Prava Café owner sets sights on Old Mill

By Ryan Cornell

STRASBURG — A new restaurant set to open next month at the site of the former Charlie’s at 497 Stover Avenue in Strasburg will feature Southern barbecue and Spanish and Caribbean cuisine.

Abraham Agosto, who has owned the Prava Café on Massanutten Street since May, started renting the space and the three-bedroom apartment above it on Friday. He said he’s currently in the process of obtaining permits including a liquor, beer and wine license and hopes to open the restaurant and bar by December.

He said the menu at his next business venture, the Old Mill Grill, will include international food such as mofongo, a fried-plantain dish, and rice, beans and chicken from the Caribbean, paella and kebab-like pinchos from Spain and fajitas and nachos from Mexico. In addition, the grill will offer Texas, North Carolina and red sauce-style barbecue.

“I’m trying to combine the tourists and the locals and the ones who want to try something different,” he said.

Some of the sandwiches and specialty coffees will share menus with Prava Café. He said he plans on serving breakfast and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays and adding metal cutlery and a full-service waitstaff.

Still taking up attic space, the “Old Mill Restaurant” sign will be carried down and used to advertise the spot. He said the restaurant will host karaoke nights and music performed by live bands and DJs on the weekends.

A sheet at the restaurant listed the building as one of the oldest mills in Virginia, having been erected in May 1804 by the Spengler family and withstanding General Philip Sheridan’s raid during the Civil War. It states that the names of Civil War soldiers, who used the building as a fort, are carved into wooden beams in the mill.

“The look inside, the décor, the old structure, the rustic look, it’s like going back in time in a way,” Agosto said. “I want to keep [the history] alive and connect it to the place without making too many changes.”

He had previously scouted and been close to obtaining the property of Brogie’s Tavern near Bryce Resort in Basye, but said its dependence on the resort and remote location had turned him off to the idea.

“[Charlie’s] is a little bit out on the edge of town, but the name has been known for years so I don’t think that will be a problem,” he said.

Agosto said he plans to start hiring staff in late November. He said the restaurant will have between 5 and 10 total employees and some of those will be working at both the Old Mill Grill and Prava Café.

He said the restaurant will be closed on Mondays and will stay open on Fridays and Saturdays as late as 2 a.m.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com