What happened to Acapella? Are they closed, like for good?
From what i’ve heard, they are closed for good as of last week. 🙁
Wow. This is a tragic loss for the neighborhood. I apologize in advance for being snarky, but it makes me think back to the people who were bitching about the noise at Acapella (live music, if I recall correctly) and want to ask “Are you happy now?” There’s a fine line between an up-and-coming neighborhood and a decaying neighborhood, and we’re perilously close to the edge.
I can only sincerely hope that another restaurant takes the chance to open in that space.
it is sad. When I moved here, there was Accepela, Jumping J’s…a very vigrant hip neighborhood. Now everthing is gone. 🙁
Wow, I had no idea they were thinking of shutting down. That’s really sad to hear.
Restaurants fail all the time; that’s how the business works. If they did close because of the music issue (which I doubt) then it’s their fault for violating noise ordinances. I also doubt it’s any neighbor’s fault either. It’s not the end of the world and not what I’d consider a tragedy. I’ve lived on the Hill for 25+ years, arriving long before there were any restaurants at all and I certainly wouldn’t consider the Hill to be in a state of decay at the moment…let’s just get excited for the next restaurant that moves in there (and one will, just like Acapella moved in to Mr Patrick Henry’s after their closing years ago…)
Acapella’s restaurant was pretty good, but pricey.
The deck was nice sometimes.
The bar was great if you didn’t mind risking lung cancer & emphysema from the second hand smoke.
We’re a wonderful *residential* neighborhood. There are more than enough bars, restaurants, and coffee shops to go around in Shockoe, easily within walking/stagger distance.
In any event, bars & restaurants open and close at the drop of a hat just about anywhere. Gimme a dime for every one that’s gone in and out of bidness in the fan.
Shockoe Bottom is not in walking distance for me – the walk back is a long, dangerous, UPHILL climb. It’s nice to have restaurants that are truly in WALKING distance and it does not in anyway take away from an URBAN residential area.
I am sooooo tired of people complaining about noise, music, festivals, people walking in the city on â€œyourâ€ street making noise, etc. Guess what people – you live in an URBAN area – if you want a quiet noise free environment – MOVE! I understand that the surrounding counties would be happy to have you in Cookie Cutter Land.
I normally try to be a very tolerant person but I have had my fill. Everyone whining about this restaurant, or this festival or parking for goodness sakes – this is a city and these things some of you complain about show that OUR city and the Hill are a vibrant area growing and developing. If you want a run down city falling apart but noise free as Richmond was several years ago then I think it is time to reflect about what type of neighborhood you are looking for, weigh the pro’s and con’s of the area in the Hill you live in as it is today! If the con’s rule you might consider moving.
And another thing there are quite of lot of OLD thinking in peoplesâ€™ comments on this site â€“ relating to this topic but others like race, socio-economic, etc. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but I would say some people are walking a fine line or have completely crossed over with hateful and derogatory statements. I guess some would say what I wrote above is too …
Many commenters are culturally insensitive in my opinion. I love the character of this city and this neighborhood and all of its diversity, noise, and other idiocrasies that make up its unique personality.
I will miss Acapella’s. It was one of my favorite places. I heard that they were behind in rent?
I am very sad! I loved their patio! Also, I see where Cafe Gutenberg is up for lease – I hope that this is not a sign of things to come. We love living up on the hill and all that comes with it (yes, loud music, interesting neighbors, etc.) and hate seeing our local businesses close. Hopefully as someone else said, some good restaurants will take over these places!
Not on topic but recently in the Sunny’s thread I saw comments re: Trader Joe’s. The TJ website noew lists a “coming soon and full address” for the Short Pump store.
I loved walking down to Acapella’s and not having to worry about how I was getting home!
And now Cafe Gutenberg, too? This really sucks.
The couple of bartenders I know are officially unemployed. No idea what the full scoop is yet, but I don’t think the restaurant was doing too well.
And on that note…I will be relocating to the Fan. Church Hill….damn…
what a bummer! i really enjoyed the deck in the summertime. it was on the pricier side, so we didn’t go there often.
looks like que pasa? (which is wonderful!)opened just in time.
acapella had great food. i do hope we have some more great new restaurants come join us on the hill.
and steven, as much as i enjoyed the abundant restaurants and bars while living in the fan, you won’t find better neighbors than up here on the hill.
You are leaving Church Hill because Acapellas’s is closing? That is the most shallow thing I’ve seen on this blog. Good luck in the Fan.
I don’t blame you Steven, as an avid Acapella fan (both bar and resturant)I am very saddened over their closing. However, I am holding out hope that somehow we can save Acapella (or a very similar version of it) and have no intentions of moving off the hill. I had a reservation for a large dinner party with Acapella coming up in the near future and the owner’s daughter contacted me and informed me that they had lost their lease.
“And now Cafe Gutenberg, too? This really sucks.”
Got a link?
so much for “…There are more than enough bars, restaurants, and coffee shops to go around in Shockoe, easily within walking/stagger distance.”
