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Sure, there's a Starbucks right across the street, but that's not causing Jeff Grant to flinch. Bring it on, he says: "We think it's a good little challenge." So he's in demolition mode at the former Luna Grove deli, conquering a concrete wall to make a bigger sidewalk and a newer, cooler building. And then he's installing Café Caturra Coffee & Wine
, the third in his ambitious business plan for a local coffeehouse with the added oomph of made-to-order food, two dozen wines by the glass, house-roasted coffee beans and a well defined strategic mission that will soon extend to other states.
"Our business is soaring," Grant, 28, says of the Café Caturra operation he founded three years ago. Working with CEO Dan Brantingham and a high-profile list of 70 investors, he has deals pending in North Carolina and Georgia, with a growth projection of 22 corporately held stores in the next seven years, including others in Richmond. Two Midlothian locations are up and running, testing ground for the concept.
The Westhampton cafe at 5811 Grove Ave. should open by summer with indoor and outdoor seating and daily service. "We want customers to have a memorable social experience that's sophisticated yet approachable," Grant says. "Artisan coffee by day, boutique wines by night, light and fresh food and a lively, laid-back atmosphere -- our customers have reacted passionately and we want Richmond to be proud we're based here."
"We're not reinventing the wheel," Brian Randolph says of his new venture with co-owner Tony Teta, "but we want people to come here and have a good lunch experience that's fresh, hot and consistent." He's talking about Tony's 4th St. Grill
, going into a completely scrubbed-down spot where 4th St. Café used to be, at 9 N. Fourth St. downtown. "It's clean and the kitchen is brand-new," Randolph says, and his New York-style deli sandwiches will be bigger than average on bread baked daily. The no-smoking, 50-seat cafe serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday, beer and wine, and should open this week. 644-8669.
Feast of Senses
Tongues are wagging in anticipation of Broad Appétit, the first annual celebration of food and art set for Sunday, May 18, in the 100-300 blocks of West Broad Street. The free event includes food-related entertainment, 25 top Richmond chefs competing in a "To Die For" contest and an unrelated presentation on safe foodstuffs from noted author Joel Salatin. Dreamed up by Kathy Emerson of Quirk Gallery, the event is sure to draw tons of participants. See details at www.broadappetit.com.Click here for more Food & Drink