case, and there is no need for legislative agendas/egos to get in the way of that.
So you don’t like smoke getting into your clothes?
-Neither do I, but if I want to go to a smoky bar then who are you to say that I can’t?
Protection for the employees?
-Then why isn’t air quality the issue instead of what people are legally consuming?
I don’t really like special interest groups (then again who does unless they agree with you?), but on this one I hope the smoking lobbyists keep fighting the good fight.
I don’t smoke, and neither does anyone in my immediate family. I don’t encourage smoking, but dammit it’s a perfectly legal activity. If you can’t stand the thought of anyone smoking, then go for a full prohibition. At least then you’re being honest. (Not that I think prohibition would work, but it would be funny to see it tried.)
Thanks to Vivian J. Post’s blog for the heads up on the article!
Sam Moore, owner of Velvet in Shockoe Bottom, has been getting a lot of press lately. If you prescribe to the “any press is good press” motto, then Velvet has been getting way more attention than his Hummers and rooftop spotlights could ever give him.
Take the following articles in the RTD as examples: Example #1 (2/26/08), Example #2 (2/27/08), Example #3 (2/28/08). That’s a lot of coverage… (edit: AND there’s another article in this morning’s RTD, on the front page no less!) [new edit (7/31/10): most of those RTD links are dead now, but here are some from that same time-frame that are live — 2/25/08 & 2/24/08]
I don’t know Sam in any personal or business sense, so I don’t have any way to know if he deserves the bad rap he’s been getting lately. It does, however, seem awfully suspicious that as soon as the news breaks that he is looking to open a Hooters-style restaurant in the old Julians building (2/13/08), his business in Shockoe Bottom is raided and everything hits the fan.
The overly anxious coverage of the charges against Sam Moore reminds me of the equally eager coverage of Nat Dance over the years of Nat Dance and Club 534 and Club Cotton. (The latest example can be read here.) Now I’m not saying this is a conspiracy by the newspaper, or even that the paper is in on it. Rather, I think that there is a force behind it whose hand is bluntly obvious, even if the players involved aren’t.
So there are a couple of restaurants/bars that I have mentioned here before that have recently celebrated grand openings, of sort.
Sushi Ninja had their official Grand Opening on Friday night. Welcome to the neighborhood!
Infusion finally has their main attraction installed and ready for visitors, as of Saturday night. The Ice Bar Cometh! (damn, I thought that was my clever byline until I looked it up and realized it was the title of the article in the RTD…)
A short but very interesting article in this morning’s RTD discusses the redevelopment plans for the area around the Diamond on Boulevard. The focus of the article was more on the deadline yesterday for developers to submit their bids on the project, but I found the details of the City’s plans for the area to be more interesting than the names of the developers
(Although, it is interesting that Douglas Development Corp. has bid on the project. That’s the firm owned by Douglas Jemal. They are firmly entrenched in DC and Maryland, and have been buying up properties downtown over the past couple of years.)
Per the advertised qualifications for the bids, the City has outlined their vision of the redevelopment:
- a new 8,000-seat baseball stadium closer to I-95 — When I first read that, I couldn’t imagine it being very much closer than the Diamond is now, but it could be moved back towards the I-95 South entrance ramp.
- redevelopment of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control headquarters, perhaps to include the relocation of the Richmond Coliseum to this site
- demolish the Diamond, using the 27-acre site for a mixed-use development
- demolish the city maintenance complex, resulting in another 27-acre site for redevelopment
- build a parking deck beside the Arthur Ashe Center
It will be interesting to see it all move forward, and to see the renderings that the chosen developer presents. If anyone has further insight on the project, I would love to hear more!
On July 26th of last year, I posted that the former World Cup/Wired space at 204 North Robinson Street was being remodeled and would open soon as Sushi Ninja. After a number of months, and overcoming a number of obstacles, the Ninja is open for business!
Tonight was a soft opening, but they are indeed open. Stop in for your first taste of Richmond’s newest restaurant. (Before another one opens up, and it’s no longer THE newest…)
That’s kind of a trick question, because kpeifer has shared with us on UrbanPlanet.org the following press release from Infuzion:
the new club in Scott’s Addition, will be opening to the public for the
first time today! The Bistro & Lounge will be open for dinner
starting at 5pm.
among the first to catch a glimpse… They are located at 1401
Roseneath Road, on the corner of Roseneath and Clay. You can get
directions and check out the menu on their website at www.infuzionlounge.com.
Hope to see you later tonight!
I will send you a full press release next week.
The "today" that they are referring to was yesterday, and so the grand opening should have been last night at 5pm. If anyone was there, it would be cool to hear your impressions (yeah, that pun was intentional).
Infuzion will be the first ice bar on the East Coast — once it arrives. Visitors to the lounge will have to wait for the ice bar to be installed at some date in the near future, but the owners are promising that the lounge will fill a gap in the Richmond nightlife scene, even sans ice bar.
Here are a few items to keep you up-to-date:
-If you haven’t already, check out the "Letters" section of today’s Style Weekly for a rebuttal to Je Depew’s "Back Page" about the failure of JUMPIN’ J’S JAVA in Church Hill. The two authors of the letters are Bill Hartsock (a Church Hill resident), and Andy Howell (former owner of AVENUE 805, currently involved in CAFE RUSTICA).
