The long-anticipated Claudius Place, the first private commercial investment in downtown Crozet in a long time, will break ground before the end of February, according to developer Katurah Roell. The new building, on Library Avenue opposite the new Crozet Library, will house the skybar bruited about for the last few months.
Roell started out saying he would be underway last April, but a series of site and easement obstacles delayed him. The county signed off on his 7,500-square-foot plan in December and, with that in hand, he promptly got a bank loan. He said he intends to have the building open in six months. R.E. Lee Construction will be the contractor.
Cid and Liza Scallet, owners of the popular and lamented Batesville Store, will open a restaurant called Crozet Central that will occupy most of the space on the building’s main floor, as well as a rooftop glass-enclosed bar and an open-air deck, all enjoying some of Crozet’s best views.
State Farm agent Lauren Morris will move her office into the new building’s lower level. A lease is pending on two spaces on the main floor, Roell said, and he still has two spaces empty on the lower level. The bank wanted 60 percent of the total space leased as a condition of the loan.
Crozet Central customers will enter the restaurant’s main door to find a bakery section and an open kitchen and deli. Behind those will be the restaurant’s closed kitchen.
The main restaurant will seat 100, plus counter seating at the bar. It will have a raised music stage, lounge seating areas and a kids’ play area. If configured to maximize seating, the space could hold 200 people.
The skybar, which will have full bar service and food, will seat 40, and the deck accommodates 50. The third-floor level will be accessible by both indoor stairs and outdoor steps. Dumbwaiters will connect the bar to the main kitchen. “Roell has been terrific with our design and has had many great ideas,” said Scallet.
“We’re going to be picking up on our renowned food from Batesville Store,” he said, “but we’ll be on a larger scale. Crozet Central will feature classic comfort food, homemade baked goods and homemade ice cream in a restaurant setting. Plus we’ll have take-out. The food will be affordable and family-oriented, with lots of fun stuff for kids. The main menu and the late night menu will all be homemade. We will never bring in food. We’ll make everything.”
Scallet said the restaurant would have special monthly dinner events, such as barbeque night or Italian night and occasional all-you-can-eat events. He said they also intend to do a lot of catering, but that will be set up as a separate operation.
“We plan on having live music three times a week, so you can eat or snack listening to live music. The music will be early in the evening and over by 10 p.m.
“We’re excited about the location because the deck views are just so nice.
Scallet said he expects the restaurant to employ between 40 and 50 people.
“We were very community-oriented in Batesville,” said Scallet, “and we want to keep that local vibe for Crozet. We want to be the local music hub of the area. We will be pushing music.
“And we really want to reach moms and dads whose kids are at the library or swim practice. This place will be for kids, too. Plus, we’ll be senior friendly and we’ll host bridge tournaments.”
Scallet said the restaurant gets 20 reserved parking spaces. And it will be across the street from the new library parking lot, which has 58 spaces.
“We’re really excited,” he said. “We’re not getting any younger and it’s been almost two years since Batesville Store closed. Our place is going to be personal. It will have our stamp on it. It’s from us to our community. It’s not going to be generic and it’s going to a truly professional restaurant.”
Scallet said he wants to be in operation in October.