Seafood restaurants drop anchor at Willow Lawn and Forest Hill

A King Crab Juicy Seafood restaurant is heading towards Willow Lawn. (Photos of Mike Platania)

Two New York-based restaurant chains focused on seafood are opening new homes in Richmond.

King Crab Juicy Seafood prepares to open a store in Willow Lawn, while Hook & Reel prepares to move to Forest Hill.

The space at 1601 Willow Lawn Drive, Suite 800, once housed Travinia Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar.

Rochester-based King Crab leases 7,000 square feet of space at 1601 Willow Lawn Drive, Suite 800, which has been vacant since 2019, when the Travinia Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar closed. This will be King Crab’s second local spot, joining his Chesterfield spot at 10456 Midlothian Turnpike. According to its website, it has 22 locations across the country.

New York-based Hook & Reel will open in the former O’Charley’s space at 7131 Forest Hill Ave. Hook & Reel has over 50 locations across the country and almost as many are underway. The Forest Hill site will be the first in the region. A Hook & Reel spokesperson said they aim to open this fall.

Attempts to reach local King Crab operators were unsuccessful, but Willow Lawn owner Federal Realty Investment Trust upheld the lease.

Both restaurants have similar menus, featuring customizable boiled seafood with clams, mussels, crayfish and shrimp. The shellfish are boiled with the seasoning of the customer’s choice, potatoes and corn. Other dishes on their menus include fried seafood and Po ‘Boy sandwiches.

A vacant building that once housed O’Charley’s in the Southside is being converted to a Hook & Reel seafood restaurant.

Hook & Reel leases the 5,100 square foot building, which is owned by local developer Harper Associates. Jim Ashby and Reilly Marchant of Thalhimer represented Harper in the case.

The Hook & Reel’s menu includes boiled and fried seafood. (Courtesy of Hook & Reel Facebook)

The Hook & Reel space is set up to accommodate 208 people and will have a full bar.

Harper is currently planning a store expansion in Stratford Hills that includes a new retail building anchored in Chipotle and dozens of townhouses.

King Crab will arrive at Willow Lawn shortly after another seafood-focused restaurant leaves. SaltBox Oyster Co. closed in the mall last year, though its space was recently taken over by IHOP. . The Mediterranean chain Cava Grill also recently opened at Willow Lawn.

In the Fan near the Sauer Center, The Boiling Crab is preparing to open at 2053 W. Broad St. The space has housed Cornerstone Cigar Bar, The Pig & The Pearl, and Republic Restaurant & Bar for the past several years.

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