• Wed. Nov 30th, 2022

‘There was a need for fast casual seafood’: Brooklyn lobster franchise to open in Richmond

ByStephanie M. Akbar

Oct 21, 2022

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – A Brooklyn lobster franchise is preparing to open its latest location in the Richmond neighborhood of Shockoe Bottom.

Rodney Bonds said he got into the restaurant business because he saw it as an opportunity.

“There was a need for quick casual seafood,” he told 8News.

With this core philosophy, Bonds combined his city’s culture to launch BK Lobster.

The BK Lobster store in Richmond will open at 1718 Main St. in Shockoe Bottom. (Courtesy of Rodney Bonds)

Bonds said his mother was a chef at Sean “P. Diddy” Combs’ restaurant. Growing up with the combination of food and hip hop inspired him to what BK Lobster could be.

“With the advent of the lobster roll, people no longer need to carry a bib and silverware,” Bonds said.

In 2019, Bonds sold his real estate company and when the COVID-19 pandemic began closing restaurants across the country, Bonds went all out on the BK Lobster franchise.

The franchise currently includes seven operating locations. Bonds said the franchise survived the pandemic by focusing on takeout. However, the Richmond location will be closer to the original Brooklyn restaurant.

“It will be a restaurant lounge model, as opposed to the take-out model we’ve used in other franchises before,” he said.

Bonds said he hopes this new focus on dining will allow the restaurant to serve as a flagship venue in the city, opening the possibility for more take-out outlets near places like VCU.

Richmond was chosen as the franchise location as early as February 2021, as it was where Bonds’ uncle lived.

“My uncle knew the area well,” Bonds said. “So we put together a team of people who live in Richmond but are from New York.”

Bonds said some members of the team were born and raised in Richmond, but the prospect of a restaurant in New York appealed to former New Yorkers the most.

“They are the first to seek the taste of home,” he says.

The BK Lobster website describes Brooklyn’s cool energy as a fundamental part of the dining experience.

“[It’s] a place where adults can go and enjoy good seafood for a night,” he said. “It’s like a cool new Red Lobster.”

(Courtesy of Rodney Bonds)

The small, selective menu features seafood dishes named after certain Brooklyn neighborhoods such as the “Bed-Stuy Biggie Roll” and the “Flatbush Roll.”

“We keep the menu simple,” Bonds said. “But with high quality ingredients from a Maine supplier.”

The BK Lobster store in Richmond will open at 1718 Main Street in Shockoe Bottom. Bonds said he hopes the restaurant will be open before the end of the year.

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