RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Another Richmond restaurant is closing its doors. Management changed the locks at Café Diem in the Museum District on Monday citing that the lease is in default. The bar had been in business for almost 12 years.
A number of restaurants in the city have closed since September. Bill's Barbecue, a legend in Richmond, served it's last dish in September after more than 80 years in business. The owners cited the high costs of upgrading operations.
Nathan Hughes works for Bandazian & Holden who are the business brokers that manage Café Diem plus more than 30 other restaurants in the River City.
"We're very involved with the restaurant scene, knowing what's opening, what's closing, who's looking and who's looking to close," Hughes says.
We asked him about the shutdowns, he says it's just the nature of the business.
"If you see one that's been open for five years, that's amazing and we do have ones around here that have been opened for 20 years and those are landmarks," he said.
Clay Gilbert owns Black Hand Coffee Company which is on the same block as Café Diem. Gilbert says for him, business has grown for several years and now they are expanding.
"The coffee is like our bar. That's how we make our money. It's like our alcohol," he said. "We cater to someone who's looking for a good product at a decent price point."
Gilbert says finding your niche in a Richmond neighborhood is important, but restaurants that serve alcohol come with more challenges.
"The bars they're faced with having to provide food because that's how the laws are set up," he said.
A high meals tax in the city also doesn't help, customers pay 11 percent when they go out to eat. But Hughes says when one door closes, another one always opens.
"We're a food town," he said. "They like to shoot for their dreams and open up new restaurants and unfortunately some of those don't make it."
Café Diem does have a chance to fix the problems with their lease. When NBC12 tried calling them, it said the number was no longer in service.