-There is a new club open in Shockoe Bottom. FALLOUT is an industrial, fallout-shelter themed restaurant/bar, taking the place of BOTTOM’S BILLIARDS at 117 North 18th Street.
-There is some activity at the old WILDCATS/MOONDANCE location at 9 North 17th Street. I couldn’t tell what was being done exactly, but there is definitely something brewing…
Since the 70’s, Richmonders have enjoyed the ambiance and live music in the Back Room of Bogart’s. This April will be the last of the original Bogart’s at 203 North Lombardy Street, as the lease will not be renewed by the new owner of the building. (per Greg Gilligan’s column in this morning’s RTD)
It was always a precarious situation, since the previous building owner would not provide a long-term lease — but, that had been the case for so long, that there didn’t seem to be an end in sight. Steve & Lainie Gratz bought the building a year ago, and have decided to renovate and reopen the restaurant in the spring of 2009.
While Bogart’s owner, Jim Bacas, is looking for a new location for his restaurant, and the new owners of the building are planning to open in the Lombardy location, in either case Bogart’s in the Fan will be changed forever. Let’s hope that this change will spawn two great nightspots, rather than merely being the end of a legacy.
Soon there will be a new Lebanese restaurant debuting on West Broad Street. The sign and the facade have already been changed at 4401 West Broad Street, formerly La Casita Mexican Restaurant.
"The Phoenician" will be opening soon, per the banner on the front of the building.
Don’t worry, the well-loved, Northside La Casita at 5204 Brook Road isn’t going anywhere…
Here are a couple of new restaurant openings for you, as gathered from local blogs:
For a primer on the Richmond Restaurant Group, definitely check out the article from this past Sunday’s RTD, "Cooking up a dynasty". It gives a good synopsis of Chef Michelle Williams, Jared Golden, and the rest of the group responsible for a number of great restaurants and bars in the city — Europa, The Hard Shell, Lucky Buddha, Cha-Cha’s Cantina, The Hill Cafe, Michelle’s at Hanover Tavern, and (coming very soon) DeLux.
I have to say that I stopped by DeLux last Friday night to see how everything looked, and it is ready to roll! The place looks incredible, and must be on the verge of opening. It is a big change from the old Southern Comfort, and I think it will have a boom of an opening.
When I saw this post (Link: Consumers say (mac &) cheese, please – USATODAY.com), my first thought was, "I wonder how long it will be before there is an all mac & cheese restaurant?" Lo and behold, take a look at one of the sections in the article:
•Manhattan mac. Two New York City restaurants sell mac & cheese as their only entrees.
S’mac has 13 mac & cheese entrees from $4.25 to $20. The most popular is a four-cheese mac; a Mexican version is planned for 2008, says founder Sarita Ekya. Her 30-seat restaurant does about 35% of its business as takeout, she says.
Supermac has versions including whole wheat and low fat. It also sells $6.95 Mac Burgers that twin it with Angus beef.
I guess it’s just one more example of the single dish restaurant, like the cereal shop that was open briefly down by VCU.
There are certain foods that everyone loves, but everyone loves different versions of the same basic recipe.
Think of the best chili you’ve ever had, or the best BBQ. Maybe it was years ago, but that first taste secured it’s place in your memory as THE BEST you could even imagine. I’m sure that everyone has a very different version of the classic dish in mind. The spices were definitely different, and the preparation method used was probably very different. In fact if you sit two of these "best" dishes side by side they may look entirely different from one another.
Pizza is one of those foods that can make or break a restaurant — or just has a minimal contribution that is largely ignored. Near obsession can take hold of a person when they think of that pizza joint three hours away that had the best pizza when they were in college.
How fresh were the toppings…
The perfect blend of seasonings in the sauce…
The best white sauce pizza ever…
How crispy or thick was the crust…
Was it greasy and thin, or thick and hearty…
You do hear a lot of opinions about the types of crusts that makes a great pizza, but usually that’s focussed on what whether it’s thick or thin, crispy or soft. I’m wondering why we never hear about the taste of the crust itself and how it was seasoned.
What brings this to mind is one of the worst pizzas I’ve had, and unsurprisingly it was an airport during a layover in Chicago (don’t attack me Chicago-pizza lovers…it was the airport part that was unsurprising!). It was an eggy pizza crust that really over-powered the pizza taste that I was kind of enjoying.
Other than the stuffed crust pizzas you hear about in the major pizza brand ads, little attention seems to be paid to the taste of the crust. Now I’m sure that’s not entirely the case, and that pizza makers around the world do pay attention to what makes a good crust. Thing is, you never hear anything about it when someone talks about their favorite pizza, or when there is an article about the best pizza joints in town.
I’d like to hear about your favorite pizza and the crust that made it special — and of course, where it was (even if it wasn’t in Richmond). Leave a comment and share with us why that crust was the best tasting ever. Remember, it’s not the consistency of the crust, but the taste that I’m asking about.
