Jacksons Beer Garden & Smokehouse to open in former Croaker’s Spot

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Jacksons Beer Garden & Smokehouse is set to take over the former Croaker’s Spot location at 119 E. Leigh St. in Jackson Ward. (J. Elias O’Neal)

RICHMOND, Va. — Armed with plenty of beer and smoked meat, Cynthia Matthews is ready to bring a long vacant Jackson Ward restaurant space back to life.

Work is underway on Jacksons Beer Garden & Smokehouse, located in the former Croaker’s Spot location at 119 E. Leigh St.

Croaker’s Spot, a long-time Richmond restaurant, vacated the building in 2010 – eventually relocating to the Manchester neighborhood at 1020 Hull Street.

Matthews, a first-time restaurateur, said she is targeting an October or November opening date for the venture.

“The concept for the restaurant is to have plenty of smoked meats paired with good draft beers,” Matthews said. “I feel like the location lends itself to be the neighborhood hangout…we’ve been received well by many of our neighbors, and we’re ready to join that growing dining scene in the area.”

The restaurant will open daily for lunch and dinner and host a Sunday brunch, Matthews said.

Matthews, who is leasing the location from Richmond-based Hanson Company, is working with a few silent partners who are helping finance the restaurant for an undisclosed amount. She said her restaurant is not affiliated with Croaker’s Spot.

“We are investing a lot,” Matthews said. “We want it to be something the neighborhood will enjoy and be proud of once we are completed with the renovations.”

Located at the corner of Leigh and Second streets, plans call for the location to be gutted to accommodate about 73 people inside, Matthews said. Additional seating, and an outside bar, is also slated to in a pocket park under renovation next to the Hippodrome Theater on Second Street.

“We’re going to have a full bar, and plan to have plenty of local beers on draft and in bottles,” Matthews said. “I love going out to eat and sampling all Richmond has to offer, so I know what type of beers will pair well with our dishes…there’s going to be plenty for everybody.”

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