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Mint sprouts in Petersburg

Michael Thompson July 3, 2014 0
Mint's Malcolm Mitchell. Photo by Michael Thompson.

Mint’s Malcolm Mitchell is preparing to reopen in Petersburg. Photo by Michael Thompson.

After closing in the Fan and then almost opening downtown, a Richmond restaurateur has found a new home for his brand.

Malcolm Mitchell plans to open Mint Gastropub at 16 W. Old St. in Old Towne Petersburg in August. Mitchell is opening the 2,800-square-foot space with the help of investor Contessa Gray.

“It’s a great location and an up-and-coming neighborhood,” Mitchell said of Petersburg.
“There are foodies everywhere. You have to go where people are willing to sink money into.”

His move to Petersburg comes after a few forays into the Richmond dining scene.

The restaurant had operated at 2501 W. Main St. in the Fan since summer 2013, but closed in February. Mitchell then announced a plan to move Mint to a room in the F.W. Sullivan’s at 1001 Haxall Point, only to later scrap the idea.

Mitchell, 43, said he is still working on opening a Mint location in Richmond. The Petersburg deal just came together faster. The menu at Mint Petersburg will be the same as it was at Mitchell’s former Fan operation.

Mint's future location is under renovation in Petersburg. Photo by Evelyn Rupert.

Mint’s future location is under renovation in Petersburg. Photo by Evelyn Rupert.

“The fact that I’m going to Petersburg does not negate the fact that I started in Richmond and am coming back,” Mitchell said. “Mint wasn’t just going to be just a Richmond location. I’m trying to go down the coast and back up the coast.”

Jim Wilson, who owns the Petersburg property, said scenes from Steven Spielberg’s 2012 film “Lincoln” were shot along the street on which Mint is opening.

The new Mint space had been home to Maria’s Café and Italian Restaurant since 2006, before the business recently moved across the street.

“Over the past decade there’s been this growing restaurant movement,” Wilson said. “It’s all part of the development process.”

Those unwilling to make the trip 25 miles south from Richmond can still taste plates inspired by Mitchell in Richmond.

Rosio Garcia hired Mitchell to come up with new menu items for Little Mexico at 1328 W. Cary St. near Virginia Commonwealth University’s Monroe Park Campus. Garcia opened Little Mexico in 2007.

Meanwhile, Mitchell’s search continues for what has proved to be an elusive Richmond location of his own.

“The (area) that looks most promising is Jackson Ward and downtown,” Mitchell said.

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