Richmond restaurant owner Ron Joseph is always on the lookout for a new project.

The owner of Richmond’s Strawberry Street Cafe branched into the mobile food truck business in 2006 with Strawberry Street Events. In 2014, he assumed full ownership of the Fan District restaurant he’s co-owned since 1994; and in May, Joseph launched a mobile beverage bar available for rent for events.

And now, this summer, Joseph will open his newest venture: The Waterfront Virginia — a private event and restaurant space in Urbanna.

The restaurant, which was most recently home to The Dockside Restaurant, is at the Dozier Port Urbanna Marina.

The spot was devastated in February 2016 by a fire that killed two people — Francis Blantz, 75, and his wife, Julia J. Blantz, 65, — and destroyed 21 boats, a boathouse and a storage facility.

“That whole dock that burned up was a community,” Joseph said. “It wasn’t just a dock. Those people knew each other. They would go on trips together and celebrate birthdays.”

Joseph wasn’t in Urbanna at the time of the fire, but he wanted to help bring something back to the area that he’s considered a second home for 20 years.

He partnered with John and Barbara Mullins, who purchased the Dozier Port Urbanna Marina in 2017, to launch The Waterfront Virginia.

Joseph had been toying with the idea of opening a restaurant in Urbanna before the fire and he officially made the move about a year after it.

“I think the restaurant scene in Richmond is built out,” he said. “There aren’t enough people to support the restaurants or retail in Richmond, in my opinion. I want to grow, but I want to go in some areas where the competition isn’t as fierce.”

The Waterfront Virginia is, in fact, on the water with 120 seats inside and capacity for 50-75 outside. There’s even docking space for people who want to boat to the restaurant. The Mullins are adding 42 floating and attached docks.

For now, Joseph will launch the restaurant as a private event space, available for rent for private parties and weddings. It will also be open to the public for seasonal events, but he plans to use the first year as a testing ground to decide if he wants to open to the public full time in summer.

The Waterfront Virginia will open to the public Sept. 1 with its first event: Urbanna’s Taste of the Bay and Beyond, which will take place from noon to 10 p.m. at 17 Cross St.

The menu will be seafood heavy (oysters, soft shells, sugar toads, skate) — with an emphasis on Chesapeake Bay bounty — plus plenty of other things. There will also be craft beer, wine and oyster shooters.

This is the first of six or so seasonal events Joseph will host in the space (others will be during the Urbanna Oyster Festival, on Memorial Day, Labor Day and Fourth of July). Private event rental requests can be submitted at

(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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