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Food

Stroops RIP

From the Stroops Heroic Dogs Facebook page:

We have some big news to share with you. While we’ve had a blast with the Stroops concept, it just wasn’t cuttin’ the mustard. We are open to accepting emails if you are interested in our space (stroopsrva@gmail.com). But in the meantime, we thought we’d change it up. While handcrafted heroic dogs will not completely go away, we are excited to diversify our menu. The change will be gradual, and we’ll keep you posted through our social media outlets. From sandwiches, pastas, to prepared meals to go, we’ll be looking to exercise our creative taste buds. We truly appreciate the support Stroops received from back door dog fans, this neighborhood, and beyond, and look forward to hearing your thoughts on voids we can help fill in this great food neighborhood. We’ll do our best to have all things Stroops for the week of 2.14.17, or until we sell out. We look forward to seeing you.

Stroops Heroic Dogs opened in mid-November 2015 as an extension of the wildly popular Back Door Dogs at Dutch & Co across the street. Popular take-out spot The Dog and Pig Show a few blocks to the west just had their final weekend after a 2 year run, having announced almost a month ago that they would be closing.

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72 comments

Chris 02/13/2017 at 12:46 PM

As long as it’s the same owners, they will ALWAYS have my business.

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Jenny Tremblay West 02/13/2017 at 12:46 PM

Awh man 🙁

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Josiah Pewterbaugh 02/13/2017 at 12:52 PM

Sigh

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Havis L. Wright 02/13/2017 at 12:52 PM

Ah, the earlier close time killed my ability to get in after work before my haircut at Ben’s. Hope someone slides into the great space they built out.

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Jennifer Miller 02/13/2017 at 12:53 PM

Noooooooo

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Brianne Whitescarver 02/13/2017 at 12:56 PM

First The Dog & Pig Show and now Stroops ????

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Billie Hobbs Leeth 02/13/2017 at 12:57 PM

This hurts my heart.

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Ally Crooks 02/13/2017 at 1:14 PM

Whatttt I’m moving.

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Luke E McClenny 02/13/2017 at 1:17 PM

WHAT THE FUCK

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Spacecat 02/13/2017 at 1:18 PM

Damn, two in one month.

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Kay9 02/13/2017 at 1:20 PM

Really like the idea of prepared meals to go! Similar to the concept of Ukrops prepared foods that were heat and eat and…at a reasonable price and fast. That would get my business all day long. Quick and easy parking out front, pick up some quick meals for dinner and out the door in 3 minutes.

I completely get that every restaurant has to make money to survive but pricing seems to be the key to success. Any restaurant would like to see regular customers several times a week as opposed to once in a while. Possibly, limit the menu to items with a lower food cost and less waste. Achieve revenue goals based on volume of customers as opposed to escalating the guest check.

I smell success!

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Casey Lee Collins 02/13/2017 at 1:44 PM

it was waaaay too expensive.

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John M 02/13/2017 at 1:54 PM

The regular hotdog was $3. So was the corndog. Seems like a more than fair price for hotdogs handmade from local, sustainable sources.

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Evan Zee 02/13/2017 at 1:57 PM

WHAT

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Brian 02/13/2017 at 2:09 PM

A regular hot dog for $3 is fine, but you don’t go to Stroops for a regular hot dog. How many people are going to go out for a fancy expensive hot dog? Apparently not enough.

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Kay9 02/13/2017 at 2:09 PM

John,

Is that true? I only visited once for lunch and I had a hot dog/or sausage (ish) item and a soda. My check was almost $10- I was still hungry. Although tasty, I wouldn’t spend more since value for the money is very important to me and my family at this point.

Is there a secret to get lots of filling food at an inexpensive price that isn’t McDonalds? Or, is that not a sustainable model?

Proper Pie seems to have it right. 6 bucks and a drink for satisfying meal keeps the crowds rolling in.

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ray 02/13/2017 at 2:45 PM

I suspect, John, that the demand for hotdogs handmade from local, sustainable sources just isn’t that great, regardless of price.

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Scott Thow 02/13/2017 at 2:46 PM

I am sad now

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BAF 02/13/2017 at 3:08 PM

I ate there a few times including just last week. It was pretty dead when I went so I’m not shocked to see this. I actually thought the fries were the star there. On my most recent trip the formulation of spices or something had changed in the basic dog and not for the better.

