Hot Chick: A Fried Chicken Joint, the new restaurant from EAT Restaurant Partners, is now open in Shockoe Bottom.

The restaurant opened Jan. 23 in the former River City Diner space at 7 N. 17th St. and is now open daily for lunch and dinner.

Hot Chick serves chicken - a lot of it. Fried chicken, chicken sandwiches, salads with chicken on them and hot chicken. Check out the menu here.

Previous from Sept. 2018:

It's been about 14 months since the announcement that Richmond restaurateur Chris Tsui was opening a restaurant in the former River City Diner space in Shockoe Bottom, but finally the spot has a name, a concept and a rough opening date.

Tsui, president of EAT Restaurant Partners, will open Hot Chick - a fried chicken restaurant - at 7 N. 17th St., across from the 17th Street Farmers’ Market. The restaurant could open as early as December, but Tsui said January is more likely.

"It's a fried chicken joint," he said. "We’ll have fried chicken, fried chicken sandwiches, the sides, fried chicken wings." The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner daily, plus weekend brunch.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announced the restaurant at a news conference in Aug. 2017, two days after city officials announced that renovations to convert 17th Street Farmers’ Market into an open-air pedestrian plaza would begin that week.

The market project has been mired in delays.

The $3.5 million project stretches back to 2012 and was initially expected to be completed as early as September 2015. It was delayed again in 2016 when construction bids for the project came in higher than expected.

The 2017 plan was scheduled to wrap up in spring 2018, then pushed to summer. In August, city officials shared a September end date with scaled back amenities and partial completion. That date passed last week. The new date is TBD (city officials did not respond to a request for an update), though Tsui thinks it may now be November. Regardless, he said he'll delay the opening of Hot Chick until the market project is complete.

Several restaurants around the market - including Addis Ethiopian Restaurant, Rosie Connolly’s Pub and Restaurant, Havana ’59 and C'est Le Vin - have reported steep drops in sales and traffic since construction began.

The market work came on the heels of the of $90 million renovated train shed at Main Street Station.

“We made a lot of investment down here. That investment will spur other investments from the private sector,” Stoney said at the August 2017 announcement of Tsui's restaurant. “Today we are here to talk about that sort of investment. … When the government makes this sort of investment, we’re hoping for a return on that investment.”

Tsui is still confident in the potential of Shockoe Bottom - especially because of city's investment.

"There are a couple of bad actors [in Shockoe Bottom]," he said. "I think that the city’s got too much money down there already not to squeeze the area."

At least nine people were shot in Shockoe Bottom in a three week period in late August through the first weeks of September. Two of the incidents occurred near restaurants; in one case, Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority revoked the restaurant's liquor license; in another, the agency declined to take action, just days after the mayor promised a stronger police presence in the Bottom and a new strategy in partnership with state agencies, including ABC.

"The daytime population is there: you’ve got a lot of companies moving in," Tsui said. "Creative companies: advertising, tech, apps, the start up companies – the young generation companies. And the nighttime population is all there [in growing apartment buildings]. They’re scared of a couple of places. Once [those restaurants] are gone, you'll have dozens of restaurants moving in."

For Hot Chick, Tsui will work with executive Chef Mike Lindsey, who is currently at one of Tsui's other restaurants, Pizza & Beer of Richmond, on the Hot Chick menu. Lindsey will also lead the kitchen. The restaurant group is now delaying the opening of Fatty Smokes BBQ Joint, the previously unnamed barbecue restaurant in the works at the former Sunny Men's Wear store at 326 E. Broad St. in downtown Richmond. Construction delays now put the opening of that restaurant in February.

EAT Restaurant Partners operates nine Richmond restaurants, including Wong Gonzalez, Foo Dog, Beijing on Grove and Wild Ginger. Its latest, Pizza & Beer of Richmond, opened in May in Cary Street Station.

kpeifer@richmond.com

(804) 649-6321

Twitter: @KarriPeifer

Features and dining editor, deputy web editor and, of course, covering all things Richmond dining news.

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