If there's one thing Layne Ashley Summerfield has learned about opening a food-service business in Richmond, it's that money and time estimates are usually low and wrong. That hasn't daunted the North Carolina native, who at 33 is about to open Wine and Design, a franchise of a 20-store chain, in a former pole-dancing studio at 2707 W. Broad St. It's taken a year for her to navigate the labyrinth of permits, lawyers and inspections, but she expects to open before Labor Day in a fully renovated space.
The concept: Patrons come in for social, two-hour painting sessions led by local artists. Summerfield tapped into the project after spending a date night painting and sipping at a Raleigh, N.C., location of the business, and saw potential for Richmond. Her Wine and Design will be the first to serve soups, salads, appetizers and sandwiches, along with craft beers and Virginia wines.
Abernathy Bland and Claire Wall, both working in mixed media, will be among the host artists, helping guests with all levels of experience express themselves with 30 shades of acrylic paint on 16-inch-by-20-inch canvases. Guests nosh and sip, and at the end, "they take home a good conversation piece and a memory," Summerfield says. The fee is $35; refreshments are less than $9 and beverages are in the $3-$7 range. Customers also may bring their own bottled wine.
Wine and Design operates Tuesdays through Saturdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m., with afternoon sessions for children on Saturdays and adults on Sundays. Private parties and fundraisers include Paint Your Pet to benefit the Richmond Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and seasonal themes. "It's just a really fun way to hang out with your friends and meet new friends in a very casual environment that's not intimidating at all," Summerfield says. The 3,000-square-foot space can hold 124 people at long tables. An art gallery and a gift shop offer paintings and objects for sale or inspiration.
2707 W. Broad St.
To customers with love: Moore Street Café is celebrating its 13th anniversary this month at 2904 W. Moore St. by thanking loyal customers with raffles and prizes. It's also seeking suggestions for new dishes. If your idea makes it onto the menu, the cafe says on Facebook, "We will name the item after you!" As Scott's Addition prepares for a wave of change (En Su Boca, Fat Dragon, and the almost-new Lunch, among others) the old standbys hope to stay in the mix. Moore Street Café serves an affordable, diner-style breakfast and lunch weekdays from 6 a.m.-2:30 p.m. 359-5970. moorestreetcafe.com.
With regrets: Owners Kevin Wilson and Justin Adly are thanking customers for an almost-two year run at the Cellar Door, 1600 Monument Ave., in the Stuart Court apartment building. Theirs was one of the more critically appreciated food businesses to operate out of the subterranean setting, and the Peruvian chicken in all of its presentations was a standout. Its "flavors were the real deal," Style restaurant reviewer Karen Newton says, and the place "was a favorite for intimate Sunday evening eating and drinking. But it's a loss as a small music venue, too. I was there the Saturday night before they closed, naturally for a show, and while the air conditioning was almost nonexistent, it was a great night of regional and local music. I'm not the only one who will miss this place."
Cellar Door owners said the slow summer months have been "a death knell for our struggling enterprise," and that the staff "exceeded our expectation time and again, earning our respect and friendship. A million thanks to everyone who has poured their hard work into the often-thankless service industry."
She be free: What else can the Tobacco Company Club do to lure female customers? Ladies get free cover before 11 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, with "specials specifically for party girls." It begins with a launch Aug. 23 to give away Bethenny Frankel's Skinnygirl cocktails with passed appetizers and dancing.
1201 E. Cary St.
More closings: The Belvidere at Broad has closed after a three-year run; the business and property are for sale. Carena's Jamaican Grille on Midlothian Turnpike is closed, at least temporarily, during renovations to the shopping center and restaurant building. Owner Carena Ives is expected to operate a food truck in the interim.
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