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From the archives: Soble’s Restaurant in the Fan District
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From the archives: Soble’s Restaurant in the Fan District

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In the fall of 1977, Bruce Behrman (left) and Paul Soble opened a new restaurant in Richmond’s Fan District.

The restaurant space at Floyd and Robinson Streets was originally a drugstore started by W.S. Cavedo in 1916. When the druggist opened his shop, the neighborhood was sparsely settled and the Boulevard hadn’t even been paved yet. Cavedo’s drug store was in business for sixty years.

In 1977, the small corner building was being remodeled to reopen as “Soble’s” restaurant, the joint venture of Behrman and Soble.

Soble, a former teacher at Tuckahoe Junior High, told the Times-Dispatch, “What we’ll have here is a neighborhood restaurant similar to the Strawberry Street Café but smaller and a little more personal.”

The restaurant owners maintained some of the old charm of the drug store and kept some display cases as well as the original Cavedo’s sign. Besides the bar area, six tables and five booths, the restaurant also had patio seating.



In 1978, one Times-Dispatch food critic wrote a review on Soble’s. What did the critic have to say?

Along with three other cooks, there really is a Momma Soble in the kitchen (co-owner Paul Soble’s mother). And her chopped liver appetizer ($1.25), accompanied by an onion slice and packaged sardines, is a tasty out-of-the-ordinary introduction to dinner…

Momma’s chicken soup (90 cents a bowl) is chickenless, but full of chicken flavor and noodles…

Entrees—steaks, flounder and broiled scallops from $3.50 to $8.25—include a baked potato and salad…

The hot deli sandwiches with spicy meats and melted Swiss cheese are Soble’s strong suit. But if you decide on a heartier meal, order the house Italian dressing on your salad. Basil, thyme, parsley, oregano and rosemary lend a distinct personality to the salad oil, vinegar and garlic base…

Monday nights might tell a different tale. But if your inclination leans to a quiet, intimate dinner, this restaurant in the Fan is not a good choice during the weekend. Soble’s is noisy, cramped and amplified with music—and fun. When we left on Friday night, there was standing room only.

Soble’s restaurant was in operation for 22 years before the owners sold it.

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