Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Short Order

Say hello to Heritage, Toast RVA + more.

Posted By on Tue, Aug 28, 2012 at 4:00 AM

Mattias Hagglund, Emilia and Joe Sparatta are finalizing details for Heritage, their new restaurant, to replace Six Burner - ASH DANIEL
  • Ash Daniel
  • Mattias Hagglund, Emilia and Joe Sparatta are finalizing details for Heritage, their new restaurant, to replace Six Burner

Choosing a name can be one of the most difficult parts of opening a restaurant, some owners say. There's a lot riding on identity, and a memorable brand seems to be a new requisite for success. So when chef Joe Sparatta, his wife, Emilia, and her brother, Mattias Hagglund, agreed to anoint their new restaurant Heritage, it was to honor their culinary mentors.

"Heritage means trying to draw from our upbringing and have it show," Sparatta says — "trying to utilize all of our training, which is a big part of the future and who we will become."

Heritage replaces Six Burner restaurant, which ends its seven-year run Sept. 8 with a sentimental finale. After a bit of redecoration, Heritage will open for business Oct. 2 at West Main and Vine streets in the Fan. Six Burner owners Ry and Beth Marchant will retain a share of the business but concentrate on real estate and their downtown restaurant, Pasture; Six Burner's adventurous and often underappreciated chef Philip Denny is considering his next step.

Heritage will serve contemporary American food and an extensive list of wines, beers and cocktails. Hagglund has built an impressive following tending bar at Comfort. "It's fun to geek out on food and drink with people who like to talk about it," he says, and creating an experience is the best part of the job, he says. Even more important is his taste memory. "In this industry, you're only as good as the things you've gotten to taste," Hagglund says. "The job becomes tasting as many things as possible, learning which things go together, adjusting ratios, having the knowledge of ingredients." He's an encyclopedia of obscure liquors, original distillery methods and badass industry drinks that chefs like to order after hours. Heritage will make a point of enticing food-service professionals for late-night food and libations with their peers.

Richmond's dining scene "is exciting," Sparatta says, "and we hope to contribute to the excellence. It's a great community of chefs and owners and we're fortunate to be accepted into that." Sparatta leaves his chef position at Pasture in mid-September, and Emilia Sparatta winds down her front-of-house work at Bistro 27 to take the general manager role at Heritage. "She's a great leader and a good boss," her younger brother says, "and I bow down to her palate and training."

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Now serving: Toast RVA, an American gastro-pub at 7007 Three Chopt Road, opened this month in the former City Limit space. On the menu are polenta corn dogs for $7, burgers on brioche buns, $9-$11, and entrees such as tortierre, a pork and beef pie for $12, and meatloaf, grilled salmon and gluten-free vegetable lasagna. Plus, find bar snacks, wine tapped from the barrel, craft beer and cocktails. Dinner nightly, lunch Monday-Thursday. 525-4525. toastrva.com.

Changes at the Jefferson: While the bar and lounge at Lemaire are closed for an updo and new terrace, attention shifts to the dining room at TJ's in the Jefferson Hotel. New breakfast and lunch menus from chef Patrick Ehemann feature red velvet pancakes, chicken and waffles, a foot-long hot dog with fried oysters, tempura catfish and a pimento burger with candied bacon. TJ's is putting new emphasis on craft beers with 12 taps, half featuring Virginia brews.

Lemaire shows its new look during a charity oyster festival Sept. 8 to benefit the Oyster Recovery Partnership. Admission is $20 and includes tickets for food and drink and a donation to the cause; learn more at oysterrecovery.org and register at 649-4672. 101 W. Franklin St. jeffersonhotel.com.

Pop-up goes south: Café Rustica, downtown at 414 E. Main St., holds a pop-up dinner Sept. 10 at 6:30 p.m. Chefs Grayson Sponseller of Bistro Bobette and John Hall of Avalon will present Southern France meets Southern U.S.A., a five-course menu of contrasting styles paired with five wines, for $50 plus tax and tip. The event is by reservation only at 225-8811.

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Have a tip about the Richmond restaurant scene? Send it to shortorder@styleweekly.com.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Short Order

RVA Food News: Wine and Design, Moore Street's 13th + more.

Posted By on Tue, Aug 21, 2012 at 4:00 AM

Layne Ashley Summerfield is about to open Wine and Design, a social painting experience with local food and drink, on Broad near the Boulevard. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • Layne Ashley Summerfield is about to open Wine and Design, a social painting experience with local food and drink, on Broad near the Boulevard.

If there's one thing Layne Ashley Summerfield has learned about opening a food-service business in Richmond, it's that money and time estimates are usually low and wrong. That hasn't daunted the North Carolina native, who at 33 is about to open Wine and Design, a franchise of a 20-store chain, in a former pole-dancing studio at 2707 W. Broad St. It's taken a year for her to navigate the labyrinth of permits, lawyers and inspections, but she expects to open before Labor Day in a fully renovated space.

