Bar Solita opens on Broad Street in downtown Richmond

Bar Solita is now open in the former Graffiato space at 123 W. Broad St. downtown. (J. Elias O’Neal)

RICHMOND, Va. — A local restaurant group has tightened its grip on its two-block slice of downtown Richmond.

RVA Hospitality Group last week opened Bar Solita, a new Mediterranean-inspired restaurant in the former Graffiato location at 123 W. Broad St.

It’s the group’s fifth restaurant in the region and its third along Broad Street between Foushee and Jefferson streets. Run by Frances Santarella and Elizabeth Kincaid, the group also owns Tarrant’s Cafe at 1 W. Broad St., Max’s on Broad across the street, Tarrant’s West in the West End and Little Saints’ in the Devil’s Triangle.

“As a restaurant group, we’re excited to increase our footprint and to be part of the growth and success of the arts district,” Santarella said. “We’re looking forward to seeing what’s to come in the next 10 years.”

The group signed a 10-year lease on the Graffiato space this summer, shortly after celebrity chef Mike Isabella abandoned the location after about four years in business and in the wake of a widely publicized sexual harassment claim.

While Graffiato’s closure left a bad taste with area diners and former employees, Santarella and Kincaid saw an opportunity for growth.

“It’s one of the most visible restaurant locations along West Broad Street, with bus rapid transit right in front,” Kincaid said. “Whatever concept that we were going to create had to be fresh, it had to be inviting and had to be drastically different than what was here before.”

That meant gutting the interior and incorporating more color into the space.

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