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Weekly Food News: Spoonbread and Laura Lee’s set to open, draconian liquor laws, and more

News on two new restaurants set to open their doors, a restauranteur fighting “the man” on liquor ratios, and a bit of nostalgia as a chain closes.

Trevor Dickerson



Spoonbread Bistro set to bring southern, French-inspired cooking to The Fan

Spoonbread Bistro, a new restaurant from seasoned local veteran Chef Michael Hall, hopes to open in mid-September at Floyd and Robinson in The Fan. Hall, former executive chef at the now-closed M Bistro & Wine Bar in Rocketts Landing, had a stint at the 2300 Club in Church Hill before taking over the soon-to-open space at the corner of Floyd Avenue and Robinson Street. The building was most recently home to Tex-Mex spot Jorge’s Cantina and was previously The Fanhouse.

Hall told us during a visit on Tuesday evening he plans to host a special preview cocktail party for neighbors adjacent to the restaurant before opening, if all goes to plan, on September 16th.

We popped in Tuesday evening for a quick tour and snapped some photos. Check them out here along with some details on the cuisine and interior, which is coming along nicely.

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Laura Lee’s in Woodland Heights to open next week

Kendra Feather (who owns and/or has a hand in Ipanema, The Roosevelt, Garnett’s Café, and the WPA Bakery location in Church Hill) is set to open her latest venture, Laura Lee’s, in Woodland Heights next Tuesday. The restaurant is a family affair–it’s named for Feather’s mother. She’s also brought in her brother-in-law Josh Loeb as chef.

Karri Peifer with has all the details on what to expect, a menu preview, and more.

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Restauranteur takes aim at Virginia ABC over liquor sales ratios

William “Mac” Mccormack, a local restauranteur unafraid to share his opinions on a variety of industry and city issues on social media in the past, is taking the Virginia ABC Board to task over what he calls “an arcane and draconian law” that requires restaurants to maintain a strict ratio on liquor to food sales. Mac, owner of three area restaurants including McCormack’s Whiskey Grill in The Fan, The Big Whiskey Grill at Regency Square, and McCormack’s Irish Pub in Shockoe Bottom, has filed a lawsuit challenging the Commonwealth’s mandate that restaurants’ food sales make up at least 45% of total sales–a regulation that’s landed his Fan restaurant in hot water with the state board simply because of the price of many of his upscale and pricey whiskeys, which can quickly outpace the price of a meal. He took to social media to write, in part:

So the fan restaurant “fails to qualify as a restaurant” based on our food to liquor ratio (2nd year in a row) because we sell such high end spirits.. and did you know that you dont (sic) have to sell food to meet your ratio on beer or wine sales?? Most places focus on beer because they dont have to sell any food to make up for that sale.. well the business model at The Whisky is more high end of a restaurant than most places surrounding us, and yet we “fail to qualify as a restaurant” because of the food ratio laws.

Click here to read the full post, including an article from publication Virginia Lawyers Weekly outlining Mac’s fight.

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Piccadilly Caféteria shutters after three decades

And finally today, some bittersweet, and yet perhaps unsurprising news that might make you just the slightest bit nostalgic. Piccadilly Caféteria, you know, that place that–if you’re anything like me–you may have visited with your elderly grandparents a few times growing up but would probably never choose to go on your own–has shuttered its West Broad Street location after more than three decades, as WTVR reports:

Max Jordan, Piccadilly Vice President of Marketing, confirmed the news to CBS 6 saying, “We always consider a store closure our very last option, but it is sometimes necessary as we navigate the ever-changing environment of the restaurant industry.”

Jordan did not specify what drove the restaurant’s decision to close, but did say it was a business decision. He added, factors such as rent, demographic change and others could drive a location to close.

Read the full story here.

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