I agree that the price point is the issue. It’s great they were made in-house. But at the end of the day people have an expectation that a basic hot dog is a cheap eat. When you added in fries and a can of soda, you were around $10. That’s too high for a basic hot dog lunch irregardless of how home-made it was.

Sam’s Club sells a dog and a soda including refills for $1.50. It’s an OK Nathan’s dog although not as tasty as Stroops. It’s also larger. The local hot dog cart downtown sells a dog for $2 and a soda for $1. I’m not saying Stroops should have tried to compete with Sam’s or the cart. I am saying that pricing like that sets a basic market pricing expectation for what a dog and a soda should cost–and Stroops was going to have a hard time redefining that market pricing expectation.

I also have to wonder about a lunch-focused shop at that location. Where’s the traffic coming from? Not that many people work in Church Hill and not many folks are willing to drive from work for a hot dog. Put that same product downtown, even at the same price point, and I suspect revenues go way up.

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Jereme Yoho 02/13/2017 at 3:11 PM

This doesn’t sound like a closing announcement entirely? It sounds more like a concept change

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Liz 02/13/2017 at 3:21 PM

Nooooooooo!!!!

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Daniel 02/13/2017 at 3:26 PM

Honestly, I think the problem with many of these places is that its hard for people to go grab lunch when they have 30 minutes.

Of the handful of times I went to Stroops, I feel like my wait was longer than it needed to be. I think another thing that killed them is their hours. They needed to be open later and hit all the dinner crowd.

Same goes for Alamo- I work about a mile away, and for some reason I can not travel 3 minutes to get there, order, get my food, sit down and eat for 4 minutes and get back to work in 30 minutes. For this reason, I gave up (especially on Alamo, their speed of their service is horrible at lunch time)on most places in church hill for lunch.

The only place I will go is proper pie. I just wish they would open up at 11 or even 1130, vs 12.

The sad part is (w the exception of proper pie and McDonalds) I can make it all the way to the white oak Chick-Fil-A, order, eat and make it back in 30 minutes.

Why can’t we have somewhere quick on the Hill, for people who work are in a rush for lunch (well at least I am)!

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Erik Grotz 02/13/2017 at 3:44 PM

I can’t be the only one confused by this — are they closing, or are they changing? This is the weakest facebook update I’ve ever read.

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Clay Street 02/13/2017 at 3:45 PM

Very sorry to hear this, I wish the concept had worked out because it was tasty and clever and very smart and I love Dutch. Unfortunately Stroops took too lunch for lunch and it wasn’t open late enough for me to do a dinner there 🙁

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Brett 02/13/2017 at 4:17 PM

People expect a lot these days.
(Isn’t a bad thing)
I just never understood equating local independent businesses to global markets and chains stores. It’s apples and oranges.
Sometimes I’ll buy a local product, even if I don’t love it. Just because it fills my need at the time and supports my area.

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Kay9 02/13/2017 at 4:27 PM

@23 Erik I read it as they are looking to get out cause Stroops isn’t working. They’re looking for someone to take over the lease. (may take some time) However, in the mean time, they’re going to play around with the menu to see if they can find a hit. And I would assume, if there was a hit, they would stay.

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BAF 02/13/2017 at 4:55 PM

@25:

People equate local businesses to global markets and chain stores because that is who the competition is. If I open a local burger restaurant, I have to be better than 5 Guys. If I open a seafood restaurant, I have to be better than Red Lobster and Bonefish Grill–which shouldn’t be THAT much of a challenge. Local businesses have to compete with all comers. I don’t have the extra money to buy something I don’t love in order to buy local when something non-local is something I love more.

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Emily Klinedinst 02/13/2017 at 5:34 PM

Expensive hot dogs are a thing? Hahaha

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Brett 02/13/2017 at 5:55 PM

@BAF You are correct to a point. I just think you miss my point about supporting your neighborhood every once and a while.
Do we all really want to eat hot dogs at the same place we buy socks? The answer is “yes.” Which is fine. I love cheap food and never ate at Stroops.
It just stinks to spend all your money in the county or to large companies that don’t contribute to the city’s flavor.

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Emily Klinedinst 02/13/2017 at 5:59 PM

It does. But then they also want to sell the space? Confusing.

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Wes McWillen 02/13/2017 at 6:45 PM

Noooooo

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Gina Fuller 02/13/2017 at 7:14 PM

Nnnnnnoooooooo!!!

