A former Shockoe Slip restaurant is being resurrected in Carytown.
Chef and owner Kevin LaCivita plans to open Pomegranate at 3321 W. Cary St. in the space most recently occupied by sushi restaurant Moshi Moshi. LaCivita, who closed Pomegranate’s first incarnation on East Cary Street in 2009, said he would look to be open in the new spot in early 2014.
LaCivita is leasing the 3,000-square-foot space and bought the equipment formerly used by the sushi restaurant, which closed in October. He was clear about why he chose the location.
“I’ve always wanted to be in Carytown.” LaCivita said. “I paid for the idea of being in Carytown.”
Pomegranate opened in 2000 at 1209 E. Cary St. LaCivita closed it in 2009 to attend to some family matters, he said. The Carytown Pomegranate will serve European dishes with a Mediterranean emphasis but feature a more casual atmosphere than its Shockoe location had.
“When people see tablecloths, they get terrified,” LaCivita said. “I don’t want this to be a special occasion place. I want it to be a restaurant. I want to see people in here two to three times a week, not two to three times every six months.”
Pomegranate signed a five-year lease, and LaCivita has $200,000 ready to spend on renovations. The work will include an HVAC upgrade, installing taps for beer, putting in new windows and floors, and a new color scheme.
To finance the relaunch of Pomegranate, LaCivita said he’s using personal savings and the help of two silent investors.
Nathan Hughes, vice president and sales manager of Bandazian & Holden, represented the seller of Moshi Moshi’s assets and coordinated the lease for LaCivita.
LaCivita expects to hire 15 employees. Entrees won’t cost more than $24, and, including the patio, the two-story space can seat about 75. The building’s second story includes a small room LaCivita calls the Chef’s Table, where patrons can make special requests.
Originally from Pittsburgh, LaCivita moved to Richmond in 1979. He has worked in restaurants in Memphis, Washington and New York. He attended VCU for two years before heading to culinary school.
After closing the original Pomegranate in 2009, LaCivita worked with EAT Restaurant Partners to help launch the Blue Goat as its executive chef in 2011. He left the group in July on friendly terms, he said.