Under new ownership by Seth Campbell, Richmond’s long-beloved Ipanema Cafe will remain a staple of Grace St. and maintain its culture.
You may already know that Ipanema recently acquired Seth Campbell as its new owner, but you probably didn’t know that Campbell’s dedication to the full-service vegetarian/vegan café entitles a daily 70-minute drive just to get there. He’s been spending a lot of time on the road lately.
The New Jersey native graduated from the University of Virginia in the spring of 2019, and still currently resides in Charlottesville with his dogs, Tio, Bear, and Loki. He’s looking forward to moving to Richmond this summer.
Campbell has built his experience within the industry since he was 19, as a college student juggling different positions as a bouncer, food-runner, barback, and eventually a bartender.
“I love a good challenge, and I love the responsibility that comes with it,” said Campbell.
His education and experience, blended together with his competitive drive, make him eager to further diversify the crowd of existing customers. “Ipanema means so much to Richmond because it’s a mainstay, and a staple of Grace St.,” said Campbell. With more than 20 years in business, Campbell is adamant about maintaining the culture of Ipanema as the café’s regulars know it.
What kind of culture does Ipanema embody? Campbell would tell you that it’s first and foremost a loving place, because its friends and customers feel like family. When you walk down the few front steps into the café, it immediately gives you a homey feeling. It’s a cozy place, whether you’re inside a booth or out on the patio.
He emphasizes that it’s a fun place to be, especially on Wednesdays for the locally-loved karaoke night. Best of all, Campbell describes Ipanema as a place that has formed a community around being accepting of everyone that walks through its doors.
No matter how much Grace St. has changed over the years, Campbell is motivated to grow Ipanema in the tradition it has established, even with crowds that aren’t solely vegan or vegetarian. And while he doesn’t fall on either side of the vegan- or meat-lover groups, he does love Ipanema’s Beyond Burger and sweet potato fries, paired with their harissa mayo.
Top Photo via Ipanema Cafe on Instagram