December 4, 2023


Professional waiter experts

Robin Inn owner searches for a buyer ahead of planned June 18 closure

Proprietor Niki Loupassi at the Robin Inn, exactly where she’s worked since 1976. (Jack Jacobs photographs)

As a youthful female in the late 1960s, Niki Loupassi would wrap herself in a checkered tablecloth and sit in the booths of the Robin Inn whilst waiting for her dad and mom, Carol and Manuel Loupassi, to close down their family members restaurant for the night.

By age 11 she started bussing tables there and went comprehensive-time at the Lover eatery as a teen. By 1996, she took more than ownership from her parents and has put in numerous of her times there considering the fact that.

Now, Loupassi is wanting to provide the Robin Inn, soon after practically 60 many years less than her family’s ownership. If she’s not able to uncover a purchaser, Loupassi claimed she’ll wind down the restaurant and seem for a new tenant to lease the approximately 2,600-square-foot area at 2601 Park Ave.

Both way, June 18 will be the very last day Loupassi intends to function the business enterprise.

“I’m just genuinely ready to retire and I’m searching forward to the up coming chapter,” she stated. “It received to a position exactly where I wasn’t as delighted. I wasn’t experiencing my position the way that I should really.”

Robin Inn has served Greek and Italian fare at the corner of North Robinson Street and Park Avenue considering that the late 1950s. Manuel Loupassi, Niki’s late father, immigrated to the U.S. from Greece in 1957 and got his very first work in America as a dishwasher at a Holiday break Inn. 7 many years after arriving in Richmond, he obtained the Robin Inn and proceeded to operate it for the subsequent 32 yrs with Carol.

In that time he also constructed a sizable portfolio of genuine estate in the Museum District, one that included the former Gusti Restaurant Devices & Offer setting up on Wide Road. In 2019, Loupassi began offering off his serious estate holdings.

The Robin Inn also crafted up a collection of regulars. Niki explained she now serves the youngsters and grandchildren of people that utilized to occur into the restaurant back when Manuel ran it.

“I have prospects appear in and consume lunch and dinner (at the Robin Inn) on the similar working day. I have regulars who come in 3-to-4 occasions for each 7 days,” she said. “I do cater usually to an more mature crowd, but a good deal of younger individuals adore it as well.”

Located along Park Avenue, the Robin Inn’s been serving Italian and Greek fare due to the fact the 1950s.

Her 27 several years at the helm of the Robin Inn didn’t pass with no some tough memories, the pandemic and a new impolite consumer among them. “People can be snippy occasionally,” Niki reported. “If they’ve never ever worked in a restaurant, they do not know the sacrifices persons make performing there.”

However, Niki claimed she holds most dearly the days she’d get the job done at the restaurant with her father right before he handed absent previous August at 84.

“Some of my happiest situations were doing work there with my mom and dad. It was so considerably fun doing work with them, so great having the relatives do the job there,” she claimed. “It produced it so substantially a lot more effortless.”

Pollard & Bagby’s Tony Rolando is supporting Loupassi in the lookup for a new operator. She mentioned she’s hopeful she’ll be capable to uncover a further family members to operate the spot.

“What built my cafe a spouse and children restaurant were being my buyers. If a person who has a spouse and children to operate it could get it more than, that’d be great,” Loupassi said. “My variety of restaurant, a real mom-and-pop form, is rather much obsolete and will be tremendously missed by the place.”

She claimed there’s previously been some fascination from prospective buyers, but that if no deal materializes by the fall they’ll commence advertising and marketing the place for lease. Loupassi will keep possession of the developing, which town records demonstrate Manuel bought in 1966 for $45,000.

Nevertheless Loupassi mentioned she’d be eager to consult with a new operator on tweaking the recipes for the Robin Inn’s meat sauce, house dressing and lasagna – dishes she explained are amongst the most well known – she said she’s centered on retiring and spending time with her loved ones.

“Basically, I require to get the anxiety level down,” Loupassi mentioned “But I really feel proud of what I’ve finished.”

  • • BizSense reporter Jack Jacobs contributed to this report.