Sugar Shack owner looks to sweeten new neighborhood

The old Lighthouse Diner building  on Hull Street in Manchester has sat vacant since the late ’60s. (PHOTO: Michael Thompson)

The old Lighthouse Diner building on Hull Street in Manchester has sat vacant since the late ’60s. (PHOTO: Michael Thompson)

RICHMOND, Va. –  Ian Kelley knows doughnuts.

Over the last year he’s built an almost religious following for his doughnut startup Sugar Shack.

Now, with two Sugar Shack locations open and at least one other in the works, Kelley is hungry for more and is trying his hand at restoring a rundown diner in Manchester.

Ian Kelley

Ian Kelley

Kelley bought the Lighthouse Diner property at 1228 Hull St. last week. He plans to first renovate part of the space as a warehouse and production kitchen for Sugar Shack’s catering and mobile operations.

And then eventually re-open the rest of the property as the Historic Lighthouse Diner.

“I’ve looked at 40 spaces in the past month,” Kelley said. “This is one of those places I walked in and it just felt right.”

Kelley said the diner would be inspired by his visits to Asheville, N.C., with an emphasis on baked goods and breakfast items like large biscuits, waffles, pancakes, jams and preserves.

“I would love to have stuff there like scrapple but made locally by somebody,” Kelley said. “I don’t like having freezers.”

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