John Van Peppen hopes to start a renewal at the 17th Street Farmers’ Market as he brings an upscale dining presence to a prominent corner in Shockoe Bottom. He’s in the midst of what he hopes is a six-week redo of the former Café Gutenberg at 1700 E. Main St., turning the two-level historic building and former peanut factory into a 135-seat space serving “a contemporary interpretation of Continental cuisine.”
Van Peppen, whose restaurant credits include Fleming’s, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and DeFazio’s, is redecorating the space using furnishings from the recently-closed Copper Grill franchise restaurant at Short Pump. A chef with longtime Richmond roots is about to sign on to prepare Braveheart steaks, fresh seafood and sides such as extra-smoked Gouda mac and cheese. Wines and craft cocktails will be served at a large new bar; outdoor dining and an upstairs private party space are also getting facelifts as construction moves forward on Van Peppen’s tight timeline.
“My vision is to try to grow this farmers’ market,” Van Peppen says, “and to buy ingredients from farmers who in turn will get exposure for their businesses.” To work at Arcadia, whose name is drawn from Roman mythology, the owner says “people have to have the hospitality gene, and be prepared to take care of guests’ every need – because hospitality is the cornerstone of this business.” Michelle Graziano, formerly of Fleming’s, will handle special events. Follow the restaurant’s progress at arcadiarichmond.com