Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Short Order

Portico is popping out in Goochland.

Posted By on Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 4:00 AM

Radiant heat beneath the terrace at Portico. A fireplace and lap robes will allow the 40-seat spot to be an eventual cold weather option for cognac and s’mores. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • Radiant heat beneath the terrace at Portico. A fireplace and lap robes will allow the 40-seat spot to be an eventual cold weather option for cognac and s’mores.

It didn’t take long for crowds to descend on Portico, the newest restaurant from chef Paolo Randazzo and his wife, Rhonda, in the former Edible Garden spot out River Road in eastern Goochland. Buzz about the well-financed project was rampant while the construction evolved into a major landscaping project that highlights a stone terrace and large fireplace overlooking the countryside.

Inside the redesigned dining rooms, Randazzo serves an accessible menu of mostly Italian appetizers and entrees, with his signature pastas and meats — seafood cannelloni, leg of lamb, salmon roulade, eggplant puttanesca — in the under-$20 range. Burgers, pizzas and salads include classics that are $10-$13. The green granite bar has attracted neighbors from the start, although Randazzo hoped to gear up slowly in announcing the project.

Rhonda Randazzo is ebullient: “We’re taking 90 calls a day — I’ve never seen anything like it. You’re in Goochland, but in Italy too, especially outside. It’s friends and families building special memories already.” An upstairs dining room seats 20; the terrace and interior hold 40 seats each.

The business closes on Sunday evenings for private events and also caters for neighboring Tuckahoe Plantation. Garden Graces manages the restaurant’s flower beds and kitchen garden, where arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, chard, lettuces and herbs are in season.

Portico serves dinner Monday through Saturday from 5-9 p.m., and will add lunch hours in November. 12506 River Road. 784-4800. opentable.com.

Carytown’s newest: A gut job is in progress at the former Ellwood Café coffeehouse on Thompson Street, its fixtures removed and being readied for a new home in the former Blockbuster space across the parking lot. Owner Michael Ripp, formerly of Havana ’59, is bringing in a new look to the vacated cafe space, and will serve grass-fed burgers, salmon, salads and other health-oriented fare with wine and beer. A large brick cow will dominate the back wall décor, booths will be added and the street-side patio will be enclosed.

Beer at Amuse: In a rare Tuesday evening event, Amuse at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts stays open late Nov. 8 for a beer dinner to celebrate Richmond Beer Week. The five-course meal will pair brews with seasonal fare, costs $75 for museum members, $80 for others, and tops out at 100 reservations. Tickets are sold through vmfa.museum or 340-1400. Look for a fall cocktail list and early autumn menu at Amuse, which is the museum’s third-floor dining room and winner of Style Weekly’s 2011 Restaurant of the Year in our annual State of the Plate issue.

New to the market: Strawberry Street Vineyard announces a free tasting with live acoustic music to introduce new local brewer Hardywood Park products to Richmond. The event is Oct. 28, 5-8 p.m., at 407 Strawberry St. 355-1839.

Now Serving

Olio: New downtown location for gourmet sandwiches, salads, quality deli foods. Espresso bar and breakfast sandwiches weekdays 7-10 a.m.; lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 600 E. Main St. 775-9597. oliorichmond.com.

Hard Shell at Bellgrade: Midlothian sibling of longtime Shockoe steak and seafood spot; full bar, outdoor dining, classic menu. Open nightly from 4. 11400 W. Huguenot Road. 464-1476. richmondrestaurantgroup.com.

Carytown Bistro: New ownership for former Betsy’s and Bin 22; house-baked pastries, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, panini, coffees, lemonade. Local art and live music, Craft beers, wine. Outdoor patio, friendly service. Open daily. 26 S. Auburn Ave. 340-0272.

La Parisienne: Crepes, cassoulet, soups, sandwiches, salads and desserts in quick-service bistro with Euro finesse from chef Cedric Payne; breakfast and lunch until 6:30 p.m. weekdays, live jazz and wines Thursdays until 9 p.m. 200 S. 10th St. in the Williams Mullen building. 225-0225.

