Rick Lyons' Republic feels like a place you've been coming to for years, even though it's brand-new (scheduled to open right around the time this issue is printed). And that's the way Lyons wants it. Working with developer Justin French, he used recycled materials for the floors, bar and back, and the menu is a collection of international dishes — each month, the restaurant will highlight a different city or country.
The guiding principle of The Republic (2053 W. Broad St., therepublicrva.com), located in the former Cabo's Bistro space, is "to feed the many, not the few," says Lyons. "I want people to leave here satisfied — bellies full, good memories, and some money still in their pockets." Half the offerings will be small-plate, tapas-style dishes, averaging $5 to $16.
Lyons came to Richmond in 1992 from Philadelphia to open his own spot. He became a major partner in Bandito's Burrito Lounge and Star-lite Dining & Lounge, both night-life staples among the college-age crowd.
"What I think Richmond wants now is a place for adults," he says. "We're not going to be catering to vodka rebels."