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Trish 02/13/2017 at 7:26 PM

My husband and I went there once and it was … okay. The cost is what killed it for us–over twenty bucks for two dogs, fries, and a couple of bottled waters, and when we left we were still hungry. Everything doesn’t have to be “artisanal.” As others have mentioned Proper Pie is doing it right. Some would say that the Dog & Pig Show was expensive too, but that pulled pork po’ boy was EXCEPTIONALLY EPIC.

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Kay9 02/13/2017 at 8:02 PM

@25 The world we now live in provides many choices and most folks are always looking to stretch their dollar. Just look at any community that introduces a Walmart store. Before long, the mom and pop of everything nearby closes down; they can’t compete. Denying that is simply burying our heads in the sand and saying it shouldn’t be like that. It’s not going to change. With that in mind, business must adapt to meet the needs of the market. In the case of Stroop’s location, convenience is probably the greatest advantage it has in the area. A business in that location needs a lot of footsteps coming through the door to generate revenue. They need to sell something folks in the area will frequent several times a week, at a great price, and be quick.

The prepared take out foods concept is an awesome idea for so many working families in the area. I know That I stop off at Kroger or Martin’s/Ukrops several times a week to pick up entrees and sides for dinner because I have no time to make dinner. I’m not alone.

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Martha Looney 02/13/2017 at 8:45 PM

It’s not about money, value or quality.

How can any restaurant, especially Dog & Pig and Stroops, expect to make money with such very limited hours of operation?

A solid financial business plan would show a minimum of 6 days a week with operating hours of 11am-10pm needed to build awareness and drive business to certain dayparts.

WE WILL MISS YOU.

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twitter_bozatwork 02/13/2017 at 8:54 PM

Too bad for the neighborhood. The people were super nice, the food was great, it was different than existing options, they supported others locally for their ingredients, and they made a ton of great stuff in house.

Makes me wonder though with that Philly cheesesteak place also not lasting long if you can really count on lunch crowds up on the Hill. I definitely am not faulting them for trying because I went out of my way for lunch when business brought me nearby.

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EG 02/13/2017 at 9:22 PM

SO CONFUSED STROOPS.

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DontMinceWords 02/13/2017 at 9:38 PM

This is the second business to leave this location in the 2.5+ years I’ve been up here (again). I assume revenue model/product doesn’t cover operational costs. I agree with most all of the comments above. Slow. Pricey. Poor hours. Low daytime traffic. If they were open until 8:30 p.m., I could of done 2 bratwursts a week. Ironically, I’ve been here and Dog & Pig three times.. primarily for the hours.

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Timothy 02/13/2017 at 11:40 PM

Loved this place for what it was, and love D&Co too.

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DontGoStroops 02/13/2017 at 11:53 PM

This is sad! I loved this place. But I think both Stroops and Dog and Pig suffered for the same reasons:

Hours: I am not sure who told entrepreneurs that Church Hill needed lunch spots, because we don’t. No one is around during the day. So late afternoon/dinner spots would be great.

Cost: I actually went to Stroops quite a bit, but I was always shocked by the cost. No matter how fancy you make it, a hot dog and fries will never be fine dining. It’s junk food so there is a certain price point people have in mind when it comes to hotdogs, and it’s on the super cheap side.

Speed: I could forgive Dog and Pig for being slow because their meals were more complex, but I would think a hot dog wouldn’t take long at all. This goes back to the cost thing. When I think hot dogs I think fast and cheap. But instead I got slow and expensive.

Still, I am VERY sad to see this place go.

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Eric Huffstutler 02/13/2017 at 11:54 PM

These corner and mid-block shops within the residential district, are off the beaten path. Out of sight, out of mind. People who work downtown just don’t travel much past McDonalds (most stay downtown or go the opposite direction) to be able to drive, park, get food, drive, park, ride the elevator and back to your desk in time.

The “meals to go” is an interesting idea but one that should have been introduced before the location got to where it is now, to be able to test the waters first.

Not everyone is into trendy “non this or that” food. Just a quick meal to fill a void. People everyday buy from vendors, prepackaged food and put a spin on the extras and presentation while making a killing. I personally know someone who buys a 5 pound roll of fresh local ground angus beef for $18, gets many patties from it and sell a burger and fries for $10 while doing this all day long, and have for years.(not in Church Hill)

As far as service, I guess that depends on how much in a hurry you are in and the crew’s ability to prepare for rush crowds.

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JessOfRVA 02/14/2017 at 1:51 AM

I hate that we’ve lost two wonderful restaurants in the last month. So sad.

