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Shockoe River City Diner sold to EAT Restaurant Partners

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EAT Restaurant Partners is purchasing the Shockoe Bottom River City Diner location at 7 N. 17th St. (J. Elias O’Neal)

RICHMOND, Va. — A local restaurant group’s appetite for expansion has spread to Shockoe Bottom.

Chris Tsui’s EAT Restaurant Partners is set to purchase the River City Diner at 7 N. 17th St. The company plans to rebrand the eatery and capitalize on its location across from the 17th Street Farmers Market, which will begin a $3.5 million renovation this week.

Tsui and original River City Diner owner Scott Poates plan to close this week on the sale, which includes the building and restaurant equipment. Broker Austin Newman with Colliers International is representing Tsui in the deal.

Neither side would disclose the purchase price. The diner closed Wednesday ahead of the deal, which was announced at a Wednesday press conference.

Tsui will introduce a new concept and name for the restaurant, which he did not disclose.

Scott Poates of River City Diner and Chris Tsui of EAT Restaurant Partners. (J. Elias O’Neal)

“Thanks to Scott Poates, we were able to take over this iconic building,” he said.

The diner has been a mainstay in Shockoe Bottom since opening in 1994.

Poates and his business partners still own and will continue to operate River City Diner locations at 803 E. Parham Road in Henrico County and 11430 W. Huguenot Road in Chesterfield County.

“For me it’s about getting my life back,” Poates joked. “My wife, Anne, is retiring from the Henrico County school system and I want to spend more time with her.”

With EAT expanding its reach into Shockoe Bottom, Richmond city leaders are banking that Tsui’s leap into the neighborhood and $3.5 million in farmers market improvements will jumpstart additional private investment in the area.

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