The concept: Patrons come in for social, two-hour painting sessions led by local artists. Summerfield tapped into the project after spending a date night painting and sipping at a Raleigh, N.C., location of the business, and saw potential for Richmond. Her Wine and Design will be the first to serve soups, salads, appetizers and sandwiches, along with craft beers and Virginia wines.

Abernathy Bland and Claire Wall, both working in mixed media, will be among the host artists, helping guests with all levels of experience express themselves with 30 shades of acrylic paint on 16-inch-by-20-inch canvases. Guests nosh and sip, and at the end, "they take home a good conversation piece and a memory," Summerfield says. The fee is $35; refreshments are less than $9 and beverages are in the $3-$7 range. Customers also may bring their own bottled wine.

Wine and Design operates Tuesdays through Saturdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m., with afternoon sessions for children on Saturdays and adults on Sundays. Private parties and fundraisers include Paint Your Pet to benefit the Richmond Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and seasonal themes. "It's just a really fun way to hang out with your friends and meet new friends in a very casual environment that's not intimidating at all," Summerfield says. The 3,000-square-foot space can hold 124 people at long tables. An art gallery and a gift shop offer paintings and objects for sale or inspiration.

2707 W. Broad St.
359-9149.
wineanddesignus.com/Richmond.

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To customers with love: Moore Street Café is celebrating its 13th anniversary this month at 2904 W. Moore St. by thanking loyal customers with raffles and prizes. It's also seeking suggestions for new dishes. If your idea makes it onto the menu, the cafe says on Facebook, "We will name the item after you!" As Scott's Addition prepares for a wave of change (En Su Boca, Fat Dragon, and the almost-new Lunch, among others) the old standbys hope to stay in the mix. Moore Street Café serves an affordable, diner-style breakfast and lunch weekdays from 6 a.m.-2:30 p.m. 359-5970. moorestreetcafe.com.

With regrets: Owners Kevin Wilson and Justin Adly are thanking customers for an almost-two year run at the Cellar Door, 1600 Monument Ave., in the Stuart Court apartment building. Theirs was one of the more critically appreciated food businesses to operate out of the subterranean setting, and the Peruvian chicken in all of its presentations was a standout. Its "flavors were the real deal," Style restaurant reviewer Karen Newton says, and the place "was a favorite for intimate Sunday evening eating and drinking. But it's a loss as a small music venue, too. I was there the Saturday night before they closed, naturally for a show, and while the air conditioning was almost nonexistent, it was a great night of regional and local music. I'm not the only one who will miss this place."

Cellar Door owners said the slow summer months have been "a death knell for our struggling enterprise," and that the staff "exceeded our expectation time and again, earning our respect and friendship. A million thanks to everyone who has poured their hard work into the often-thankless service industry."

She be free: What else can the Tobacco Company Club do to lure female customers? Ladies get free cover before 11 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, with "specials specifically for party girls." It begins with a launch Aug. 23 to give away Bethenny Frankel's Skinnygirl cocktails with passed appetizers and dancing.

1201 E. Cary St.
tobaccococlub.com.

More closings: The Belvidere at Broad has closed after a three-year run; the business and property are for sale. Carena's Jamaican Grille on Midlothian Turnpike is closed, at least temporarily, during renovations to the shopping center and restaurant building. Owner Carena Ives is expected to operate a food truck in the interim.

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Have a tip about the Richmond restaurant scene? Send it to shortorder@styleweekly.com.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Short Order

Thanking the food police, urban hens at the Camel + more.

Posted By on Tue, Aug 14, 2012 at 4:00 AM

Richmond patrolman Patrick Warner, a familiar presence in Carytown, brings a farmer’s market to the neighborhood on Sundays starting this week. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • Richmond patrolman Patrick Warner, a familiar presence in Carytown, brings a farmer’s market to the neighborhood on Sundays starting this week.

Richmond police officer Patrick Warner doesn't just ride the beat. He walks the walk. The 13-year police veteran, who's patrolled Carytown by bicycle for the past two years, is bringing something new to the neighborhood: the Carytown Farmer's Market. Warner launches the market Aug. 19, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. It's the area's first Sunday market and the first in that retail corridor, at 3300 W. Cary St. in the Carytown Cleaners parking lot.

Warner started working on the concept eight months ago — "I always have an idea," he says — after delving into gardening and keeping chickens and bees at his Bon Air home. He hopes his interest in sustainable living and local foods will encourage his young family, and others in the area, to eat healthfully. His Carytown venture will be a traditional, producer-only market, offering fruits and vegetables, meats, nuts, wines, flowers, cheeses and other foods from a dozen or more vendors. The market intentionally avoids selling crafts and prepared foods to keep from competing with neighboring businesses.

A popular and visible figure in Carytown, Warner got advice from the Byrd House Market and GrowRVA, which operates the South of the James Market. He says he's been encouraged by all the support for his sideline. "I want this to be a market where people will find fresh food and get a good value, that will entertain and educate them," he says. Eventually he'll add chef demonstrations featuring Carytown restaurateurs and other promotions to build business among the neighbors.

