Located at the Shops at High Street, the restaurant owners’ — Jada French Food, LLC — recently purchased the 5,353-square-foot retail property for $1,700,000 as an investment.
“We wanted to buy it from the first moment we ever saw the place,” said Le Yaca Co-Owner Joy Abid in an interview with WYDaily. “Before, they were never willing to do that, and then suddenly they were and then someone put a contract before we did on it and we were playing the waiting game for a while.”
Le Yaca, a restaurant with a name that stems from the colloquial French phrase, ‘Let do it,’ has become somewhat of an institution within the local food scene in the Historic Triangle. The chef-owned establishment is co-owned by Joy Abid and her husband, Chef Daniel Abid. Their initials make up the word JADA in Jada French Foods.
The owners purchased the property with eyes set on perhaps leasing it if/when they decide to officially retire.
“I think, it’s in some part, timing. The previous owners recognized they needed to have a Chef-Owner and then asked Daniel to purchase Le Yaca,” said Joy. “That’s what really makes a difference, it’s having somebody in the back that’s watching everything, besides someone in the front.
“Also, it’s had a good following, it’s always had a good following,” she added. “The locals have always supported us. Like, I had a couple from Kentucky on Tuesday, and they walked down Duke of Gloucester Street and somebody said to them, ‘You have to go to Le Yaca to eat.’ So obviously, it was someone local who did that.”
Joy also cites her staff as a key to the restaurant’s longevity and as a big factor in why guests keep coming back.
“We don’t have a huge turnover in staff,” said Joy. “They like seeing the same people working in there. Yes, we have some that come and go, but we have a core group of people that have been there forever, and that makes a difference too because you’re dealing with people, and you can’t please people 100% of the time and you can’t expect people to be on top of their game 100% of the time either. Even though they try. My guys are pretty good! I really feel like they go out of their way.”
The business, which held its grand opening in 1980 during the Grand Illumination weekend, was purchased by the Abids in the Spring of 2001. The couple has seen the local restaurant industry evolve since then.
“I really think that’s evolved in the last 10 years, and it’s amazing,” said Joy. “The food is really good here. It’s what I tried to tell the city during the pandemic. I said, ‘Williamsburg is a destination in itself for food now.’ They should really be making sure they’re promoting the restaurants as much as they can, and they should be promoting this area as a food destination because it is now.”
With the commercial condominium property now owned by restaurant owners, Joy assures locals that they’re here to stay.
“We’re not changing hands, everything is fine.” Joy said.
The property is located at 1430 High St. Drew Haynie of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the sale negotiations on behalf of the purchaser.
“Williamsburg is an awesome place,” said Joy. “It’s an awesome place to raise your children, and the people here are good people. They want to see you succeed. Williamsburg’s just wonderful that way. I feel like people are always trying to make things better in some way.”