Skilligalee, a seafood restaurant that has been part of the Richmond-area dining scene for 43 years, will close next month.
Owner Richard Stephenson said Thursday that July 12 will be the restaurant’s last day of business.
He said he is selling the property at 5416 Glenside Drive, just north of Broad Street, to an owner who will not continue to run the restaurant.
“It’s going to be bulldozed,” he said.
He did not disclose the new owner’s identity or the property’s future use. He said the sale is scheduled to close in early August.
Stephenson said the decision to sell was his.
“I’m 77 years old,” he said, “and I’ve spent 43 years in the restaurant business. It was time.
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“I’m sorry for Richmond,” Stephenson said. “It’s a wonderful place with fresh seafood and a homey atmosphere.”
In 1970, he and a fellow advertising salesman, Pete Pajchak, decided to open a restaurant.
“We were fishing buddies,” he said. “Just a couple of guys looking for a way to make a living.”
The two rookie restaurateurs chose seafood as a specialty because they were impressed with another local seafood restaurant’s success.
“We thought that if we could just get some of the overflow from that place, we’d be all right,” Stephenson said.
The restaurant’s name was borrowed from an Eastern Shore fishing boat that they had enjoyed, he said.
Pajchak was killed in a highway crash on Christmas Eve 1973 and Stephenson has been the owner since.
The restaurant, first at 7035 Staples Mill Road and at the current address since December 1984, has a nautical décor that Stephenson takes pride in.
“I put my heart and soul into the place,” he said. “I found the artifacts and hauled them here myself.”
He said many of the artifacts and boat models in the restaurant will be sold in an online auction starting July 5.
Winning bidders will be able to pick up their goods after the restaurant closes.
Stephenson said he is looking forward to spending time at his home in the Northern Neck and that he won’t miss the commute to the restaurant — nearly 200 miles round trip.
Skilligalee’s website lists its hours as Tuesday-Friday from 11:30 a.m. until 9 p.m., on Saturdays from 4 to 9 p.m., and on Sundays from 4 until 8 p.m. The restaurant is closed Mondays.