Thornton Group exits Cafe Indigo for now

Last Sunday (Dec. 30) marked the end of a four-month, weekends-only experiment by the Thornton River Group to run a second full-service restaurant in Sperryville.

Cafe Indigo, part of Rappahannock Central’s collection of galleries, artists’ studios and retail space in the big old River District packing shed, is likely to remain closed through March.

“It was a great experience for us,” said Ken Thompson, whose family owns and operates the Thornton River Grille, Rudy’s Pizza and the Sperryville Corner Store just up the road. “As we had thought going in, during the peak season – September, October and the first part of November – for us there was plenty of business to spread across two places. But the second part of November, and December – there’s just not enough. And the same is always going to be true for January-March.”

Thompson said TRG agreed with Rappahannock Central owners Jerome and Lucille Niessen to meet again in March to reassess the possibilities. “We’re not slamming the door,” Thompson said. “I have nothing but good to say about the place. Our dealings with Jerome were good, and the numbers for September and October looked fine . . .”

Terri Lehman, who been splitting her time between running Cafe Indigo and co-managing the Corner Store and its catering and grocery operation, will return full-time to the store, Thompson said. “And we welcome her with open arms, because we really missed her,” he added. Longtime local chef John Pearson, who’d been seconding Lehman in the kitchen at Cafe Indigo, might also work part-time for TRG, Thompson said – and, due to attrition and staff changes, Thompson said, “we might be able to skate through this without having to let anyone go.”

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Roger Piantadosi
About Roger Piantadosi 534 Articles
Former Rappahannock News editor Roger Piantadosi is a writer and works on web and video projects for Rappahannock Media and his own Synergist Media company. Before joining the News in 2009, he was a staff writer, editor and web developer at The Washington Post for almost 30 years.