Sally Bell’s Property Sold to VCU 

Longtime bakery to look for new site.

click to enlarge Will the world turn upside down if the cupcakes don’t? Virginia Commonwealth University has bought the property that houses the famed Sally Bell’s Kitchen.

Scott Elmquist

Will the world turn upside down if the cupcakes don’t? Virginia Commonwealth University has bought the property that houses the famed Sally Bell’s Kitchen.

UPDATE: Sally Bell's Kitchen co-owner Scott Jones says the business plans to continue.

"The sale of the property has been in the works for a year. VCU has been supportive and a great partner in this deal. We have no intentions of closing the operations of Sally Bell's Kitchen. We are at the beginning of some changes that will come with the eventual move to another location but we intend to keep Sally Bell's Kitchen as true to its roots as we can in this competitive market. Martha and I are committed to continuing the amazing legacy that is Sally Bell's Kitchen and we have been and are developing a plan for now and the future."

They have three years to look for a new space, but the deal is done: Sally Bell’s Kitchen at 708 W. Grace St. is moving out, and Virginia Commonwealth University is coming in. The property sale closed Thursday. Eventually, a dormitory might be constructed there, but for now the bakery can continue to operate.

Sally Bell's is likely to move to a new location, possibly in the Jackson Ward area near its current space.

Sally Bell’s Kitchen, established in 1924, is in the midst of a renaissance and was named last month as one of Saveur magazine's 100 food favorites across the nation. Recent years have seen changes, including last week’s introduction of a kitchen-based outside business, Red Eye Cookie Co., which bakes there in the evenings but is not otherwise affiliated.

Sally Bell’s was featured in last summer’s Southern Foodways Alliance symposium here, and is one of Richmond’s most enduring culinary traditions. Customers have lined up for string-tied box lunches for generations.

The business has a café at the Richmond History Center downtown that is a lunchtime destination for its ham rolls, deviled eggs, potato salad and cupcakes using the same recipes of 90 years ago.

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