At 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 23 the official announcement came that a new client will be moving into the old 401 S. Main St. Bank building bringing a unique restaurant dining experience to the City of Emporia. The Bank by Olivia’s is expected to open in mid-October, though the staff will already be integrating itself into the community by participating in the Virginia Peanut Festival, Emporia-Greensville Chamber of Commerce Barbecue Cook-Off and Meherrin River Arts Council Festival.
“We came down here with my sister-in-law, saw this building and fell in love with it,” business owner Rhonda Gonzales said. “We really want to meld our way into the community. That’s important to us. We’re going to be busy.”
Gonzales brings 17 years of management, marketing, personnel and business experience to the table. She will manage the restaurant to make sure things run smoothly. Gonzales currently lives in Richmond and runs a family home and day support business for intellectually disabled adults. She also does catering as a side business with her daughter Tairren Massenburg, who will be the head chef for Bank by Olivia’s. Massenburg currently lives in Petersburg but is looking to relocate to Emporia.
Gonzales said the philosophy is “slow food” and not the typical fast food, such as burgers and fries. She wants the restaurant have a taste of Emporia-Greensville by using local farms and keeping an Emporia-Greensville touch on the menu. She said the Bank by Olivia’s will be a family-oriented place.
Why the Business name Bank by Olivia’s? Gonzales said it is her daughter’s middle name and was also the middle name of her late mother in law, who she described as a culinary artist. It runs in the family.
“Tairren was working at a bakery,” Gonzales said. “She helped set up a bakery in Petersburg and has a lot of knowledge as far as cooking and kitchen equipment. She’s very knowledgeable. She whips me into shape. I’m more of a talker. I talk to everybody, but we work well together.”
The business will be open every day except Monday. There will be a quick pickup breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Tuesday through Friday featuring breakfast sandwiches, coffee, tea and juice. Lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner will be from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday The Bank by Olivia’s will serve brunch. Dinner will be served 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The restaurant is only part of the business model. Gonzales said the Bank By Olivia’s will also provide catering and provide services for wedding receptions.
Gonzales and the Bank By Olivia’s staff hosted a small reception for City of Emporia leaders inside the Bank building Tuesday as the announcement of the new business was officially made. City Manager William Johnson said he is excited about a new restaurant that offers a unique twist. coming to Emporia.