RICHMOND, Va. -- Bobby Kruger has managed or owned multiple Richmond-area restaurants and venues, but he got his start as a teenager at the Applebee's in Chester.
"One of the bartenders that I worked with there, ended up coming up and getting a job in Richmond at a place called Surfish Station, which was where Bandito's is now," Kruger said as he retraced his steps in the Richmond restaurant industry. "When I was 18, I left Applebee's and got a job there as a server. And that was my first Richmond restaurant job."
From there Kruger followed mentor Holly Green to Julep's where he learned about upscaling dining and bartending.
"It was a high-standard environment, but they really took care of me and taught me a lot of stuff," he said.
Then came a short-lived stint running the Fan House.
"I looked at it for a long time as a failure, that my first restaurant ownership didn't last that long. But I feel like I learned as much there in less than a year than I learned anywhere else for as long as I've been, he said.
That newfound knowledge eventually led Kruger to open The Hoff with Carter Snipes in Scott's Addition.
"That was a huge project. A 10,000-square foot building, three levels, four bars, four different concepts inside of it," Kruger said. "Our first year of business, the amount of revenue we did by the third year of business, we had done a 1,000% increase in revenue. And so then, you know, in 2019, we decided to take a swing on Brambly Park."
Kruger and his team secured the Scott's Addition property that became Brambly Park winery in November 2019.
Then came 2020.
"We had a plan in place, some of which we held true to, but COVID really did change a lot of how I was planning on doing that place," he said.
How did COVID change Brambly Park? Why did he swipe right on Alchemy Coffee? And what the heck is Bobby Kruger now doing in Chesterfield County? All that, and much more, on this episode of Eat It, Virginia!
Eat It, Virginia is presented by Duke's Mayo Hot Tomato Summer July 24-30, 2023.
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