Kevin LaCivita, Pomegranate's owner and chef, is closing his restaurant until mid-June. (Photo by: Jay Paul)
“I tell ya, the European comfort thing — people walk by and ask, 'What is it?'” says Pomegranate head chef and owner Kevin LaCivita, who has temporarily closed his Carytown restaurant. “I am not rebranding. This isn’t a name change," he adds. "I am just going to take the European thing away. I have kind of grown bored with that restriction. But I am not going to be fusion; I don’t want every flavor under the sun in one place. I just want to expand what we do outside of France, Italy and Spain.”
When he says "expand," it applies to nearly everything. Pomegranate's patio is being renovated this week, and the bar will be resurfaced and refinished. The interior will gain more brick and the color profiles will change. When the restaurant reopens in mid-June, expect to see a larger and completely separate bar menu with items such as Scotch eggs and frog legs; an ice cream cart serving multiple house-made ice creams; small sharable plates; and family style pastas. LaCivita noticed that very few restaurant in Richmond dry-age their own beef, so he has begun his own program. He also plans, in the next few weeks, to hire a bartender that will focus on cocktails, and a chef de cuisine with a similar passion to his own for keeping the menu current and accessible. The original concept felt too much like a special occasion restaurant to LaCivita, and he hopes to change that perception.
Pomegranate will also reopen with a dog-friendly patio and a dog-friendly outdoor menu. LaCivita has partnered with Patio Pups, a website that directs you to dog-friendly patios in Richmond, and the SPCA. For the first month of the reopening, the restaurant will donate 20 percent of your check to the SPCA if you bring your dog to the patio.
“I have two things working against me in Carytown: There is a huge tree right in front of me, and that large beautiful C Street building I need to make those things work for me," says LaCivita. "People don’t even know I am here. So many people just walk by.”
After nearly nine years in Shockoe Slip, the restaurant moved west to Carytown and has been open for a little over two years.
Pomegranate is located at 3321 W. Cary St. and is expected to reopen in mid-June.