Station 2: Big burger menu, local sourcing for casual pub grub in renovated firehouse. Craft beer, patio. Monday-Thursday, 3:30 p.m.-2 a.m.; Friday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. 2016 E. Main St. 249-4702. station2richmond.com.

Stella’s: Greek cuisine in boisterous neighborhood newcomer, family tables, longtime Richmond chef Stella Dikos, family-run. Weekday lunch and meze ora; dinner nightly except Sunday; brunch Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 1012 Lafayette St. 358-2011. stellasrichmond.com.

The Magpie: Vintage-style gastro-pub with game, fish, pasta, specials. Select wines, beers, cocktails in charming Carver corner cafe. Chef Owen Lane, top service. Dinner and drinks Tuesday through Saturday, 4-11 p.m. Sunday brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 1301 W. Leigh St. 269-0023. themagpierva.com.

The Roosevelt: Casual reincarnation of Church Hill beauty with seafood, meats, desserts, adventurous and familiar foods, chef Lee Gregory, expert service, full bar, local wines. Dinner and drinks Tuesday-Saturday. 623 N. 25th St. 658-1935. rooseveltrva.com.

The Blue Goat: Relaxed Euro-inspired dining, charcuterie, pâté, seafood, nose-to-tail cooking; cocktails, patio in new Westhampton landmark from chef Kevin LaCivita. Lunch weekdays, dinner and bar Monday-Saturday. 5710 Grove Ave. 288-8875. bluegoatva.com.

Benny’s BBQ: Ribs, brisket, burgers, salads, onion rings, platters and Southern sides. Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday. Full bar, friendly service. 3044 Stony Point Road. 320-7447. bennysbbqonline.com.

Jerusalem Restaurant: Extensive Middle Eastern menu in Arabic and English; lunch and dinner. 106 N. Seventh St. 771-1665.

Ironfish: Seafood, chicken, steaks, salads; comfy neighborhood spot with local foods, cocktails, full bar, veg and family options. Dinner Tuesday-Saturday. 3061 Lauderdale Drive. 249-4515. ironfishrva.com.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Short Order

A suave spot comes to Grace Street with 525 at the Berry-Burk.

Posted By on Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 4:00 AM

Tom Haas is a partner in 525 at the Berry-Burk, a new fine-dining project coming early next year to the historic downtown building. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • Tom Haas is a partner in 525 at the Berry-Burk, a new fine-dining project coming early next year to the historic downtown building.

It was “yes” at first sight.

When Tom Haas stepped over the threshold at 525 E. Grace St., he saw his future, and it was in a decidedly upscale recasting of a Richmond landmark. Haas and partners will turn the former haberdashery into a restaurant, 525 at the Berry-Burk, “a place that will honor the history of the building itself,” he says, while drawing from the “sexier side of men’s fashions” for its design inspiration. The 150-seat business is scheduled to open in early 2012, and plans are well under way.

Haas, who at 30 has spent half of his life in the hospitality industry, is confident. His background at the Sanctuary, Lemaire, and other five-star, five-diamond properties bolsters his appreciation for quality. “I love the social aspect of dining, and I would love this to be the best date restaurant in Richmond,” Haas says, mentioning a sharable small-plates menu, extensive wine and cocktail lists, white linens and fittings that recall the glamour days of Cary Grant, “when suave was not over the top.” 525’s location across from the CenterStage will give it a pre- and post-theater presence with a prime view from its expanse of windows.

Chef Taylor Hasty is developing the menu using “flavors I grew up with,” he says, “classic dishes redone with better ingredients but still rustic,” that will complement a similar approach to craft cocktails. Of the upcoming opening of Pasture, the Ry Marchant-Jason Alley project in the former Montaldo’s building a block west, and others in the works at Miller & Rhoads and the Hotel John Marshall, Haas is enthusiastic. “We want downtown to be a destination again,” he says, “and there’s room for all of us.”