I’m guessing here, but word has it that the Infineon (now it’s called something else) micro chip plant is in deep doo-doo. They made a bunch of bad product and are hanging on by a thread.
I’ve heard that many of the employees there, especially from foreign countries are putting their houses on the market in hopes to coordinate their layoffs with the slow market.
Cafe Gutenberg is owned by an employee of this plant and maybe preparing for departure early to beat the slow market.
I too am sad we are losing some restaurants but isn’t that the way of real business. Restaurants have very poor survivability and longevity nationwide. Why should Richmond or the Hill be immune? Yes, we love them close to home but if we don’t use-em you lose-em. And if we lose-em is there a lesson there for both the owners and for the community/city? Who really owns the issues here?
With the advent of Rocketts Landing, Cold Storage, Lucky Strike and other emerging apts/condo, a whole new group of younger people, new business and restaurants will emerge along Main, Broad, in the Bottom and on the Hill. The good one’s (that are viable), will persist and survive. Many others will go quietly into the night. Let’s not wring our hands in distress and worry – we as a community and city have far bigger fish to fry. Issues like stopping Echo Harbor destroying the Richmond/James River viewshed, creating a viable tourist trade, replacing the Braves and most importantly getting a better City Gov. That better city gov needs to be dedicated, invested, apply rational intelligence and pragmatic thoughts to fixing problems now and creating a city of the future. We need folks with strong character and moral integrity to make tough and long rang decision and not cave into the special interest and cause celebrite . Otherwise all this discussion on restaurants, dog parks, crime, house values and education is mute and we are doomed to SOSDD.
Okay, jj. But, I’m still gonna miss Acapella!
That blog that you posted is one of the most intelligent ones I’ve seen on this site in a long time.
they should put an IHOP in this spot
Let’s all bow our heads and take a moment to mourn this loss. Farewell to you my Pub buddies…Bob, Rick, Seth, Montana(when you didn’t owe money)
I actually introduced my buddy to his future wife here! So sad!
I’ll miss the great staff as well, Crystal & Crystal, Mike(aka Sorvino) James and of course the master behind the food John! I hope you all venture to other Richmond locales so I get to still see you from time to time!
I overheard someone the other day say their friend is buying accappella. maybe there will be a short transition.
maybe, but it takes forever to have your ABC licensed renewed
God. I haven’t been there since football season started, and I could not be more upset that I haven’t been there in so long. I kept meaning to go, and it was always something…football game, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, family visit, etc. Well, I have no one to blame but myself, I guess.
What a loss. Their bar food and restaurant food was fantastic, the people were all wonderful, and it was such an amazing addition to the Hill on a whole.
Such a shame.
To all of you who read this and whom I have shared a beer or a shot with, Thadd and I enjoyed every moment of the conversation. Maybe we’ll meet up again soon.
Well if they do reopen it I hope they put some ventilation in. Nothing like having a beer inside the rim of a volcano….
It’s a real loss to our neighborhood to lose two great restaurants (and a third if you consider Gutenberg) within just a few months. What are the specific challenges small business owners face in our neighborhood and how can the CHA and the Church Hill business association (does one even exist?) help them? For example, Que Pasa has suffered all kinds of red tape problems.
I have been talking to the landlords on a daily basis and they are actively trying to put someone new in the now-former Acappella spot. They may have (as of today) found someone, and this person knows the deal (i.e., it won’t be Church Hill Sports Bar, it will be the unique entity we have come to love). Now he/she gets to apply for a liquor license which we all know could be a snag. There are some neighbors who didn’t love the noise, the trash, the 2 a.m. lovers’ quarrels, the random drunk fight, me throwing out a drunk girl who went behind the bar and poured herself shots, etc. But this was ALWAYS the exception. Acappella was the coolest bar in the world, and I mean that. So let’s all do what we can to let the Church Hill Association know we love EVERYTHING Church Hill has to offer, including the dark, smoky basement bar.
I’m in. Charge me full price, charge me double. I want Acapella’s or some reincarnation back! Let me know how I can help. The sooner the better. There are a lot of transient barflies around Church Hill right now.
amen to that!
Acapella closing is not a loss to the Hill. I will be excited when something else opens there. The staff was rude and the basement reminded me of a high school party.
Well, I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion. A lot of us do miss Acapella, though.
The only thing rude is your comment.
How terribly sad for The Hill that Acapella is gone! “Say it isn’t so!” I shall miss the lively discourse, daft banter and inappropriate dancing that was allowed and encouraged in this extension of our living rooms. Cheers! I still cling to the hope of its return.
posted by SS at February 10, 2008 9:11 pm :
What’s wrong, you couldn’t find a seat one night? Or were you slumming?
Style Weekly has picked up the story…
I too will miss Acapella and our favorite waiter Mike. We did enjoy the basement atmosphere with a wood fireplace going. We hate bright lights in a restaurant – more atmosphere.
Our last visit was not up to par and yes, they did need some sort of smoke filtration system as you came away with lung cancer. There was a snafu with service as we sat and was ignored by the waiter on duty so we walked out rather than buying dinner that evening.