"Everyone I've approached about this sees it as a win-win," he says. "And as a police officer, I hope people will see that this is an investment in the community and the quality of life here." The market is set to run Sundays through Nov. 4, rain or shine, and resume next spring.

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Now serving: A Taste of India at 9930 Midlothian Turnpike is open; it replaces the former Ruchee. Co-owner Kris Seghal says the 70-seat operation is transformed: "We changed the whole thing, turned it upside down from the front door to the kitchen, and are serving gourmet ethnic food from the northwest part of India, from New Delhi to Punjab." A Taste of India serves a lunchtime and Wednesday night buffet and a la carte dinner Monday through Saturday. 323-5999.

Sandwich glutton: Adam Richman's television series "Best Sandwich in America" wraps up Aug. 15 at 9 p.m. with a gut-busting finale. Among the top 12 honorees is Richmond's Black Sheep restaurant and its gargantuan CSS Virginia battleship sandwich. Watch the Travel Channel for results.

Cluck off: The urban-hen movement comes to the Camel on Aug. 23, when "City Chicks" author Patricia Foreman signs books and discusses the finer points of raising chickens in the backyard. A $10 donation is suggested; proceeds go to the Gossamer Foundation for education and awareness on the issue. Register for the event, which runs 5:30-8:30 p.m., online at chiknegg.eventbrite.com.

Hostess windfall: Taste of Home magazine announces a contest for the American woman who "truly embodies the holiday spirit. Her family and friends already consider her the Queen of the Holidays …" with recipes and decorating ideas that inspire others. Contestants submit a short video and holiday recipe, and a popular vote will name the winner of a $50,000 prize. Log onto facebook.com/tasteofhome for details.

Closed: Barrel Thief, a wine store with local food, has closed its Short Pump location; the Patterson Avenue shop remains open.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Short Order

RVA food news: Ellwood's wellness coach, Becky's goodbye + more.

Posted By on Tue, Aug 7, 2012 at 4:00 AM

Denise Dolan brings her health and wellness training to a new position at Ellwood Thompson’s; she’s shown in the store’s meditation and therapy room. - ASH DANIEL
  • Ash Daniel
  • Denise Dolan brings her health and wellness training to a new position at Ellwood Thompson’s; she’s shown in the store’s meditation and therapy room.

In a Richmond grocery-store first, Ellwood Thompson's Natural Market in Carytown has hired a relationship and wellness coach to help customers find peace, health and purpose.

Denise Dolan, whose training has extended from jin shin jyutsu — an ancient Japanese healing practice — to other professional programs, begins in her role this month. She'll offer individual and group sessions and community programs at the store, on topics including conflict resolution, personal wellness and communication.

"I've been doing this work for about 12 years full time," Dolan says, admitting extreme skepticism at first, "and I had to face all of my fears and learn. I sought out teachers and modalities that would help me face the lack of fulfillment in my life. We learn how to peel away the layers of conditioning to help reveal the authentic self — how to activate that and bring that out. We have to become aware of what is working and isn't working in our life and then we move into the mastery of transformation. What do I want to shift and change? What do I want my life to be at home, in my personal relationships, in the work force?"

Dolan expects her clients, colleagues and store customers to learn how to engage in a shared vision of deeper intercultural and intergenerational understanding. "I think we can have a completely different world," she says, "and I can see the difference in the lives of others who have healed unexpectedly and used their emotions as a launching pad and guidance system to what we want to create. We can shift and support and share visions of what we want our community to be." Learn more at denisedolan.com.

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Goodbye, Becky's: A slew of Richmond dining institutions has closed recently: A Movable Feast, Sensi, Bogart's in the West End, the Empress and many Bill's Barbecue locations. Some are publicly mourned; some end with little fanfare. Becky's, a breakfast and lunch stalwart at 100 E. Cary St., was for at least four decades a personable, home-style diner with a waitress, Julia, who epitomized the role. She knew what customers wanted — the corned beef hash, the scrambled eggs, the sandwiches with extra mayo — and she made the place feel as close to Mayberry as Richmond could get.

Ownership and management changes during the last several years led to dinner service, a full bar and interior redesign that took out the kitsch. Now Becky's is transforming again, to Cary 100 Restaurant and Lounge. It will have a third-floor billiards room, a second-floor bar, and a new upscale menu on the first level, with an official opening planned for Sept. 7.

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Now serving: The Federal Coffee & Tea, at 616 E. Franklin St., offers salads with names such as techno and dub, hot and cold sandwiches, croques and coffees from 6 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays. The bacon, egg and cheese is $2.75; the Baltimore club with roast beef, ham, turkey, bacon, cheeses and greens on Texas toast is $8.25. Style Weekly's architecture writer Edwin Slipek says the shop's art-deco theme is a nice reflection of the building, one of the city's better examples of the style.

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Have a tip about the Richmond restaurant scene? Send it to shortorder@styleweekly.com.

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