Magpie Mystery: The Magpie presents a murder mystery evening with Free Run Wine Merchants on Oct. 30 at 6 p.m. Chef Owen Lane will prepare a four-course autumn dinner paired with wines in an interactive experience that promises something different for Halloween weekend. Tariff is $65, all inclusive. 1301 W. Leigh St. 269-0023. themagpierva.com.

Richmond Restaurant Week: An impressive lineup of 29 or more of Richmond’s top restaurants will be participating in this 10th annual event Oct. 24-30. Diners get a three-course meal for $25.11, and FeedMore gets a significant boost for its community food bank and Meals on Wheels programs. Aline Reitzer of Acacia is volunteer founder of the fundraiser, which is the city’s most popular dining event. Reservations are advised. See details, menus and tips for success at richmondrestaurantweek.com. To support the nonprofit’s community work, see feedmore.org.

Toast to the Commonwealth: A five-course dinner prepared by chef Walter Bundy celebrates Virginia Wine Month at Lemaire in the Jefferson Hotel. The event is Oct. 26 at 6:30 p.m. and includes Michael Shaps’ wines paired with Virginia foods. Reservations for the $75 dinner are being taken by Lemaire’s new wine director, Greg McGehee, at 649-4629. Lemairerestaurant.com.

Slow Food Film Fest: Reel Food for Richmond is the theme of a new family-oriented film festival from Slow Food RVA. It’s Oct. 22, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Byrd Theatre and intends to “invigorate the passion to bring clean, fair food practices to the forefront” of the local community. Learn more at reelfoodrva.com.

Southern Thanksgiving dinner: Chef Michael Hall announces a four-course Thanksgiving dinner Nov. 24 at M Bistro in Rocketts Landing. Seatings by reservation run from noon to 7 p.m. The meal, “Southern fare with my flair,” Hall says, is $55 per person with a glass of champagne; wine pairings additional. Reserve at 652-2300.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Short Order

Midlothian gets a second Shell, Folk Fest gets hungry.

Posted By on Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 4:00 AM

Jared Golden, Michelle Williams and Leandra Dunlevy bring city energy to Midlothian with the second location of the Hard Shell, serving nightly in the Shoppes at Bellgrade on Huguenot Road. - ASH DANIEL
  • Ash Daniel
  • Jared Golden, Michelle Williams and Leandra Dunlevy bring city energy to Midlothian with the second location of the Hard Shell, serving nightly in the Shoppes at Bellgrade on Huguenot Road.

Last Monday’s soft opening at the new Hard Shell Bellgrade in Midlothian was about as busy as the large restaurant could be, with 240-some guests, a bar that was packed all night, a whirling cadre of servers and seven cooks working the line.

Owners Jared Golden and Michelle Williams of Richmond Restaurant Group knew they’d need to staff up; interest in the project was high and their guest list overflowed. Seafood and steaks flew out of the open kitchen; oohs and aahs were offered for the new bank of windows and lighted trees; the fireplace glowed near the giant new bar; and the patio was dressed with sofas, tables and piped-out house music that made the suburban setting seem more citylike.

It was just a year ago that the same space was christened Outer Banks Seafood Co. A large crowd gathered that time too, but later customers complained that quality and prices didn’t match expectations, and the business closed in a matter of months. Hard Shell hopes to get the equation right by deploying the same formula that’s led to long-term viability for its Shockoe Bottom flagship. Golden managed the build-out process, which mimics the original’s brick walls, murals and dark-wood detailing. Its separate banquet rooms have their own bar, fireplace and a separate catering kitchen, something of a rarity in the neighborhood.

The business, Williams notes, has no freezer — a growing trend among fresh-conscious chefs and owners — and the bright, stainless steel kitchens “are larger than some of our restaurants!” Leandra Dunlevy is operating partner in the venture at 11400 W. Huguenot Road. Dinner and bar hours from 4 p.m. daily. 464-1476. richmondrestaurantgroup.com.