I just finished reading The Crupi Report, and there is quite a bit that I agree with…and some that I don’t. Instead of taking this post to get into the individual points that I am for or against, I wanted to share my most immediate gut criticisms of the report:
- What was up with the misspellings? I noticed a handful sprinkled throughout the report (and I wasn’t looking for them) — "lose" was mispelled a couple of times, i.e.
- What is the "medium of house prices"? I assume Dr. Crupi meant "median", but I can’t be sure. Maybe he meant average? Who knows…
- There was a quote from "A black leader" that said "I drank from the back of the bus, but it doesn’t define my life." I get the meaning and appreciate it. But, am I missing some piece of historical reference here or is that a mixed reference — i.e., sitting at the back of the bus and having to drink at a different water fountain? Given the other mistakes in the report, I don’t know whether that is a misquote or the actual words he/she used. Either way, it’s wouldn’t have used it in the report as-is.
My point is not to be nit-picky, but come on, these are pretty simple mistakes to catch and correct. Why undermine your credibility by letting them slip through? I certainly don’t think that my writing is perfect, but I’m not getting paid to produce reports that are going to be read by an entire region.
Getting past the simple mistakes, I enjoyed the overall theme of urging cooperation and overarching vision as necessary for the strategic growth of the entire region.
One of my favorite quotes from the report was: "It is ironic that while people in the counties recognize that the city can influence it with negative pollitical and economic images, they under-appreciate the benefits of what would happen if those same images were positive."
I am anticipating a great future for the Richmond-metro area, and I think that this report was a great way to generate interest and involvement by the general populace.
The new Downtown Master Plan was presented today. See the following link for a quick RTD article about it: Richmond leaders see vision of downtown – News – inRich.com.
Here are links to the different parts of the plan:
- Table of Contents
- Chapter One – Research & Analysis
- Chapter Two – Designing in Public
- Chapter Three – Foundations of the Plan
- Chapter Four – Getting There
- Chapter Five – Transportation Analysis
- Chapter Six – Housing & Market Analysis
- Chapter Seven – Implementation
It looks like a night of reading reports, between this new release and catching up on The Crupi Report. I hope to have some insightful feedback for you within the next couple of days.
[edit, 5/17/10: I realize that the links for the Master Plan no longer work, but I don’t seem to be able to find where they’ve put it. If you find it, please add a link in the comments below! — NVH]
The former movie-theater at Chesterfield Town Center is finally being redone, with the move of Barnes & Noble from across the street, the opening of a new Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, and a brand new Coldwater Creek retail store. In addition, the mall’s owners will be updating the front of the mall that faces Huguenot Road.
There have been a number of responses that I’ve seen online regarding Restaurant Week (last week), so I wanted to provide you all with a short list of where I’ve seen feedback on different experiences:
RBlog: Restaurant Week
UrbanPlanet.com "Dining -Out Scene" thread (scroll down from where this link leads to see a few reviews of different restaurants in Restaurant Week)
In Vino Veritas — blog that reviewed Zeus Gallery’s performance
A beggarly account of empty boxes — blog that reviewed Millie’s performance
River City Rapids — blog that reviewed Zeus Gallery and Amici
Congrats to all of the participants, restaurants and customers! It sounds like it was another successful year for Restaurant Week and the Central Virginia Food Bank!
As I have mentioned before, I get excited when I see a local business getting national recognition. This time around, the recognition comes in the form of being honored with the Secretary of Labor’s New Freedom Initiative Award. You can click here for all of the details on the New Freedom Initiative, and here for the details on the award itself.
The short version is that the Initiative was instituted "to promote the full participation of people with disabilities in all
areas of society by increasing access to assistive and universally
designed technologies, expanding educational and employment
opportunities, and promoting increased access into daily community life." (from the White House’s press release on it) The Award was designed to recognize businesses that make innovative use of public-private partnerships to further the goals of the Initiative.
This year, Positive Vibe Cafe on Huguenot Road was recognized with the New Freedom Initiative Award. Their mission is to train and employ people with disabilities in the food service industry, and they have done it with a style that has gained national recognition — not only in the form of this award, but in all manners of press. The RTD reports that in the two years since opening, they have trained and/or employed more than 150 poeple with cognitive or physical disabilities.
Just by working on this mission, Positive Vibe Cafe has done a great service to the community. Compounding that with the national press in recognition of their success exposes more people to their ideas, and may spawn similar operations in other parts of the country.
Congratulations, Garth and Max Larcen, and everyone at Positive Vibe Cafe on this prestigious award!
(Oh, and did I mention that the food is really good there?! If having some of the top chefs in Richmond working on the menu isn’t good enough for you, then just stop by on one of the days when one of those chefs has stopped in to pull kitchen duty.)
I don’t know how this slipped past me, but Johnny Giavos is apparently not content with the hectic pace of running 4 restaurants (3 Monkeys, Kitchen 64, Kuba Kuba, and Sidewalk Cafe). It seems he is a glutton for the punishment of opening new restaurants, too.
