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Fate of two downtown restaurants unclear
BY BILL FREEHLING
A Mexican restaurant and bar that had been planned in downtown Fredericksburg is instead opening in Richmond.
Jake Crocker and Hayden Fisher, who own F.W. Sullivan's in Fredericksburg, will open Jorge's Cantina next month at the intersection of Floyd Avenue and Robinson Street in Richmond. That is near the pair's other restaurants in Richmond, including another F.W. Sullivan's location.
Crocker, Fisher and fellow business partner Jose Garcia, whose family runs the successful Mexico Restaurant chain, originally planned to open Jorge's Cantina at 106 George St., a space formerly occupied by Fatty J's. The restaurant was named Jorge's, Spanish for "George," because of the street it's on as well as George Washington's ties to the region.
It's now unclear whether Jorge's Cantina will ever open in the former Fatty J's space.
Crocker and Fisher continue to have the lease on the building and have started construction work there. Crocker said they would like to open it at some point, but there is no exact timeline. If it does open locally, Crocker said, he and his partners could draw on the lessons learned at the Richmond location that will open next month.
Crocker and Fisher have also planned to open an upscale restaurant called The Chimneys, which would focus on Southern-style fare, at 623 Caroline St. across from the Courtyard by Marriott hotel in downtown Fredericksburg. That project is also delayed but is further along than the local Jorge's Cantina.
Crocker said he will soon meet with a potential investor who could help move both projects forward in Fredericksburg. He said the delays have been partly due to another investor pulling out last year. The Richmond location of Jorge's Cantina will be in the former FanHouse Restaurant and requires much less work to get open, Crocker said.
Crocker also said he and his partners have gotten cold feet about investing more money in downtown Fredericksburg. He said business has been good at F.W. Sullivan's on Friday and Saturday nights but slow during the week. The business has also complained of unfair scrutiny from Fredericksburg's City Council and police department.
Crocker said that's led him and his partners to do some "soul-searching" about whether to expand their local business ventures. He said F.W. Sullivan's on William Street continues to run as normal in the meantime.
Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405