Folks get hungry: While the Richmond Folk Festival continues its culinary evolution from fried fair food to more worldly flavors, it’s possible to find something for most palates for less than $10. Among the newer vendors this year is Goatocado, the vegan and vegetarian food truck, serving sandwiches filled with barbecued jackfruit, smoked Gouda with black beans, or avocado and walnuts.

Mexican restaurant La Milpa, a Hull Street hideaway with a fervent following, will offer tongue tacos — unwittingly fitting for a musical event. Shockoe Slip classic Sam Miller’s will bring out on-the-shell Rappahannock oysters and its signature crab cakes. (Watch for changes to the restaurant this fall while it unveils a new concept.) It’s a hard-work weekend for the diverse lineup of 31 food vendors, but most say the effort goes well-rewarded in sales from a sizeable crowd that comes ready to party. richmondfolkfestival.org.

Arcadia in progress: John Van Peppen is in the midst of what he hopes is a six-week redo of the former Café Gutenberg at 1700 E. Main St., turning the two-level historic building and former peanut factory into a 135-seat space serving “a contemporary interpretation of Continental cuisine.”

Van Peppen, whose restaurant credits include Fleming’s, DeFazio’s and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, is redecorating the space using furnishings from the recently closed Copper Grill restaurant at Short Pump. A chef with longtime Richmond roots is about to sign on to prepare Braveheart steaks, fresh seafood and sides, such as extra-smoked Gouda mac and cheese. Wines and craft cocktails will be poured at a large new bar; outdoor dining and an upstairs private party space also are getting face-lifts while construction moves forward on Van Peppen’s tight timeline.

“My vision is to try to grow this farmers’ market,” Van Peppen says of his neighboring business, “and to buy ingredients from farmers who in turn will get exposure.” To work at Arcadia, whose name is drawn from Roman mythology, “people have to have the hospitality gene,” he says, “and be prepared to take care of guests’ every need — because hospitality is the cornerstone of this business.” Follow the restaurant’s progress at arcadiarichmond.com.

Gut job: The former McLean’s space at Lafayette and Broad streets is getting a complete renovation now that its longtime tenant has moved east to larger quarters. Coming in, according to construction workers there, is a Quiznos’ sub shop.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

All You Can Stomach

Five must-try foodstuffs at the State Fair.

Posted By on Thu, Oct 6, 2011 at 12:53 PM

I get why people are excited about fair food. Where else can you find the kitchen sink fried and served with powdered sugar? Serious food-interested people eat here. And by serious, I mean, those people who like fun, deep-fried Kool-Aid (ugh) and fun. If you can't beat 'em, here are five ways to join them.

1. Sirloin Tips: Big, chopped pieces of self-marinating sirloin ($5 for the kids' meal) roasted then sautéed in 10-year-old cast iron with butter and "secret seasonings" -- this doesn't sound like fair food. Get involved. Get the mushrooms.

Where: Pickle Barrel Sirloin Tips. Across from the Farm Bureau building.

2. Pumpkin Funnel Cake: Why go basic when you can go pumpkin? Why limit yourself to just to cinnamon when you can have nutmeg as well? A flat, crispy and greasy pumpkin muffin. No really, why?

Where: Wilson Enterprises. By the King BMX stunt show.

3. Hot Fried Frog Legs: That burger patty slapped between two donut halves is so last year, and that pork parfait is uh, parfait-ed pork. So how about some spicy fat frog legs ($5)? Don't worry. They don't taste like chicken.

Where: Porky's. By the Thrill Pit.

4. Fried chicken on a stick: Everything is better on a stick, especially if it's a large piece (dark meat, please) of chicken ($7) soaked in Big Drew's Cajun seasoning, floured and deep-fried. No need for the roll.

Where: Cajun' Cookin'. Outside the Farm Bureau building.

5. Chimney Cakes: A Transylvanian street snack? Yes. Rolled around a wooden spoke and then baked, this pastry ($5) tastes like something your mom would make if she were Romanian, a little tangy and a little sweet. Flavors include chocolate walnut and cinnamon.