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Clay Street 02/14/2017 at 7:05 AM

I think someone above already mentioned, but this location could be well-served by a concept offering prepared foods to go. I would happily stop by on the way home for things that I might be tempted to pick up at Ellwood’s or at Stella’s market. Packaged meals or things weighed by the pound, etc. If they stayed open until 8 and had a wine selection and desserts, I feel like they would have a lot of support and get business from people who don’t want to pick up a pizza from Anthony’s again. And sometimes Union Market is too hectic to stop by quickly for that kind of thing. Of course the trick would be getting the ABC off license. So probably a no-go 🙁

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Kay9 02/14/2017 at 9:07 AM

Spot on Clay St and Eric H! Keep it super simple. add a few showcase coolers and load em up with prepared and pre-packaged:
Meatloaf, Mac and Cheese, Veggies, Chicken Breast, Pork Chops, Baked Spaghetti and Lasagna, Mashed Potatoes, etc.

These items are fairly inexpensive to prepare and because it’s not super perishable, waste is minimal.

Most folks I know aren’t looking for nouvelle/nouveau chi chi food every day. Just the basics…price it right, stack em high and watch em fly.

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Kay9 02/14/2017 at 9:10 AM

And stay open at least until 8pm. It kills me every time I walk into a packed Farm Fresh at 7:15 to pick up dinner and the salad bar has been packed up and long gone. Absolutely no business sense at all when working professionals are just getting home and thinking about dinner at 7- 7:30.

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Eric Huffstutler 02/14/2017 at 10:47 AM

Kay9, I totally agree and like your closing statement in @45. It goes hand-in-hand with what I have always said. Church Hill needs a basic no “twists or spins”, home cooking diner type place. Not soul food, which was tried and failed but comfort food like you mentioned. Meatloaf, Turkey and Dressing, Fried Chicken, Pork Chops, Mac and Cheese, Mashed Potatoes, etc… and plenty of Ice Tea 🙂 All for reasonable prices that everyone can afford.

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Jack 02/14/2017 at 10:55 AM

This hasn’t been a good 30 days for me. From Dog and Pig and Stroops news, to East Villa being closed till March.

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Lee 02/14/2017 at 11:27 AM

Hours for “fast casual” places up here (which are never exactly fast and never exactly casual) are always WAY too short. I frequently go to the Hill Cafe for dinner after 10 PM because I work late, keep busy,travel a lot/don’t stock a lot of groceries and it’s the only casual dining option open!

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BAF 02/14/2017 at 2:23 PM

We are often at Liberty Public House because the kitchen is open until 11. My wife and I often have to work past 8pm or 9pm and it’s helpful to have those options.

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Heather 02/14/2017 at 6:23 PM

It never ceases to amaze me how opinions are like assholes…everyone has one. If businesses listened to all your amazing (tested? Proven?) advice, there’d never be businesses in church hill. Thank God there are brave people who step out on a limb, don’t listen to all the naysayers and attempt to make this neighborhood spectacular. Thanks, Stroops, for doing just that. You will be missed.

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K 02/15/2017 at 8:31 AM

The hours weren’t great. I’d love to see some good mexican up here.

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Kay9 02/16/2017 at 8:04 AM

@51… You could consider the “amazing (tested?Proven?) advice here valuable feedback to a business owner trying to make a go of it up here. Lord knows…there have been countless business starts and failures and a few more on the way. Why risk a life savings and spend sleepless nights considering why business is not coming through the door?

Unfortunately too many entrepreneurs are following a romantic passion of “build it and they will come (because I think this is such a cool concept)” as opposed to built it because this is what the market WANTS.

Many great suggestions were made along with some feedback about why customers were not supporting the business. Most business owners value this type of feedback and pay for it. It gives them an opportunity to course correct and grow.

And, FWIW, I really doubt you know or understand the CV of the folks who respond to these posts.

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John M 02/22/2017 at 1:20 PM

“Restaurant space for sale. While we work on new menu items. We would like to let you all know that we are also looking to sale. Please respond via email at stroopsrva@gmail.com thanks”

https://www.facebook.com/stroopsrva/photos/a.915936088496091.1073741830.836361929786841/1263543683735328/?type=3&theater

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Stroops returns on Tuesday with prepared meals for lunch and dinner - Church Hill People's News | Richmond, Virginia 03/03/2017 at 6:08 PM

[…] The late hotdoggery will reopen this coming Tuesday offering prepared food for lunch and dinner. […]

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