WILLIAMSBURG – Yaca is a Williamsburg staple – a restaurant that’s been serving dishes from its French-inspired menu since the 1980s – and that won’t change any time soon.
Located in High Street Shops, the restaurant’s owners – Jada French Food, LLC – recently purchased the 5,353 square foot retail building for $1,700,000 as an investment.
“We wanted to buy it from the first moment we saw the place,” said Joy Abid, co-owner of Le Yaca, in an interview with WYDaily. “Before they were never ready to do this, and then all of a sudden they were and then someone put a contract in before us and we played the waiting game for a while.”
Le Yaca, a restaurant whose name comes from the colloquial French expression “Let do it”, has become something of an institution within the local gastronomic scene of 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 have purchased the property with a view to renting it out if/when they officially decide to retire.
“I think it’s partly a matter of timing. The previous owners recognized that they needed a chef-owner and then asked Daniel to buy Le Yaca,” said Joy. “That’s what really makes the difference is having someone at the back watching everything, in addition to someone up front.
“Also he had a good following, he always had a good following,” she added. “People have always supported us. For example, I had a couple from Kentucky on Tuesday, and they walked down Duke of Gloucester Street and someone said to them, ‘You have to go to Yaca to eat.’ So obviously, it was someone from the area who did that.
Joy also cites her staff as key to the restaurant’s longevity and a big factor in why customers keep coming back.
“We don’t have a huge turnover,” Joy said. “They like to see the same people working there. Yes, we have some that come and go, but we have a core of people that have been here forever, and that also makes a difference because you’re dealing with people, and you can’t please people 100% of the time. time and you can’t expect people to be at their best 100% of the time either. Even if they try. My guys are pretty good! I really feel like they are going out of their way.
The business, which opened in 1980 during the Grand Illumination weekend, was bought out by the Abids in the spring of 2001. Since then, the couple have seen the local restaurant industry evolve.
“I really think it’s evolved over the last 10 years, and it’s amazing,” Joy said. “The food is really good here. That’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 make sure they promote restaurants as much as they can, and they should promote this area as a foodie destination, because it now does.
With the commercial condominium now owned by restaurateurs, Joy assures residents they are here to stay.
“We are not changing hands, everything is fine.” said Joy.
The property is located at 1430 High St. Drew Haynie in Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer conducted the sales negotiations on behalf of the buyer.
“Williamsburg is an awesome place,” Joy said. “It’s a great place to raise your kids, and the people here are good people. They want to see you succeed. Williamsburg is just wonderful that way. I feel like people are always trying to make things better in one way or another.
For more information about the restaurant, please visit its official website or follow the restaurant’s Facebook page.