Where: Chimney Cakes. Next to the Thrill Pit.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Arcadia Coming to Former Café Gutenberg

Posted on Tue, Oct 4, 2011 at 4:00 AM

John Van Peppen hopes to start a renewal at the 17th Street Farmers’ Market as he brings an upscale dining presence to a prominent corner in Shockoe Bottom. He’s in the midst of what he hopes is a six-week redo of the former Café Gutenberg at 1700 E. Main St., turning the two-level historic building and former peanut factory into a 135-seat space serving “a contemporary interpretation of Continental cuisine.”

Van Peppen, whose restaurant credits include Fleming’s, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and DeFazio’s, is redecorating the space using furnishings from the recently-closed Copper Grill franchise restaurant at Short Pump. A chef with longtime Richmond roots is about to sign on to prepare Braveheart steaks, fresh seafood and sides such as extra-smoked Gouda mac and cheese. Wines and craft cocktails will be served at a large new bar; outdoor dining and an upstairs private party space are also getting facelifts as construction moves forward on Van Peppen’s tight timeline.

“My vision is to try to grow this farmers’ market,” Van Peppen says, “and to buy ingredients from farmers who in turn will get exposure for their businesses.” To work at Arcadia, whose name is drawn from Roman mythology, the owner says “people have to have the hospitality gene, and be prepared to take care of guests’ every need – because hospitality is the cornerstone of this business.” Michelle Graziano, formerly of Fleming’s, will handle special events. Follow the restaurant’s progress at arcadiarichmond.com

Short Order

Kid-friendly Pies and fall-flavored Chez.

Posted By on Tue, Oct 4, 2011 at 4:00 AM

Amy Roman hopes to convene mothers and kids weekday afternoons at Pie, which is refocusing its image to become 214. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • Amy Roman hopes to convene mothers and kids weekday afternoons at Pie, which is refocusing its image to become 214.

Amy Roman, a teacher married to a restaurateur, combines her worlds in a series of new ventures at Pie, Mo Roman’s pizza place in the Fan. She’s launching a mother-and-kids cafe at Pie on weekday afternoons, where she leads the little ones in stories, crafts and snacks downstairs while moms gather in the upstairs lounge for appetizers and beverages. Groups can reserve the space, or customers can walk in from 3:30-5:30 p.m. at 214 N. Lombardy Ave.

Roman says she’s especially proud of the cafe’s kid-friendly bath station and the courtyard garden for community crafts displays. “We worked really hard to convert it, and to make the space unique and fun for this, and we do new themes and books for the kids every week,” she says. “I call it the happiest hour.”

Pie also operates a morning coffee counter with breakfast sandwiches, Black Hand java, pastries from Pearl’s and Cupertino bagels; dogs get treats and water outside. It opens at 7:30 a.m. weekdays, later on weekends, and Roman has been known to run coffee to a customer’s car when asked. Dinner and bar hours start at 5 nightly and include “Glee” night, acoustic jam sessions and other promotions aimed at moving the cafe’s identity to simply 214 during the next few months. 257-7940. pie214cafe.com.

UPDATE: Roman learned last week that Pie has lost its ABC license until Oct. 12 for selling alcohol illegally to an undercover agent.

Fall Flavored: The architectural delight that is downtown’s Chez Foushee has a new menu from chef Joshua Wood, with seared, roasted and herbed ingredients to summon an earthy season. These include butternut bisque, chicken fricassee with gnocchi, grouper with smoked salmon, toffee pudding and molten chocolate cake in port sauce, among a number of new dishes to augment the classics.

Chez, known for genteel service, offers lunch Monday through Saturday, highlighting burgers on Thursdays and Saturdays. Dinner and bar hours begin at 5:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; Sunday brunch runs 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. 203 N. Foushee St. 648-3225. chezfoushee.com.

Coming soon: Chef Jimmy Sneed’s newest project is BlowToad, a restaurant in the former Double T’s space in Carytown. Sneed says the business will serve pizza from a Nabil Attie-designed oven, and he’ll cook prime rib and other meats on his Labesse Giraudon rotisserie, an equipment holdover from his days operating the Frog and the Redneck.

