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Lady N’awlins Cajun Cafe in the Fan to close doors next month after 12-year run

Inflation, food costs, and staffing issues were cited among reasons for the closure.

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Longtime Fan restaurant Lady N’awlins Cajun Café is closing its doors at the end of the month after a 12-year run. Owner Jake Crocker shared the news on his personal Facebook page Friday afternoon, announcing the Cajun restaurant would shutter September 4th and citing inflation and staffing issues among the reasons for the closure.

The basement bar was a staple of the upper Fan since 2012 for many over the years, your humble author included.

The full post follows from Crocker:

Well folks, for those that don’t already know or haven’t picked up on all the hints that staff have been dropping, we’re planning on wrapping up operations at Lady N’awlins in the next few weeks. We are open for limited hours now based on staff availability. Our final day will be Sunday, September 4th.

With the escalating cost of doing business across the board and the dramatic drop-off in people dining out here and everywhere this summer, it simply doesn’t make economic sense to keep pushing. We’ve held this place down for almost twelve years and are extremely proud of our run. People doubted a Cajun restaurant would work in Richmond, but it did and lasted vastly longer than most predicted and profoundly touched many lives along the way.

It’s been a rocky road, particularly the past two and a half years having to close not once, but twice during the pandemic. We battled through and a year ago were overrun with business, but couldn’t find enough staff to handle it. We persisted and honestly thought we were in the best place we’ve ever been just a few months ago, but this summer everything changed. We’re not the first to make this decision as a result and certainly won’t be the last.

Life is short and after some agonizing soul searching with my amazing wife Chantel Crocker we decided it was time to close this chapter of our lives so we can start the next one. This is not a decision we took lightly as this is where we met and a place we’ve both put our hearts and souls into. She actually fell in love with the restaurant before she even met me, and for that alone, I’ll always be grateful for Lady N’awlins.

As for what’s next for the space, who knows? Conversations are being had and the door is open for other discussions. But as for us, we’re locking the doors for the last time on September 4th and we expect a parade of people we love to keep coming in as they have been this whole week with word leaking out. If and when someone else unlocks those doors again, we’ll be excited to be its first and frequent customers. As for what is next for us, that’s a mystery. I’m putting my marketing consulting company Crocker Strategy back on the front burner and I’m still part-time working on behalf of the Virginia National Guard. The restaurant was my primary income so I’m certainly open to options, but my thirteen years as a restauranteur will be coming to an end and I’m grateful for the experience. The same can be said with Chantel, who’s been on this corner with me for the past eight years making this thing go.

I’d like to thank all the relationships I’ve made during my time at this crazy corner of Main Street. I’m grateful to the staff, regulars, partners, vendors, family, friends, neighbors and even those that just popped in only once to check us out. I always hoped we’d create a place that was meaningful and more than just a business. We did that not just once but with F.W. Sullivan’s, twice! “The Lady” however always seemed to resonate a bit deeper.

I am extremely grateful for enough memories to fill a million lifetimes and I’m very excited to turn the page and write the next chapter. Thank you from the bottom of our purple hearts for the years of love you all have shown toward Lady N’awlins!

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.

Business

Torchy’s Tacos opens second Richmond location at Carytown Exchange this week

On the heels of its Short Pump opening earlier this month, Torchy’s Tacos is getting ready to launch its second Richmond-area restaurant. Located at 3510 W. Cary St. in Carytown Exchange, this new location opens on February 1st and joins Charlottesville and Short Pump as Torchy’s third Virginia location.

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On the heels of its Short Pump opening earlier this month, Torchy’s Tacos is getting ready to launch its second Richmond-area restaurant. Located at 3510 W. Cary St. in Carytown Exchange, this new location opens on February 1st and joins Charlottesville and Short Pump as Torchy’s third Virginia location.

To celebrate the new restaurant, Torchy’s will host a preview party on Monday, January 30 from 5-8 p.m., where the community is welcome to attend and enjoy a complimentary meal, including tacos, queso, beer samples, N/A beverages and more. All alcohol sales and tips will be donated to the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.

