There's a bit of separation anxiety, Michelle Williams says, but she's sold off two of her restaurants to make way for a new one, DeLux, a loungey diner set to open in the former Southern Culture space at Addison and Main by summer.
Williams and partner Jared Golden, owners of Richmond Restaurant Group, well-known for their holdings here, have sold The Lucky Buddha to their former partner Robert Kaplan and Cha Cha's Cantina next door to David Bess. They will continue to operate Europa, The Hill Café, The Hard Shell and Michelle's at Hanover Tavern. Both buyers share long associations with the sellers, and Williams says the deal has been in the works for some time.
"The [restaurants they'll keep] are much bigger animals in terms of volume and the time needed to run them," she says, "and with DeLux coming on, that will keep us even busier." Add to that an expansion at Michelle's, now doing weddings in the backyard tent and patio, and personnel shifting as chefs move among the properties, and it's full speed ahead as the new place moves through its final construction blitz.
DeLux will have sliding windows on two sides, an upstairs fireplace and bar, half-round booths downstairs near a central staircase and curvy bar, and eventually a patio with fireplace and seating for 30. Breakfast, lunch and dinner of the comfort-food variety will be served daily.
Also making news in the local restaurant world is Dan Brantingham's move from The Restaurant Company, where he was president (its properties include Can Can), to an expanded franchise venture at Café Caturra, a coffeehouse-café with roots in Midlothian.
Founder Jeff Grant brought in Brantingham to oversee growth of the chain, which unveils its second location at Midlothian Village Square next month.
Café Caturra roasts its own coffee, serves wine and house-made fare and has occasional music in a chic, suburban setting on Alverser Drive. The new location will serve as a prototype (or concept store in industry jargon) for future roll-outs.