WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Sidewalk and street dining may have started because of COVID-19, but it’s a trend that’s most likely not going away and in the City of Williamsburg, they’re banking on it.
“This is going to be a big summer,” said Williamsburg EDA Chairman Rick Overy. “We lost most of last summer season.”
The former Hair of the DoG Bottle Shop on North Henry Street downtown will soon be transformed into a salad restaurant that will have plenty of outdoor seating.
The hope is to attract more visitors like Erin Serra who was visiting the city for the first time Saturday.
“It seems like people walk more in these towns than drive, which is great, because just the whole healthy concept of it…I mean we were looking for a nice salad bar,” said Serra. “This is a great town. Everyone is so kind. It’s a good feeling.”
The city’s Economic Development Authority has granted $40,000 in tax incentives to help create the outdoor dining space.
Overy said the incentive is a revenue sharing agreement where the EDA pays back part of the taxes the business pays to the city.
“When this restaurant opens, the future tax dollars of the people patronizing it will then be shared between the city and some of it will go back to the restaurant owner,” he said. “It’s a win-win for the city and for the businesses, and I’m excited we’re attracting restaurants and we’ll have restaurants opening when unfortunately, other areas are really struggling and even losing restaurants.”
The salad concept restaurant is not the only new eatery coming to Williamsburg.
The breakfast franchise, Another Broken Egg Café is moving into the former IHOP on Richmond Road. It will be the first one to open in the Commonwealth.
A $99,000 tax incentive will go towards modernizing the building.
Both restaurants are expected to generate more than $850,000 in local sales and meals tax revenue to the city over the next five years.
“As we provide incentive grants to the businesses and bring more businesses to the area, it’s really a draw for both visitors and residents,” said Williamsburg City Council Member Barbara Ramsey. “It’s really been transformational in this part of the city.”
Renovation work on the two restaurants is expected to start right away. Both are planning for a July 4 opening.