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Napoleon's Restaurant Property Has New Owners

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The somewhat distressed looking Napoleon’s Restaurant at 67 Waterloo St., in Old Town Warrenton’s historical district was foreclosed upon in December of 2010. Napoleon’s opened in 1978, and was sold to Al Nosrat in 2002. Four years later he sold it to Grand American LLC. When The Fauquier Bank foreclosed on Grand American, which it had loaned $ 1.6 million to buy the restaurant, it assumed $ 1.5 million in debt on the property.

For around a year, the parking lot has been chained off, with “for sale” signs hanging from the chain. That chain is no longer there. Earlier this month, it was reported that the property has new owners.

The original home on the site was built in 1838, and was home at one point to Eppa Hunton, a Civil War General, and 4 time Congressman for Virginia.

Napoleon’s was a fairly busy place before the foreclosure, featuring bands and DJs, different styled menus in different sections of the building, and 2 outdoor eating areas.

The Fauquier Times-Democrat is reporting that the new owners are planning on renovating the property and putting an Italian restaurant on the site.

The new owners, who purchased the property for $350,000, are estimating that it will take a year and between $500,000 and $ 1 million to fix the place up and open it to the public. While they are aiming at building a restaurant, one of the owners told the Democrat-Times reporter that financially it might make the most sense for them to sell the property, so we shouldn’t necessarily be dreaming of a new place for dining in Old Town just yet.

I’m excited by the change, and looking forward to seeing whatever is developed, and hoping that it’s something that will attract visitors to Old Town Warrenton. The building has been empty for too long.

I decided to take a number of pictures and post them here so that we can look back and a year or so and see some significant changes and improvements (fingers crossed).

Hopefully it will be a “destination” for people from outside of town, that will draw them into exploring the things that Old Town has to offer.

With a year of renovations possibly ahead of us, the place might not see visitors until 2013, but I hope the planned changes go so smoothly that the place starts coming alive over 2012.

Until then, we just have to “wait to be seated.”

11 comments to Napoleon’s Restaurant Property Has New Owners

  • I have many fond memories of Napoleon’s in its heyday and am sorry to see its decline; I, too, hope the new owners bring it back to life and resurrect it to its former glory ….

  • Hi Yvonne,

    I never had the chance to stop in there, but it’s exciting to see new owners for the place. I’m encouraged to see a few formerly vacant storefronts sprouting new businesses on Main Street as well.

  • Bob Derby

    My wife and I went to Napoleon’s on one of our first dates over 20 years ago and it’s one of our favorite memories. I was planning to surprise her and our 2 kids by a return there today. It’s very sad to hear of the closing but I hope to take them there next mother’s day if it in fact does get renovated. Time sure flies.

  • Hi Bob,

    That sounds like it would have been a nice ocassion returning to Napoleons. I’m hoping that it does reopen. I think having a nice restaurant in that location would help revitalize the town and help make Warrenton an even nicer destination to dine at. Fingers crossed.

  • Angel T

    I too ate there a few times when first moving to the area, but the lack of good service and the fair meals is what likely lead to its decline. Its a very neat building and I hope someone can restore it to something great.

  • It is a neat looking building, with a great history. The red roof really stands out when you’re looking down on the area from the end of Main Street as well.

    I never had the chance to eat there, but it would be great to see owners with some significant experience in running a restaurant take over, and definitely make it into something worth returning to.

  • Melinda Fanning

    I have heard that the property deal fell through and that this building is back on the market. I cannot find anything to indicate this, and am very interested in knowing if this is true. Have some friends who have an amazing idea for this place!

  • Hi Melinda,

    I haven’t heard anything about the deal one way or the other, and I also haven’t seen anyone starting any renovations, either. I was starting to wonder the same thing myself.

    There is still a for sale sign on the building. Don’t know if that’s a good number, but it might be worth giving a call and seeing what is actually going on. Maybe it’s an opportunity for your friends to get involved with.

  • Anna

    Hi Everyone!

    As a Food & Beverage operator I too have been looking into what is going on with the property.

    I cannot help but wonder if the structural renovations and historic preservation issues, combined with the water line replacement costs, are far more than were expected prior to the aquisition.

    Alternatively, they could just be sitting on it for a year as they get the right strategic development team into position.

  • Hi Anna,

    I wish there were some signs that they were doing something, but I really haven’t seen any changes to the property at all.

    I would love to see something developed out of the property that does keep the history behind the place alive in some way. The possibility that they might sell the property was mentioned at the time it was purchased, and I would guess that’s still a possibility.

  • I have traced this Hunton Family to the enslaved of my Butler Family ancestor. L don’t care what they do with it.

  • Kat staples

    Built in the 1800′s .. I wonder if there are any spirits remaining in the building. It would not be unusual given the many lives lived on the property and the many emotions that come with lives lived in one building over 150+ years and part of those years being during the Civil War. I would love to do an investigation in there..
    I alo love the idea a of a family style restaurant.. Hope it happens.

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