Designer Helen Reed is making some changes to the 3,200-square-foot space, primarily reworking the back bar and exterior, where patio dining and a walk-up pizza window will be added attractions. Sneed expects to open shortly after Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, his project with daughter Jenna Sneed, Fresca on Addison, continues serving vegetarian and vegan fare Monday through Saturday in the Fan.

Now Serving

Carytown Bistro: New ownership for former Betsy’s and Bin 22; house-baked pastries, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, panini, coffees, lemonade. Local art and live music, craft beers, wine. Outdoor patio, friendly service. Open daily. 26 S. Auburn Ave. 340-0272.

La Parisienne: Crepes, cassoulet, soups, sandwiches, salads and desserts in quick-service bistro with Euro finesse from chef Cedric Payne; breakfast and lunch until 6:30 p.m. weekdays, live jazz and wines Thursdays until 9 p.m. 200 S. 10th St. in Williams Mullen building. 225-0225.

Station 2: Big burger menu, local sourcing for casual pub grub in renovated firehouse. Craft beer, patio. Monday-Thursday 3:30 p.m.-2 a.m.; Friday-Sunday 11 a.m.-2 a.m. 2016 E. Main St. 249-4702. station2richmond.com.

Stella’s: Greek cuisine in boisterous neighborhood newcomer, family tables, longtime Richmond chef Stella Dikos, family-run. Beer and wine. Monday through Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sunday 5-10 p.m., brunch hours coming in September. 1012 Lafayette St. 358-2011. stellasrichmond.com.

The Magpie: Vintage-style gastro-pub with game, fish, pasta, specials. Select wines, beers, cocktails in charming Carver corner cafe. Chef Owen Lane, top service. Dinner and drinks Tuesday through Saturday, 4-11 p.m. 1301 W. Leigh St. 269-0023. themagpierva.com.

The Roosevelt: Casual reincarnation of Church Hill beauty with seafood, meats, desserts, adventurous and familiar foods, chef Lee Gregory, expert service, full bar, local wines. Dinner and drinks Tuesday-Saturday. 623 N. 25th St. 658-1935. rooseveltrva.com.

The Blue Goat: Relaxed Euro-inspired dining, charcuterie, pâté, seafood, nose-to-tail cooking; cocktails, patio in new Westhampton landmark from chef Kevin LaCivita. Dinner and bar Monday-Saturday. 5710 Grove Ave. 288-8875. bluegoatva.com.

M Bistro & Wine Bar: French-meets-Southern cuisine from chef Michael Hall; breakfast to dinner specialties; seafood and sides; lamb burgers for lunch; wines and gourmet items, house-baked breads and pastries, coffee. Summer hours: Tuesday-Friday 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday 9 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 652-2300. mbistro-rocketts.com.

Ejay Rin: Casual noodle bar with steamed buns, rice bowls, ramen and seafood. Lunch, dinner and bar Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Patio dining, chefs Bill Foster and Andy Howell. 201 W. Seventh St. in the Corrugated Box Building. 745-6488. ejayrin.com.

Benny’s BBQ: Ribs, brisket, burgers, salads, onion rings, platters and Southern sides. Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday. Full bar, friendly service. 3044 Stony Point Road. 320-7447. bennysbbqonline.com.

Jerusalem Restaurant: Extensive Middle Eastern menu in Arabic and English; lunch and dinner. 106 N. Seventh St. 771-1665.

Ironfish: Seafood, chicken, steaks, salads; comfy neighborhood spot with local foods, cocktails, full bar, veg and family options. Dinner Tuesday-Saturday. 3061 Lauderdale Drive. 249-4515. ironfishrva.com.

  • Re: Billy Bread Under New Ownership

    • Something to look forward to :)

    • on November 14, 2016
  • Re: Weekly Food Notes: Cider, Cake + More

    • That feedmore donation number sounds reallllly low, can you confirm that's legit?

    • on November 11, 2016
  • Re: Billy Bread Under New Ownership

    • Karen and David are siblings, not a couple.

    • on November 6, 2016
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