Here is a snippet from the end of a Style Weekly article from 9/28/07 about the National Theater:
Next door to the National, well-known restaurateur Johnny Giavos … is opening a new restaurant. The
two-story restaurant will be located adjacent to and underneath the
National with an elevator providing early access to shows for ticket
The National is on the corner of East Broad Street and 7th Street (and has its own Myspace page), and it is being renovated into a 1,500 person live music venue with a similar feel as The Norva in Norfolk, VA.
If the reception to the latest Giavos creation, Kitchen 64, is any indication then this new restaurant should be a surefire hit. I’m excited to hear more details about the concept and progress!
We have all been waiting for quite some time for the new restaurant to open at 700 North Sheppard Street (the corner of North Sheppard St and Park Ave, in the Museum District).
Arianna’s Grill made its debut last Wednesday, 10/10/07, and our office went for a big lunch there. We were able to taste pretty much all of the appetizers, and had many of the entrees and sandwiches between all of us there. Everyone has given it the thumbs-up here, and I have to say that quite a few of us have had more than one meal from there over the past week.
Rather than go into detail on everything we had, I am just going to suggest you check it out for yourself. No matter what you choose from the menu, it won’t be a bad choice.
Restaurant Week is here again! Once a year, some of the premier restaurants in Richmond band together to offer prix-fixe menus to benefit the Central Virginia Food Bank. This year, Restaurant Week is October 22-28 — next week!! The price for a three-course meal at any of the participating restaurants is $25.07.
Here is the list, straight from the CVFB website with links added for you to click through to each restaurant’s website (when available):
Amici , 353-4700
Cabo’s Corner Bistro , 355-1144
Europa , 643-0911
Hondos at Innsbrook , 968-4323
La Grotta , 644-2466
Michelle’s at Hanover Tavern , 537-5250
Millie’s Diner , 643-5512
Rowland Fine Dining , 257-9885
Sam Miller’s, 644-5465
Six Burner , 353-4060
The Hard Shell, 643-2333
The Hill Cafe , 648-0360
The Track, 359-4781
TJ’s in the Jefferson , 788-8000
Twenty-Seven , 780-0086
Zed Cafe , 261-5656
Zeus Gallery Cafe, 359-3219
So get out there next week, Richmond! If you don’t feel compelled enough by the good cause of helping the CFVB, then at least get out to treat yourself to a wonderful meal (or two or three) at a great price!!
Also, see where some other websites and blogs have featured this year’s Restaurant Week:
There is a brand new sushi restaurant ready to burst on the scene in the Fan.
Many of you have undoubtedly noticed that the old World Cup space (most recently "Wired") at 204 North Robinson Street has been closed for the past few months, and that there has been a buzz of activity around the building. The workers there have been busy renovating the entire building into a world-class sushi restaurant that that is designed to make an impression.
The details are under wraps, but watch for more news over the next few weeks. The new restaurant will be open soon under the name "SUSHI NINJA".
News from Shockoe Bottom:
- Papa Ningo is moving next door to its current location at 1703 East Franklin Street, into a bigger space that will include a dance floor.
- Deuces Wild will be opening as a dueling piano bar at the former Moondance space on 17th Street.
- BPM (Beats Per Minute) will be opening in the old Tonic Thai space at
14 North 18th Street. It will be a club that features DJs that not only
spin music, but do the same with videos. It’s something that’s big in
NYC, Las Vegas, etc.*
- The space at the corner
of 18th and Main is being fully renovated and will be opening under the
Keep your eye on Shockoe Bottom. There are a lot of good things going on down there that will help increase the visibility and the viability of the area.
*Tonic Thai was sold by yours truly. (I can’t let the opportunity for a little self-promotion pass by entirely.)
Per the RTD this morning, Toad’s Place opened last night with the Squirrel Nut Zippers, as planned.
A couple of hitches that are in the works of being resolved:
1) ABC license will not be available for another 10-15 days (so no alcohol)
2) restaurant will open in about 30-45 days
3) 2nd and 3rd floors will open once the restrooms are completed
Total capacity right now (w/o the 2nd and 3rd floors) is "just over 1,000".
Even with the small issues, I am glad to hear it is finally open.
From "UPDATE: New Downtown Hilton Hotel", posted here on 11/18/06:
And as a side note: This hotel will be a full-service upscale Hilton,
but developers are not revealing which sub-brand name they will be
Style Weekly reported this past Wednesday that HRI Properties has downgraded this site to a more limited-service Hilton brand, "Hilton Garden Inn". You may be familiar with this brand already, but the spokesperson points out that this location will have more "bells and whistles". (Actually, the Hilton in Innsbrook is a Hilton Garden Inn.)
Some news that I hadn’t seen before was regarding a full service restaurant, The Great American Grill, and an additional 25,000SF of retail space, all of which will be at the bottom of the hotel building.
The Great American Grill is already being used in Hilton hotels across the country, here is a review of one in Hampton Roads: Rise & Dine blog (Hampton Roads, VA). You can easily find other sites by Googling "great american grill, hilton", but the other pages I found didn’t have anything specific regarding the quality of the restaurant. Consistently, the description was "American cuisine, under $10", and they all seem to be in Hilton Garden Inn hotels.
