Carytown


A large store is about to be vacant in Carytown, hopefully soon to be inhabited by something exciting and interesting.

Today’s TD reports that Richmond Piano is abandoning the city for Western Henrico, thus leaving their large (approx. 6,000 sf?) building open for someone else to move into:

Look for Richmond Piano to move from Carytown, where it has been for more than 25 years, to western Henrico County.Owner Douglas Wurz said he bought the Ethan Allen furniture store building at 10300 W. Broad St. Ethan Allen plans to relocate that store to one that is under construction in the Towne Center West shopping center, just west of Short Pump Town Center mall.

Wurz hopes to be in his new digs later this fall.

The 12,000-square-foot building he bought is twice as big as his existing store at 3133 W. Cary St. “I love Carytown, but my customers want the teaching program and this will enable me to expand the teaching program,” Wurz said.

“We’ve been here a long time and I hate to leave the area, but this was an opportunity for us and we thought that the West End was where our type of customer was going out to shop,” he said.

While I hate to see businesses leave the city for the suburbs, a business- like a piano shop- that doesn’t attract casual pedestrian traffic perhaps doesn’t need to be in Carytown- one of the few truly pedestrian-friendly shopping areas in Richmond. I mean, who’s going to be strolling along Cary St. and buy a piano on a whim? It’s a destination shop.

So here’s hoping something new comes along soon!

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As promised, some Carytown news for your Monday evening: Boaz & Ruth, a local non-profit store will be opening a location for 3 months at 3445 W. Cary St (across from the McDonald’s) in the old Martha’s Mixtures building.

Boaz & Ruth provides job training for folks just released from prison. It started out training people in furniture restoration and in running a retail store. It has since expanded with other business ventures, including a moving company, house restoration, catering, and a cafe. The used and antique furniture store now has 2 locations, the original in Highland Park (3030 Meadowbridge Rd.) and one at 3rd & Main St. downtown.

Why are they opening a third location for only 3 months in Carytown?

Martha Rollins, the Martha in Martha’s Mixtures, used her expertise in running an antique furniture store to start Boaz and Ruth; she recently decided to close Martha’s Mixtures and focus her energy on Boaz and Ruth. The building in Carytown is for sale (may have already sold, actually?), but until the real estate deal is finished, Martha decided to use the space as another location for Boaz & Ruth’s furniture business.

There’s a confusing conglomeration of signs out front (but none telling the hours!), but don’t be intimidated. The nice people at the store told me they’re open 10-5, Monday – Saturday.

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So go get some inexpensive used or antique furniture and help out a good cause while it lasts – in Carytown at least. Then after that, be sure to check out their other 2 stores.

Today, apparently, is store-closing-news day. Richmond.com interviews Owen Suter, III who reveals that they’re consolidating their operations and closing their Carytown store- currently located on Ellwood across from the Belmont library branch. Their manufacturing and showroom will now both be located at 4408 W. Broad- within the city limits.

Viva Mexico is open! I scanned and posted the menu they gave me. Click here to see the menu. Here’s their description of the restaurant from the front page of the menu:

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I eagerly await a review from one of the many Richmond foodie blogs.

Also, it turns out they’re already got another location over on Southside at Hopkins and Chippenham, which got an excellent review from the TD.

In other CT restaurant news, there’s Ben & Jerry’s signs in the old laundromat, and the washers & dryers are gone. No opening date is posted, however. Anyone know if they’re reusing the old building or demolishing it and building something new?

5 restaurants, that is, if you count Ben & Jerry’s which is slated to open at the site of the laundromat across from the Byrd.

So it’s to be:

1. Ben & Jerry’s

2. Weezie’s Kitchen (named after a dead pug)- at the old Limani’s site (and the short lived Duro’s). They’ve had their ABC license application in the window for a long time. Richmond magazine interviewed the owner, but neglected to mention an opening date. He said they’ll serve “comfort food with a focus on seasonal freshness.”

3. Carytown Sushi- at the old Indochine. I haven’t seen any details as to design, pricing, or opening date yet.

4. Viva Mexico – at the old Mom’s Siam, sign’s been up for a couple months. There’s a phone number listed I keep meaning to call and ask for details. Hopefully it’ll be better than Nacho Mama’s.

5. Karsen’s – this is the restaurant Style mentioned a few week’s ago founded by three former Zeus Gallery Cafe employees. It’s on the 3400 block (across from Dogma and the McDonald’s), in a building that was a high end gift shop, I think called the Silver Spider?, and very very briefly housed Carytown books. Richmond magazine is reporting that it will be “upscale but casual” and open in the spring. It’ll seat 110 people. I heard them interviewing at Blue Mountain Coffee several weeks ago, and overheard that entrees will be in the $20 range.

For me, not the most exciting list, though authentic Mexican (if it’s to be such) and sushi are nice additions to Carytown. But we’ve got Bev’s for ice cream and plenty of casual upscale and southern comfort restaurants in this city. Not that I’m complaining about new restaurants, I just keep hoping for a little more daring and creativity in this city’s restaurant scene.