I enjoyed the German fare… how many German food restaurants are there in the East side of Richmond? My favorite was the Schweinschnitzel.
Have noted that The Hill Cafe raised their prices as soon as Acapella closed. Supply and demand.
Hope there is an incarnation of Acapella or just new management but same menu?
make it a Hard Rock Cafe
The only place in town I really liked to drink at…
Hard Rock Cafe… yeah right jason… get real. First it is a historic building. Second, the noise restriction. Third, lack of parking for that type of resturaunt.
James, keep us posted about any progress concerning reopening.
I heard from a friend last night that the Hill Cafe has “Acapella” on the bottom of their receipts.
Considering how terrible I personally think the Hill Cafe is, I hope they aren’t the ones considering buying Acapella’s. I do not think Acapella would be as great as it was without the same staff, same menu, same atmosphere, etc.
That said, if anyone on here has a clue as to where the old crew (Jason, Crytal, Jeff, Rick, Danny, etc) is meeting up these days, please let me know. 🙁
Just an FYI – the owners of Hill Cafe also own Hard Shell and several other successful restaurants around the area. Hopefully if they are the purchasers of Acapella, they will keep the personality of the previous restaurant – especially the patio! I personally like Hill Cafe but can understand why others do not.
The Hill has gone through several management changes as well as menus. I miss some of the original menu items and think they made a mistake cutting the bench booths shorter to hold only 2 people.
If the Hill does take over Acapella, hope they keep the German / Italian menus.
I liked Acapella a lot, but the folks that run the Hill make far better food, in my opinion. I don’t know that there’s anything to this rumor, but if there is I’d be quite pleased.
Changing menus periodically is important for a place like the Hill. If you don’t mix things up every now and then, you risk becoming stagnant. Now, I might throw a hissy if they eliminate the HIll Burger, but a few new items every couple of years is a good thing.
I think the underlying current of The Hill/Acapella debate is that most people are fans of one or the other. Same as being a Pepsi or a Coke person. Which establishment you preferred says a lot about the person you are, i think. Not so much in the food aspect, as in the bar aspect. Whether you are glad that “the pub” is gone or not, that little basement hideaway was a meeting-place for a portion of the Church HIll population. That’s why i am amazed at the “glad it’s gone” attitude, because it’s like being happy that your neighbors were forced to move in the middle of the night. The Hill is a different vibe (late night we’re talking) and doesn’t have that same community atmosphere, and that is why Acapella regulars don’t want the HIll to take over the old pub. I sure as hell hope that James and Sorv. are able to come up with something with the owners, ’cause if not, we will all be deprived of a wonder piece of our little neighborhood.
i was joking about “hard rock”. I posted it on purpose because this blog takes everything so serious and needs a sense of humor from time to time 🙂 Jamie: I go to the hill cafe and rosies for now. They have printed Accapella on my tab too. Maybe they are just trying to see how many PUB regulars are coming their way.
posted by Eric S. Huffstutler at February 14, 2008 10:13 pm:
I enjoyed the German fareâ€¦ how many German food restaurants are there in the East side of Richmond? My favorite was the Schweinschnitzel.
Check out Cafe Rustica on Main Street downtown near 5th. It’s not German but they have schweinschnitzel, sauerbraten and some German beers.
Style’s gonna review next week; RTD the following week.
got a call from a friend that this had happend. where does everyone meet now that the “ditch”(thanks for that one Scotty Plop)is closed?
even though i dont reside in the RVA anymore(i moved to NoVa back in September ’07) I still wanna sit and chew the fat with my other family when i come to town you know?
Lemme guess, there’s always a party at Jason’s or Nate’s right? :0)
how could i forget?
I love(d) Acapella!
it will reopen in May. New name, new owner, but same great people, etc.
(comment deleted at the request of the poster – ed.)
As I posted in another thread, I am NOT looking foward to a “hang-out” or loud and bawdy bar but some cuisine to go with it like Acapella. I did not go there to drink but to eat and hope still can still do so without the clouds of smoke!
What will the menu be like? Will the upstairs formal dining still be available?
apparently, they are adding two smoke eaters — for a total of three, so that should help.
Also, one level will be for smoking and the other level will be non-smoking.
You can order the same food downstairs as you can upstairs, too, if I recall.
Ordering the same food up or down is the norm… what I want to know is there going to be a dinner menu rather than “grill” items?
I hope for many involved that that simply adding a third “eater” works? Ionizers are what is needed and large ones. When we did go eat it was in the basement as it was more dimly lit and cozy when there wasn’t large crowds. We enjoyed the fireplace going and that helped draw out the smoke. It wasn’t always lit and for non smokers who liked the downstairs better than up, it was unbearable. One evening we had to walk out and not order as our out of town guests were gagging.
DOES ANYONE KNOW WHERE CHEF JOHN ERNST LANDED????
John Ernst founded and was head chef at Pasta Luna so wonder if he may have went back? Or just giving it a rest for now? If you find out let us know!
What happened to the â€œPatrick Henry Grill and Pub coming soonâ€ signs?
they took them down because they were too big. it is still opening soon.
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