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."
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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