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After shutting down in April, Green Leafe Café sat unoccupied along Scotland Street across from William & Mary’s Zable Stadium.
However, as of three weeks ago construction crews have been hard at work renovating the Green Leafe Café, which is now under the ownership of George Tsipas, the restaurateur who owns both Paul’s Deli locations — in New Town and next to Green Leafe Café on Scotland Street — and the College Delly.
Green Leafe Café was a staple of downtown Williamsburg since it opened in 1974. With its proximity to William & Mary and Colonial Williamsburg, Green Leafe Café was a go-to spot for college students and tourists alike.
Now under new ownership, Tsipas wants to return Green Leafe Café to its former glory and offer something unique to downtown Williamsburg. Moreover, he is working to have Green Leafe reopened by the end of August, or around the time when William & Mary starts its fall semester.
Building a unique identity for Green Leafe Café is of the utmost importance to Tsipas, who wants to dispel the notion Green Leafe is becoming an extension of Paul’s Deli.
“We’re not building a deli,” Tsipas said emphatically while standing in the middle of Green Leafe Café surrounded by construction workers. “I want people to understand we’re not going to have 200 menu items. This is going to be true pub fare — fish and chips, Shepherd’s pie, pub burgers — gastrofood.”
Building a “true pub atmosphere” is extremely important to Tsipas, who wants to mimic the vibe of an Irish or English pub, where one might expect to find soccer playing on the TV and hearty food on the tables.
In sticking with that pub atmosphere, Tsipas said he plans to offer roughly 40 craft beers at Green Leafe Café. Additionally, he said the new Green Leafe will feature a bourbon bar and a seasonal variety of wines.
While Tsipas is overhauling the menu and beverage selection at Green Leafe Café, he is adamant about maintaining the feel of the previous Green Leafe.
Key operational locations within the pub such as the kitchen and bar area are receiving much-needed updates, but aesthetic pieces like the thick stone tile and wooden siding from the old Green Leafe will be pressure washed and restored as a reminder of the pub’s history.
“I’m looking forward to bringing this back to where it was,” Tsipas said. “Our reputation is at stake here, so we’ll make sure the place is clean with great service and great food.”