63 Sovereign opens on Granada in Ormond Beach
Robyn Capece, Brandon Sheppard and Ryan Truong are veterans in the Ormond Beach restaurant scene.
Nichiyobi at Bambu was a popular pop-up omakase-style restaurant that longtime pals Sheppard and Truong ran until they closed in June 2016, and Virgola was an Italian wine bar owned by Capece and her family until earlier this year. After leaving the franchise, Capece was offered an opportunity by an investor to start her own restaurant at the same location, but the deal fell through, leaving her with an empty building and a year-long lease.
“I wasn’t ready to walk away,” said Capece. “We all sat down and decided that if we were going to do this, we were going to do this all ourselves. No investors, no franchise, just us.”
“If we fail,” said Sheppard, “it’s because we failed. Not because of someone else’s design or menu.”
The three long-time community members painted and designed the building at 63 W. Granada Blvd., and repurposed the furniture they already had. Sheppard even handmade their raw bar, where you can you watch your oysters shucked and your fish sliced right in front of you.
They also held onto Erin DiSciorio, who was the head chef at Virgola. Together with Troung, who was the executive chef for Nichiyobi, they created a seasonal menu described as “old-school cuisine with a modern twist.”
“We all come from different backgrounds, and we grew up eating different things,” Capece said. “So it’s kind of a melting pot of all of the different things we like to eat.”
Items like their Spam fried rice, bao buns and summer garden vegetable lasagna have already earned the title of customer favorites. The restaurant also has a wine bar featuring 30 different wines and 16 different beers from all over the world.
“We all sat down and decided that if we were going to do this, we were going to do this all ourselves. No investors, no franchise, just us.”
“Before, we were limited on what we could do,” Capece said. “That’s why we chose the name Sovereign. It means to act independently without outside interference.”
They opened on Independence Day.
In the few weeks that they’ve been operating, all three owners have noticed some familiar faces. Customers who dined at Virgola and Nichiyobi were excited to check out what the trio was going to do next.
Truong said he thinks it helps that they each play a separate role outside of the restaurant in the community. Truong works as a nuclear medicine technologist at Halifax Health, Sheppard is the facility manager for the Museum of Art and Sciences, and Capece is a medical esthetician at Lentz Plastic Surgery.
“Yeah, we all still have our day jobs,” Capece laughed.
“In some way, shape or form, we’re all tied to this community,” Truong said. “We’re connected to a lot of people.”
“You’re not supposed to work with your boyfriend or your best friend,” Capece said. “We definitely had to learn how to work with each other. There were a lot of early mornings and long nights, but here we are.”