No, really — there is no such thing as a bar in Virginia. As a very deliberate result of the Virginia ABC Board’s regulations on the food/alcohol ratio, there are only restaurants that happen to serve food.
A recent Food Fight article (which is the source of the previous quote) in Brick [EDITOR’S NOTE, 7/2/16: The Brick Weekly website is gone, so the links have been removed] gives a good overview of the impact this has on local business owners, and views from both sides. Mostly, it is a government regulation, and just like anything else with the Health Board or the ABC Board, as a restaurant owner it is better to just learn to live with the rules and jump through their hoops and just get back to making money.
God help anyone that can help change the system and these arbitrary limits, but it’s not worth trying to make waves until you are firmly established and can work from the inside.
I still don’t feel like I have a grasp on why this rule is in place, except for the typically cynical view that Richmond is behind the times and too much under the influence of the “Moral” Minority. The reasons that I have heard so far just ring hollow. (i.e., This law is not necessary for keeping bars from popping up on every corner. There are building codes and regulations on usage that can handle that.)
Something just feels wrong about my gut reaction against the regulation, so if someone can explain it, then please do. I’m all ears (or eyes, in the case of reading responses).
So it looks like Boulevard is on the rise. There are enough projects going on that even if one or two fall through, the momentum is still there. It’s exciting to see the area that is the introduction to Richmond for many people coming into the area off of I-64/I-95 finally being developed the way it should.
There are a couple of options on the block for the city-owned property adjacent to the Diamond. I have posted before about the proposal for the new baseball stadium there. From an article in the March 2007 issue of Richmond Magazine, there is another proposal that entails VCU using the same land as a tennis complex. The "plans include a field house, six to eight indoor tennis courts, 12 to 14 outdoor courts and a center-court stadium, as well as a possible student-housing component".
The Boulevard Square cineplex and retail development mentioned in previous posts is still on track, from what I understand.
[Cole Bucholtz] and the owners of River City Tattoo, Jessika and Rob Weaver, are opening Strong Hill Dining Company
in a building that once held Motor Europa. The three are renovating it
from the ground up, bringing in all new kitchen equipment, a bar,
booths and tables. Plus, they’re planning to install a rooftop patio
and a small private dining room for parties.
I have even heard rumors of other moves that could be very interesting, but can’t be verified at the moment.
Even smaller pieces have fallen into place over the past couple of years, with the retail shops getting face-lifts and gaining new tenants, filling in the holes.
Any suggestions as to what could keep this momentum hot? I’m all ears.
Not everywhere in Richmond, but the recent decision of a local pub has been high profile.
O’toole’s Restaurant & Pub, an Irish Pub in Westover Hills, just went to non-smoking voluntarily. A lot of people are watching to see if the move hurts or helps their business.
Personally, I think there should be an air quality bill rather than a law banning smoking in restaurants and bars altogether. That would give the owner a couple of choices if smoking gets too bad in their establishment:
1) install a powerful smoke-eater (or 2 or 3)
2) ban smoking in their establishment
I’ve been in some bars where no one was smoking right then, but I could barely breathe. BUT, I’ve been in some bars where everyone was smoking, and I couldn’t smell a trace of smoke.
So what does everyone think? If your favorite bar or restaurant were to ban smoking, would you be more or less likely to go back. Or, would you be more inclined to go to a place that you used to avoid?
I have some news for you about 2 new restaurants in Richmond that I haven’t seen reported anywhere else. (correction: I just saw a mention of the work going on at Park & Sheppard at the WoTB blog.)
Carytown Sushi is going in where Indochine was previously: 2923 West Cary Street. It will be the only sushi bar in Carytown that I am aware of.
The Ritz, at the corner of Park Avenue and North Sheppard Street, is finally undergoing renovation for a new tenant. It will be an upscale Italian restaurant, but I’m not sure of other details, including the name.
I was browsing my usual haunts this morning when I came across Richmond.com‘s article regarding suggestions for a romantic dinner out for Valentine’s Day. While no list can cover all of the great possibilities, and the ultimate choice of a romantic spot may be very different from couple to couple — I thought I would chime in with some omissions that are worth a mention.
First, the selections that Richmond.com listed:
- The Dining Room at The Berkeley Hotel
- Bistro R
- The Boathouse
- Cafe Gutenberg
- City Limit
- The Fox Head Inn
- The Lucky Buddha
- Michelle’s at Hanover Tavern
- Patina Grill
- Seven Hills Market (for take-home)
- Six Burner
- Strawberry Street Cafe
- Zeus Gallery
Please visit the Richmond.com Eat Beat article for more details on each of the above choices. But in the meantime, here are some choice selections from me:
- Old Original Bookbinders
- Avenue 805
- The White Dog
- 1 North Belmont
- Grafiti Grille
- Cous Cous
- Edo’s Squid
- Enoteca Sogno
- Ipanema (on Grace Street, not the one in Short Pump)
Wow, there are a lot more that could be added — I am curious as to which others you think should be on the list. I was keeping in mind a romantic, intimate setting that is relatively upscale. So let us hear your choices, Richmond!
Last week, the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors approved Crosland’s initial plans for the redevelopment of Cloverleaf Mall. The plans include at least 500 residential units and 200,000 SF of commercial space.
