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Profile of Jake Crocker and Hayden Fisher
Hayden Fisher (left) and Jake Crocker own F. W. Sullivan's and are developing a restaurant at The Chimneys..
SUZANNE CARR ROSSI/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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BY BILL FREEHLING
In poker parlance, Jake Crocker and Hayden Fisher have gone all-in on downtown Fredericksburg.
In November the business partners opened F.W. Sullivan's Old Town Bar & Grille on William Street. This summer they plan to open two more eateries and bars: The Chimneys at 623 Caroline St. and Jorge's Cantina at 106 George St.
Operating several restaurants within close proximity of each other is nothing new for Crocker and Fisher, who have other investors at their various ventures.
This week they opened the Uptown Market and Deli on Main Street in Richmond, having patterned it after Littlejohn's New York Delicatessen in Charlottesville. On that same corner of Richmond's Fan District the partners run two other restaurants: the original F.W. Sullivan's location and Lady N'awlins Cajun Cafe.
The duo became restaurateurs through a roundabout route. Fisher is an attorney in Richmond, while Crocker's professional background is in advertising and marketing. They met about six years ago through a Richmond-based organization called Opus that focuses on the performing arts.
Fisher and Crocker immediately clicked. They didn't think Richmond restaurants and bars were doing a good job connecting with young professionals such as themselves. After talking about what they would do differently for a few years, they opened their first F.W. Sullivan's in November 2009. Things started slowly, but they developed a following.
One of those customers was Jeff Dowdell, who worked as director of marketing and business recruitment for the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance before joining Rich McDaniel as a commercial broker with CB Richard Ellis locally. Dowdell, who has since taken a job in commercial real estate in Chicago, urged Crocker and Fisher to open a second F.W. Sullivan's location in Fredericksburg.
Fisher and Crocker had considered expanding previously and had thought about Charlottesville or Norfolk. But Fredericksburg clicked for them. They liked the area's growing population and saw a demand for more vibrant gathering places. They are both history buffs and especially liked downtown as a business location due to its ambience, walkability and train station. They spoke with Capital Ale House President Matt Simmons, who successfully expanded from Richmond to Fredericksburg.