The long-running and much-beloved jazz club in the Fan gets a new name, new management, and a new concept.
As August turned to September, the city of Richmond learned that one of Richmond’s longest-standing jazz clubs, Emilio’s, had become the Richmonder Public House. The process of transition had actually begun over a month earlier, as Emilio’s introduced a new menu “courtesy of The Richmonder” in early July. However, it wasn’t until August 30 that the transition was officially announced.
The new management, three young black entrepreneurs who took over from previous ownership this summer, still want to keep the venue largely the same. “We love Emilio’s,” said a spokesperson for The Richmonder. “Everybody sees it as the corner spot; it’s a landmark of jazz here in the city.”
So the Richmonder will largely remain the same as the Emilio’s Fan dwellers have known and loved. However, the new management felt the name change was important to differentiate themselves from previous ownership.
“We still wanted to offer it kind of like Emilios,” said the spokesperson, “but… of course we want to change it up, since it’s new owners.”
However, the name isn’t quite the only thing changing — the menu has undergone a transformation as well. Authentic Spanish-inspired dishes were what stood out about the Emilio’s menu. However, the Richmonder has replaced the previous tapas menu with a smorgasbord of traditional dive bar food. Highlights of the new menu include chicken wings with house-made sauced and flavors, as well as burgers, hot dogs, fries, and assorted flavors of mac and cheese. “Bar grub” starts at $6 with a variety of add-ons for $3, and entrees range in price from $10-$14.
Live music and salsa night were what brought in the most business for Emilio’s, and thankfully the new owners will be carrying on that tradition. Throughout the week, themed dance nights will also be happening.
“Tuesday will remain salsa night with Steve Green, who’s been here 15 years,” a spokesperson confirmed. “Thursday, we have Roger D. Carroll, who’s been here for two years.”
Musical mainstays of Emilio’s past will also continue to perform on a regular basis, including Lady E and Doc Branch and the Keynotes.
“Doc actually made the Guinness Book of World Records for consistent jazz music for the last 35 years here at Emilio’s, so that’s something we couldn’t let go,” said the spokesperson.
Though many elements will be changing, the focus for the new owners is to let the community know that they have a place to go for live entertainment every night.
“Music speaks the language of all nations,” said a spokesperson. “So what we want to do is bring a place where all the vibes are good. It doesn’t matter what you look like or where you’re from — just bring all your culture here.”
Weekly food specials, such as $5 burger night on Mondays and $2 Taco Tuesdays, are also regular staples of the Richmonder’s food offerings.
The Richmonder also plans to install a sidewalk patio, just as soon as they can secure a permit from the city. They hope to have the patio in place by next summer.
While the transition from Emilio’s to The Richmonder may have seemed sudden to some, the new owners want to assure everyone that the spot on the corner of Broad and Meadow is still as inviting as ever. Whether you love jazz, salsa, or simply a good neighborhood spot to hang out, The Richmonder Public House hopes you’ll stop in soon.
Additional reporting by Marilyn Drew Necci. Top Photo via The Richmonder/Facebook