From an older report, the outparcels that have been consistently active will remain, and Kroger has signed on to build out their largest store yet in the Richmond-metro area.
This certainly sounds like it is moving along nicely, and it will help the area turn around after years of decline.
For a more thorough report of the announcement, read "Cloverleaf’s Newest ‘Place’" on Richmond.com. Here is a clip from that article that I found gives us some insight on the timeframe we are looking at for the redevelopment:
unrealistic for a project of this size to be absorbed over a period of
four years perhaps even until build out,” [James Downs, vice president for Crosland’s retail division] said. “The commercial
component, however, we see moving forward immediately.”
(For previous posts about this topic, see Something’s Moving at Cloverleaf Mall on 12-28-06)
The current issue (1/17/07) of Style Weekly has an article in the Food & Drink section called "Fire in the Belly" that I suggest everyone should read. Go ahead, read it and then come back here. (come on, it’s not THAT long)
Every time there is an article about a business changing hands, usually restaurants, the business broker isn’t mentioned. This isn’t an issue of vainity in wanting to get press coverage, but merely a business matter. I have said for the past couple of months that every time a high-profile restaurant is reported as being sold and we are not mentioned, it just perpetuates the myth that most business sales are made without broker involvement.
The article is right on track about how this activity tends to happen
very quietly — discretion and confidentiality is almost always a
concern with businesses that are currently in operation.
I will be doing periodic press releases for completed business sales going forward, and will put these press releases up as posts here, as well. This article is a great start!
There will be a follow-up posting here to go into some of the other details mentioned in the article, so keep an eye out for it!
Dana Craig, the restaurant critic/reviewer over at RTD, has posted an online poll for Richmond’s favorite restaurant. The list has been narrowed down to just the restaurants that were reviewed in the past year, so it is a shorter list than you would expect — BUT, it’s still a fun idea.
Visit the poll that Dana posted, and vote for your favorite!
The restaurants on the list are:
- Grandpa Eddie’s Alabama Ribs & BBQ
- Old City Bar
Zeus Gallery Cafe
Corner Bar & Grill
In addition, I would love to hear any others that you think should make the top list (irregardless of whether they have been reviewed lately, or how long ago they opened). Be sure to let us know why you think that your choice impressed you so much!
After a long period of silence about the status of Cloverleaf Mall, there is movement. In January, Chesterfield County officials expect to have a signed purchase agreement from Crosland Inc., who will be redeveloping the site. The buyers have been involved since May 2006, and have several versions of a proposal that calls for redeveloping the aged mall into a mixed-use development.
Several plans have been proposed since Chesterfield purchased the property in 2004, all of which include a "pedestrian-friendly community that blends residential and business components". The county has said that it will be subsidizing the redevelopment, in order to make it work.
This is a call-back to a posting several months ago (5/18/06, to be exact): New Cineplex Slated for the Boulevard? — see the post to get up-to-speed
This has been long in the works, obviously, and is still in the early stages. As Style Weekly pointed out in this week’s edition ("Merger Won’t Slow Boulevard Complex"), the architectural plans are still being drawn up.
Some interesting facts from the article:
- the new cineplex will be called Movieland
- the redevelopment project is being called Boulevard Square
- there will be 13,000+ sq ft of retail and restaurants in the development
- the area where Bowtie originally planned for a cineplex is called Jefferson Square (between Main, Cary, 3rd & 4th Streets)
Five Guys Famous Burgers and Fries is a 120-unit chain that is based out of Lorton, Virginia. They have developed a great reputation for fresh burgers (nothing kept frozen) and fresh-cut fries. There are 8 locations total in Henrico, Richmond, Chesterfield, and Mechanicsville.
Yesterday, Nation’s Restaurant News did an "Operational Spotlight" on the chain to highlight how they keep their health standards high. A lot of it had to do with the open kitchen (no hiding anything) and the risks inherent in using only fresh ground beef.
I especially liked this quote, and I think that all businesses can benefit from the wisdom:
In fact, if a customer notices something awry in terms of food
safety and cleanliness, they are encouraged to speak up. "We really
look to our customers to be our first line of defense," says
Chamberlain. There are signs posted prominently listing the number to
call for customer comments.
This is not a new practice, but the sincerity behind it goes a long ways towards making it work the way it is supposed to. The signs for this aren’t hidden in a corner of the drive-thru window. They are hard to miss, in fact.
We all ask for feedback (or at least we all SHOULD be), but how many of us are brave enough to ask for customers to call us when they notice a problem. I know there are some that do, but we need to be sure to ask for it — criticism and all.
In light of that — please give me feedback, especially if you see me missing something, or screwing something up (but be gentle!).
As I have mentioned before, I love seeing local establishments getting national media attention. When I see it, I point it out to everyone. I think it’s exciting.
Thus, when I saw the "What’s Hot In…" section of the print edition of last week’s Nation’s Restaurant News, it caught my eye. They didn’t focus on Richmond, Virginia (I’ll have to see if I can offer them some suggestions for that…), but they did focus on a nearby city — Virginia Beach!
