CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- David Dunlap was at the top of his game in March 2020. The executive chef, who gained experience in notable restaurants like The Inn at Little Washington and The Ashby, was running Maple and Pine at the Quirk Hotel in downtown Richmond. He had just opened a second location in Charlottesville when the pandemic closed restaurants statewide.
"Fifteen days of 'slow spread' turned into four months," Dunlap told Scott and Robey on the Eat It, Virginia podcast. "Then I got a call saying they weren't bringing back my position."
The husband and father was now faced with a life-changing decision. Move the family to a place where restaurants were hiring during the pandemic or figure out a new plan. Fortunately for David, his wife Brittany took over.
"My wife is a hustler. Her background is in marketing. She made a website and started to promote private dinners," he said. "I reached out to a bunch of wineries and breweries and started wine dinners and beer dinners for small groups of people and then kept myself really busy throughout the summer."
And it was Brittany who found the space that would be the family's next adventure -- Midlothian Chef's Kitchen.
"I needed a commercial kitchen. Where my daughter goes to cheer, that's where Midlothian Chef's Kitchen is now, and my wife kept passing by it. It used to be Shane's Rib Shack. They, unfortunately, didn't make it and this restaurant was open has had an awesome patio," Dunlap said. "And so in October, we signed a lease and got to work. We built the whole thing out ourselves. We didn't take on any investors so kind of just poured our life savings into this restaurant."Opened in early 2021, Midlothian Chef's Kitchen offers indoor/outdoor dining, curbside pickup, and prepared meals that can be reheated later.
Midlothian Chef's Kitchen
11501 Busy Street
North Chesterfield, Virginia 23236