‘Overwhelming corporate’ competition kills longtime Richmond restaurant and music venue

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A downtown restaurant and bar has closed up shop. (PHOTO: Michael Thompson)

RICHMOND, Va. — An Empire has fallen near VCU. Empire Dining and Lounge, which had operated at 727 W. Broad St. for nearly a decade, shut down on Oct. 7, owner Thor LeVesque said.

LeVesque said he bought the two-story restaurant and music venue last year from Jason Edwards and Chris Brand. The business had been open for nine years. LeVesque said he couldn’t attract enough VCU students away from nearby chains.

“The competition is overwhelmingly corporate,” LeVesque said. “If you don’t appeal to the young students that walk through that area, you won’t stay open.”

Empire is across the street from a Chipotle and a Panera Bread, and just a block away from Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Jersey Mike’s Subs locations.

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