Chefscape makes its debut on Saturday

Changes are underway at Chefscape — the food hall, marketplace and commercial kitchen at the Village at Leesburg — and Artie Simcox, a regional restaurateur, will be overseeing the new management and operations.

Simcox, who has most recently been serving as a restaurant consultant, previously owned more than 20 eateries around the country and was part of the Great American Restaurant Group. He is the namesake of Artie’s Restaurant in Fairfax.

“He has a lot of great ideas, and we are really excited about this,” said Henry Fonvielle, president of Rappaport, which manages Village at Leesburg. “He has a passion for coaching, working as a consultant and advisor and focusing on helping local independent restauranteurs to establish new concepts and improve operations.”

Chefscape is an 11,000-square-foot food prep and business incubator space that opened in 2019 by local entrepreneurs Rob Batchelder and Ginny Grivas. Grivas and Batchelder’s original vision for Chefscape was to serve as a launching pad for restaurant owners before they move to brick-and-mortar.

They have both since left the Leesburg location; Grivas stepped away from the business, and Batchelder shifted his focus to Chefscape locations in New York City.

Simcox says he shares that same original vision and will serve as a hands-on guide to business owners to help them through the process to ensure their success.

Courtenay Jeffers, who has been at Chefscape since it began, will serve as the general manager.

“It’s refreshing to have someone with that caliber of experience to come in and help the team,” Jeffers said, referring to Simcox.

Simcox said, “We will work with mom-and-pop shops that are not in retail locations to start them off in a shared kitchen and eventually they can open in the food hall. We will help develop them and bring them up into their own space.”

Currently, Colombian’s Place, owned by Javier Galvis, Chaatwala, owned by Jaisimha Jaithirth, and Polished Foxx, owned by Erik Foxx, operate in the food hall. A currently vacant kiosk will be used on rotation by different vendors to give some of the shared kitchen members an opportunity to work in the front and have restaurant experience in the food hall, Jeffers said.

Customers can place orders on Doordash and online, and contact-less pickup options are available.

Simcox plans to re-open the bar area at Chefscape this spring. He has applied for a liquor license and has plans for an “elevated cocktail experience,” a neighborhood bar feel, fun themes and live entertainment, he said.

“The overall vision is local chefs, global flavors and rising stars,” he said.

Rappaport’s Fonvielle gives credit to Russell Seymour, economic development director for the Town of Leesburg, for helping to to arrange the business deal.

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