First, the good news: A new restaurant called Citizen Burger Bar is coming to Richmond. And now for the bad news: Portrait House, a Carytown mainstay, announced its impending closure via Facebook this week.
"It’s been a nice run, but the time is right for us to move on," the post read. "We can’t thank everyone enough for all of your support from the day we opened our doors." The restaurant will offer a number of specials before it shuts its doors for good on Dec. 13. (For updates on these specials and final events, be sure to follow Portrait House on Facebook.)
The news comes with a bit more good, however: Nile Ethiopian, the restaurant within Portrait House, has a new project on the way, and those who crave burgers will find them soon enough — Citizen Burger Bar is set to open within a few months. Andy McClure, owner of CBB's parent company, The Virginian Restaurant Co., says that the new Citizen will be open in early 2016.
“I love Richmond. I'm from Alexandria and have lived in Charlottesville for forever at this point, so I've always visited Richmond often," he says. "Plus, my brother and sister both lived there and also went to VCU. So I've always seen Richmond as a cool place to potentially put a place. My feeling is that Carytown is the absolute perfect fit for CBB.”
The Richmond location will the third Citizen Burger Bar, a sibling to those already in Charlottesville and Clarendon. The planned menu will be similar to those in the other Citizen Burger Bars, offering grass-fed beef burgers with hand-cut french fries, a signature Virginia-made cheese, plus snacks, sandwiches and salads. Though the CBB team hasn't yet found its Richmond-location purveyors, it will utilize some ingredients from farmer closer to RVA. “We only partner with people who are dedicated to their animals, ingredients, employees and the environment," McClure says. "We take our supplier relationships very seriously.”
Citizen will also sport local beer along with its local food initiative. When asked about the large, preexisting pizza oven in the space, McClure says it's not going anywhere. “I will keep the oven. What do you think, paint a giant burger on it? It is kind of burger shaped," he says, laughing. "We are going to convert the space quite a bit, quite a bit.” Getting a little more serious, he makes a point to mention that the interiors of the other Citizen Burger Bars have low amber lights, brick, wood and tile. The new space may replicate those. The outdoor patio is staying, though. “I absolutely love patios. And that's going to be a fantastic one," says McClure. “Our goal is to be a neighborhood spot.”