Granted this is "Richmond Commercial & Business News", but I think it is worth some attention from us since these establishments are so close-by.
Here is the list:
Croc’s 19th Street Bistro
620 19th Street, 757-428-5444
5700 Atlantic Avenue, 757-425-5699
Seats: 250 in dining room, 30 in pub, 65 outdoors
Cuisine: Eclectic w/ seafood focus
Lynnhaven Fish House
2350 Starfish Road, 757-481-0003
Rudee’s on the Inlet
227 Mediterranean Avenue, 757-425-0850
653 Thalia Road, 757-340-1156
Cuisine: Seafood and steak
Congrats to all of the restaurants mentioned!
Every year, local restaurants join together to provide a week-long
fundraiser for the
Central Virginia Food Bank. Each restaurant provides a three course prix-fixe meal that participants can enjoy for $22.06.
This annual event takes place this year from Oct. 23-29. So get out there and enjoy some of these wonderful restaurants (for cheaper than you normally could!) and support a great cause.
A Northern Virginia developer wants to build two 18-story buildings at the bend of the James River [beside Libby Hill Park].
Falls Church-based USP Rocketts LLC is planning the development, which
would have up to 260 condominium units as well as a health club and a
restaurant, on the vacant lots next to Great Shiplock Park on Dock Street in the East End, according to its request that the city rezone the property.
A request for permission to exceed the height-cap will need to be approved by the city, and nearby residents are not thrilled by the idea. Regardless of the developer’s intentions to pour money into the surrounding area (including Libby Park and Great Shiplock Park), the overriding concern is the blocking of "the river view that inspired William Byrd to name the city he founded after Richmond-upon-Thames, just outside London."
The proposed site is the 3000 block of Dock Street, the former site of the Tarmac Concrete plant.
Tipping practices affect us all — whether you work in the restaurant industry or you just eat in restaurants. Everywhere you turn, people are giving their thoughts on how to tip, when to tip, how much to tip, etc…….
As a former waiter (and sometimes a current bartender), I know both sides of the tipping issue. I’m not here to bore you with yet another rendition of "Server vs. Customer". This is the place you come for news, and that’s what I have for you!
Yakup Ulutas, a restaurant manager in Atlanta, has founded a website (www.fairtip.org) to spearhead what he hopes will become a movement to tack on a mandatory 20% tip onto food service bills.
He believes this movement will be the cure-all for:
-servers being paid fairly
-the IRS being able to track tips earned for taxation
-the question of increasing servers’ minimum wage
Now, I understand the validity of the points Mr. Ulutas makes in his interview* with Nation’s Restaurant News. The idea of mandating a tip percentage doesn’t sit well with me, though. First off, I don’t believe that it would work as legislation — that would be like a tax to subsidize salaries for restaurant employees. Secondly, the variability of tips is what makes the job financially rewarding. It’s like any other sales-oriented job with commissions. Sometimes you have a $300 night and sometimes you have a $20 night. It just comes with the territory.
*in order to access the article, there is a short sign-in form — if you don’t want to fill it out, just take a look at www.fairtip.org
A couple of months ago, Wine Spectator ran an article that highlighted the best wine lists around the country. Richmond got its own spotlight, and Tripp Fenderson transcripted this list to his blog. The post in question is "Wine Friendly Richmond Restaurants".
I could give you the list here, but I think that would kind of be cheating. Just go check it out for yourselves.
Congratulations to all of the local restaurants that were featured!
As reported by Haduken.com, the long-standing Mexican restaurant located on West Cary just west of VCU was demolished today (9/14/06).
As I posted on a comment there:
I represented a client that was in negotiations to buy El Rio Grande
at the beginning of the year. The deal didn’t happen, but I did learn
that Eck Enterprises is rebuilding there, and the plan was to have at
least one more restaurant take it’s place.
They were hoping
to have El Rio Grande stay and intended to help them through the
construction, but I don’t know the outcome any more that what you can
see for yourselves.
Sad to see a landmark like that go away, but sometimes it is time to move on. I have seen the plans from several months ago, and the planned buildings look great! I am excited to see how this stage of redevelopment from Eck Enterprises will come together.
(See also: 2006 Golden Hammer Awards)
The new eatery at 823 W. Broad St. was designed for folks who breakfast all day, or at least between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. To accompany its 37 cold cereal choices (plus oatmeal, come winter), Out of the Box offers six kinds of milk, eight kinds of fruit and three candy toppings.
Plus juices, coffees, teas, energy drinks, muffins and yogurt parfaits.
It’s a simple concept not unlike building your own burrito or salad. Belly up to the corrugated aluminum bar, name your poison and shuck out $1.99 to $3.99 for a 16- to 32-ounce snap-crackle-and-popalicious bowl of sugary goodness.
"Out of the Box Cereal Co." is a very interesting concept, apparently borrowed from a franchise that is popular in other metro areas. I heard about this last year, when the news of the impending opening was floating around.
I have to say that I’m skeptical, but interested to see how it does. (And interested to try it out!)
