The former bank tellers’ counter is being repurposed into a divider between tables and booths.

FoodE Prepares to Open in the Historic National Bank Building

by | Aug 21, 2016 | Business

By Susan Larson. Photos copyright Fredericksburg Today.

Update from FoodE, August 18, 2016
FoodE’s owners are awaiting confirmation from the City of Fredericksburg that they have passed all inspections. “We believe we have all the permits needed that would allow us to open, but we’re not going to open until we feel we have all of our systems in place,” Beth Black told Fredericksburg.Today. We will keep you posted.

Update from FoodE, July 27, 2016
“We’re getting close, friends … pretty darn close. Here’s an update on our move to 900 Princess Anne Street: our last day of service at our current location is this Sunday. (July 31). We hope to call for inspections at our new home during the first week of August. Then, we anticipate finalizing our new systems (what are we going to do without all those steps?!?!) that will allow our grand opening to be just that … grand. We’re also expanding the team and are in search of hosts, bartenders, chefs and servers, We’ve attached our application … if you’re interested in joining our team, please fill it out and send it to [email protected]

FoodE co-owners Joy Crump and Beth Black have long had envisioned what their flagship restaurant could be. Since opening in Fredericksburg, they’ve been limited by a small kitchen, with wait staff having to carry food down a narrow flight of stairs and through a courtyard.

That changes when FoodE moves into the renovated National Bank Building at 900 Princess Anne St.

“We have a unique opportunity to redefine our brand,” said Crump. “We try really hard to listen to the community and do what they want. We’re going to take the consensus of our last six years in business, and work it into our next phase.”

Crump and Black have added two new team members. Jeremy Harrison, who served the last nine years as manager of Capital Ale House Fredericksburg, is now business partner with them, and general manager at FoodE.

They’ve hired Tony King from The Inn at Little Washington to serve as Chef de cuisine.

“Beth hunts around for the best talents we can find,” Crump said. “We’ve been so limited in the space we had. With setup now in the same building, we can more fully express ourselves and show off the talent we have on our team.”

Crump said the menu basics will remain the same, with some refinement. “We’re going to use the same parameters to guide us in our new space as in our old; Food by seasons and locality, keeping approachability and affordability.”

What will be different is seating for 90 instead of 30, and table service.

There will also be a full bar, with craft cocktails. “Lindsey Marr, a manager of FoodE, is a genius with craft cocktails,” Black said. “She is knee deep in research, ordering and training. Christian Bagby, formerly with Ardeo & Bardeo in D.C., will also be joining the team.

Crump and Black are co-owners of the building with local developer Mike Adams, who established NBB LLC to handle the project. The second floor will become the offices of his company, JON Properties.

“It really made sense for us to do this together with Mike,” Crump said. “We have the expertise of operating a restaurant, and Mike has the understanding of owning, renovating and occupying a historic building.”

“We’re honoring and celebrating the history of this building,” Black said.

Robert and George Ellis completed the Federal Style structure in 1820. The front of the building served as Farmers’ Bank of Fredericksburg, while the back of the building served as home to Dabney Herndon, the bank’s first cashier, and his family. Farmers’ was a branch of the state bank, performing bank functions at a time when there was no central currency.

During the Civil War, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln spoke from the steps leading to the home, and Confederate President Jefferson Davis spoke from the bank’s front steps. Union troops used the building as a headquarters.

The bank failed at the end of the Civil War, when its assets consisted largely of worthless Confederate notes.

Within months, Fredericksburg leaders secured a charter to form the National Bank of Fredericksburg. It became part of the United States government’s system of national banks, begun to stabilize the currency.

Mercantile Bankshares Corporation acquired The National Bank of Fredericksburg in 1994. PNC Financial Services purchased Mercantile Bankshares in 2007, and took over the downtown Fredericksburg location.

The building’s nearly 194 years of service as a financial institution ended when PNC Financial Services closed the location in November 2014. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register.

Adams, Crump and Black have been committed to preserving as much of the original structure as possible. They hired David Pricer and George Keating of Fredericksburg Millwork and Exhibits, the company renown for working on historic projects for the Smithsonian Institution. Well-known local brick mason Richard Crickenberger is in charge of brickwork repairs.

The crew took up the carpet and two layers of asbestos tile and discovered an original pine floor. They worked on hands and knees, sanding and staining. Other original features include the molding, the plaster, the wood window frames, eight fireplaces (which are no longer operational), and the railings and landings on the staircase.

Local designer Jackie Payne of Allora Designs is working with Crump and Black to fulfill their design dreams for the space, which will be filled with original pieces. The light fixtures are hand-made by Dutton Brown. Judy May of Stafford has designed the upholstery. All tables and chairs are being built by Virginia craftsmen.

“It’s really cool how many local contractors and workers we have in this building,” Black said. “It should feel authentic in here.”

There will be art installations by Avery Tores and Gabrielle Pons. Tores, a FoodE chef and a wood crafter, is designing an installation that pays homage to the history of FoodE and Fredericksburg, Black said. Pons, co-owner of Fredericksburg’s Ponshop Studio and Gallery, is creating a work for the back dining room — known as the chef’s dining room, because diners will be able to watch the chefs work. Brandon Newton is painting two acrylics depicting where FoodE was and where it is, Black said.

Payne purchased out-of-circulation pennies and had them hand-placed as rivets in the floor of the vault dining room. “Our main idea for the vault is a 1950s – 60s style smoking room — a little masculine with feminine details,” Black said. “I think you could see the Rat Pack in here.” She plans to extend a special invitation to Tony Bennett, when he comes to perform at the University of Mary Washington in December.

If all goes as planned, FoodE will open in their new location on July 31, 2016. If there are any delays, they will operate out of their second restaurant, Mercantile, until the National Bank Building space is ready. Mercantile is located at 205 William St. in downtown Fredericksburg.

“We have to be out,” Black said. “Orofino Restaurant is opening in our old space on August 1.”

FoodE’s planned hours are 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday.

FoodE Moving to National Bank Building

Fredericksburg Chef Joy Crump to Cook at the James Beard House

FoodE Owners Announce a Second Restaurant

FoodE Wins Readers’ Choice Best Burger in Fredericksburg

FoodE Named Sandwich King, Sprelly is People’s Choice

Downtown Fredericksburg’s Historic National Bank Building Sold

Historic Bank Closes its Doors in Downtown Fredericksburg

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