It’s all about expansion. The new partnership between Sugar Shack Donuts’ Ian Kelley and Tina Manley and Greg Smiley of Pescados, at 13126 Midlothian Turnpike, seems incongruous at first glance. Fish and doughnuts don’t have a lot in common.
But Kelley knows how to take a business and replicate it in another spot. He’ll soon open his seventh Sugar Shack location, in Arlington, and has plans for others in Charlottesville, Asheville, North Carolina and Melbourne, Florida.
Kelley is a longtime Pescados customer — he started young, coming in with his father and often eating at the bar. The teenager struck up a friendship with chef Todd Manley. Kelley talked endlessly to him about food, technique and culinary school. Manley was instrumental in helping Kelley launch Sugar Shack. “When I had a culinary question or when I needed advice or guidance,” he says, “I called Todd.”
Manley now lives and works in St. Croix, and in his absence, Kelley got to know Pescados co-owners Tina Manley and Smiley better.
The three were making doughnuts together one day — avocado tart doughnuts. “They’d been pinging ideas off me and I’d been pinging ideas off them,” says Kelley. “We finally came to the conclusion that I can help them grow their brand.”
Right now, the three are actively looking at property in Charlottesville. The hope is to find a building large enough to house another Sugar Shack store next to a second Pescados. The two businesses would be adjacent but separate.
Here in Richmond, the original Pescados will undergo a sweeping renovation and will close for Feb. 1-4. Kelley, Manley and Smiley plan to create an interior that can be easily duplicated at another location.
For the same reason, the menu will get a few tweaks as well. “Because they make everything in-house,” he says, “some of their stuff is so intensive.” He wants to help Smiley create dishes that can easily be replicated by another chef.
Kelley is now a partner. He’s not stepping away from Sugar Shack, he says. “I’m providing infrastructure and support for them that they don’t now have.”