Apparently, there is a fad of restaurants opening with a single-item men, i.e., "I heard of a store with nothing but french fries with 20 different sauces!". hmmm…
If you haven’t seen the Richmond Times-Dispatch this morning, pick it up. There are quite a few good articles related to business and real estate today.
One in particular that I want you to note is the profile on Ed Eck. This man and his company have done (and continue to do) a great service for Richmond in redeveloping the area just west of VCU, specifically along the West Main St and West Cary Street corridors. (If you are struggling to identify where I mean, think of the pastel colored buildings along West Main Street, Mulligan’s, the old El Rio Grande, Gold’s Gym, etc.)
Congratulations to Ed for winning the Andrew Asch Developer Award, from the pool of 2006 Golden Hammer Awards, from A.C.O.R.N. (Alliance to Conserve Old Richmond Neighborhoods) for "contributions to historical conservation".
Congratulations to all of this year’s winners and nominees!
Well, I guess it’s official. The print version (8/21/06) Nation’s Restaurant News had a 4 and a half page article on the "horrible, horrible" slump in fast-casual dining sales are compared to last year.
The article does point out, however, that while some national chains and independents are experiencing severe losses compared to previous years’ sales during the same period, others are experiencing record growth.
I think the real story here is: "Consumers’ Dining Habits Have Changed". Some styles of restaurants are benefitting from it and others are struggling. Nowhere have I seen industry-wide numbers reporting a decrease in sales — and even if I had, not everyone reports their numbers. (Not to discount the numbers reported entirely, but one has to keep in mind the limitations of statistics.)
It is no fault of NRN, or the other media that has covered this story, since the object to selling stories and publications is sensationalism (to a point).
It will be interesting to see if this trend continues, or if it is just a consequence of the high fuel prices.
(See also: Slump in Casual Restaurant Sales from 8-25-06)
USA Today posted a story today regarding the actions that the national casual chains (like TGI Friday’s and Applebee’s) are taking to combat the recent slump in sales.
I wasn’t aware of a national slump in casual restaurant sales, and I try to follow these things pretty closely. It does make sense, though, with the overall slowing of the economy.
I am curious as to how this is affecting the local restaurants, but I haven’t heard anything through the grapevine. The local independents would more likely chalk it up to the summer slump that is typical for Richmond. (Richmonders tend to leave town for summer vacation at a rate that exceeds vacationers coming to Richmond.)
One of Shockoe Bottom’s most heralded redevelopment projects smells like chicken-wing grease, charges a lawsuit filed two weeks ago.The landlord of Canal Crossing, at 101 S. 15th St., is suing a tenant — the operator of a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant — claiming the persistent smell of grease is seeping into posh neighboring offices and disturbing other tenants.
You can read all the play-by-play details for yourself in the above-referenced link. I just wanted to point out why landlords do (or should) think ahead when allowing a particular business to set up shop in their buildings. I love restaurants, and do a lot of business with restaurants, but even I have to admit that they have an impact on the other tenants in the building — especially a busy and successful restaurant such as Buffalo Wild Wings.
I certainly don’t know the particulars of the case, so I don’t entertain the idea that I know what is exactly going on here (so my comments should not reflect on how the case should be handled).
The key here is: Before you accept a tenant, think about how that business will affect the rest of the tenants in your property. In the same vein, think about how the tenant will affect your property itself. Heavy usage means more wear and tear, which should be reflected in the upfront negotiations — and not brought up as a surprise later.
Shopping centers are relying less and less on traditional anchors, such as department stores. The latest trend is to use restaurants, grocery stores, and movie theaters.
We have seen the popularity of the open-air malls, such as Short Pump Town Center and Stony Point Fashion Park. The traditional malls have taken hits not only from these new formats, but also from discount super-retailers like Walmart and Target.
Shopping habits have changed, undeniably.
The Washington Post this past Sunday had an article that went into this issue in depth. Here is an excerpt that I thought was particularly insightful:
Restaurant-anchored developments may also attract wealthier shoppers. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, people who ate at full-service restaurants four or more times per month were more likely than the average adult to shop at department and specialty stores and less likely to shop at discount stores. Their average income was $65,483, compared with an overall average of $52,300 for those surveyed.
Traditional malls, meanwhile, are grappling with tepid department-store sales and closings. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, same-store sales at department stores were up just 1 percent in February, the last month for which data were available.
While students are the not always the best tenants, there are lots of good reasons to buy investment properties in college areas.
College enrollments expected to rise by almost 1.6 million students, or
15 percent, over the next 10 years, according to the U.S. Department of
Education, and the number of graduate and professional students is
growing even faster, at almost 25 percent.
With the increase in students, there will of course be a rise in professors, administrative staff, space needed by the colleges, and supporting industries (research, retail, restaurants, etc.). While the article at REALTOR� Magazine Online -Daily News- College Town Properties Are a Smart Buy focussed on small college-dominated towns, this is a very good sign for Richmond. With Randolph Macon, VCU, UR, VUU, and the community colleges here, the areas around each of these schools will feel the impact.
Now is the time to jump in and start investing for the future growth, especially since the market has slowed down just a bit.
[Source: Dow Jones Business News, Jennifer Openshaw (07/04/2006), cited in the article mentioned above]