Cary Street Cafe is for sale - restaurant staying open during the transition

Known for its live music and vegetarian-friendly fare, Cary Street Cafe will remain open during its transition.

Cary Street Cafe, the restaurant and music venue at Cary and Mulberry streets near the Fan District, is on the market.

The restaurant will stay open during the transition.

Owner Robyn Chandler has listed the restaurant with the option for someone to also buy the building.

“It has been 25 years; I’m tired,” she said. “I want to slow down a little. Running a business like this is 24/7, and I’m definitely ready for a break.”

Cary Street Cafe opened at 2631 W. Cary St. in 1986. Chandler, who was a bartender there, bought the restaurant in 1995.

The restaurant has long been known for its live music, Grateful Dead-inspired decor, and vegetarian-friendly menu.

Chandler announced her decision to sell the restaurant to the staff on Monday, then shared the news on Facebook.

“I wanted to inform the staff first,” she said. “It was the right thing to do. I have the crème de la crème of staff. They’ve been very supportive.”

Chandler listed the restaurant with Bandazian and Co., a local real estate company.

“I’ve had a really long relationship with Bandazian,” she said.

Bandazian was the landlord on the property before Chandler bought it.

Bedros Bandazian, the founder of the company, is listing the business and property.

“Robyn planted this orchard, and it’s time for her to pick up some fruit,” Bandazian said.

Chandler and Bandazian said they have been inundated with calls about the business.

“It’s an institution in Richmond. I’ve even got calls from Staunton,” Bandazian said.

Cary Street Cafe “is a really nice place. It’s a signature piece of property,” he added. “We’ll probably sell the building, too.”

The restaurant space has 44 seats inside, plus 24 on the patio and 10 seats at the bar. It also has a stage.

“It’s an unbelievable stage area,” Bandazian said. “The sound equipment and the lighting — it’s like a theater.”

Bandazian said he’s been fielding so many calls about the listing that he hasn’t had time to work up a public listing.

“My hopes are that someone, who has the money and a love for live music, will buy [Cary Street Cafe] and keep the same vibe going that was started 25 years ago,” Chandler said.

Cary Street Cafe is open Saturday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Tuesday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.

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Twitter: @KarriPeifer

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