Torchy’s is also kicking off grand opening day on February 1 by offering the first 100 guests in line at 10 a.m. on opening day a limited-edition Torchy’s Restaurant Opening T-Shirt, which will grant the lucky Taco Junkie a year of free Green Chile Queso each time they wear it to the Carytown Exchange location.

The Carytown location boasts a 4,445-square foot dining room coupled with an outdoor patio, where guests can enjoy options like the Trailer Park taco, plant-based Migas taco and Torchy’s Taco of the Month while sipping fresh-made margaritas and signature cocktails. At Torchy’s, every taco, queso and margarita is hand-crafted and made-to-order.

The restaurant’s hours of operation are:

  • Sunday: 9 am-9 pm
  • Mon-Th: 10 am-10 pm
  • Friday: 10 am -11 pm
  • Saturday: 9 am – 11 pm

Founded in a food trailer in Austin in 2006, Torchy’s Tacos elevates the traditional street taco with unique flavor combinations that include responsibly sourced, high quality ingredients from around the world. Follow Torchy’s Carytown Exchange on Facebook or download the Torchy’s App to join the Taco Junkies Rewards Club to keep up with the latest local news and offers.

Torchy’s Carytown Exchange is currently hiring for all restaurant positions, including cashiers, bartenders, food runners, expo, prep, grill cooks, and dishwashers. Those interested in living the taco dream can visit torchystacos.com/careers or stop by 3510 W. Cary St. to apply.

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We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Business

PHOTOS: Grow @1717 Accelerator honors childcare businesses in Richmond

Capital One Financial Corp (COF) this week recognized seven licensed home base childcare providers for their completion of the [email protected] Accelerator, a 12-week small business program designed to help strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem and elevate the Richmond region as a destination for innovation.

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Capital One Financial Corp (COF) this week recognized seven licensed home base childcare providers for their completion of the [email protected] Accelerator, a 12-week small business program designed to help strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem and elevate the Richmond region as a destination for innovation.

Cohort members received $5,000 in funding to support business stabilization and growth, along with a business needs assessment, 90-minute learning workshops, skills-based support from COF associates, and a network of peer mentors. The cohort was selected and funded in partnership with ChildSavers, a non-profit that provides children’s mental health services and childcare resources to Richmond residents.

“We know that family day home care is the most common form of childcare in this country, but oftentimes, home-based providers are the most overlooked for support as small business owners,” said Toria Edmonds-Howell, Community Engagement Manager for the Capital One 1717 Innovation Center. “The Grow @1717 program was designed to meet emerging needs within our region, and as Richmond childcare providers continue to experience the impacts of the pandemic, we want to help.”

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Capital One Accelerator at 1717.

Photos: Michael Simon Photography

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Arts & Entertainment

Local rapper launches new creative and co-op work space downtown

A grand opening for the new space, CNTR, will be held 5-10 p.m. Friday, November 4th, coinciding with the Arts District’s First Fridays event.

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A new retail, creative and co-working space named CNTR opens next month in Richmond’s Arts District.

Located at 318 W. Broad St., the 3,408-square-foot space also is home to theMSQshop, which opened earlier this year. It provides brand design, creative content services and a recording and production studio.

Owner and Creative Director Will Keck, who performed for 15 years in Richmond as OG ILLA, aims to provide a resource for creatives and a safe, welcoming space for Richmond’s hip-hop and R&B culture.

“I want to encourage young artists and entrepreneurs in our community,” Keck says. “CNTR is here as a resource, business incubator, and place to elevate their work through business education.”

CNTR is available for bookings as well — for pop-ups, shows, events, workshops, conferences, and video and photo production.

The business venture, powered by theMSQshop, also includes a retail shop featuring Virginia-based streetwear, an art gallery showcasing local artists, and a co-working space that includes Richmond’s first black-owned hemp company.

A grand opening for CNTR will be held 5-10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, coinciding with the Richmond Arts District’s First Fridays.

The free event will feature pop-ups from local vendors, an art exhibit with work from ErvEyes, JAE, Paris and Khaos Ky, and music performances by Rudy Walker, Era Hardaway, Machine Mook, OG Souul, illwilliam and Hannah Grace.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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