Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Short Order

RVA Food News: F.W. Sullivan’s Canal preview, New Orleans at Chez Foushee, restaurants for sale + more.

Posted By on Tue, Sep 24, 2013 at 4:00 AM

Jake Crocker and Hayden Fisher extend the F.W. Sullivan's brand into a canalside version, now open in the former Black Finn. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • Jake Crocker and Hayden Fisher extend the F.W. Sullivan's brand into a canalside version, now open in the former Black Finn.

For anyone who thought the Canal Walk was a ghost town, it turns out there’s more foot traffic than in the Fan. At least that’s the observation from Jake Crocker about the newest link in the F.W. Sullivan’s chain.

“We’ve got hundreds of people sitting on top of us” in the Troutman Sanders building, Crocker says, “and I’m shocked at how much foot traffic we get” past the new business, F.W. Sullivan’s Canal Bar and Grille. It opens this week in the former Black Finn space at 1001 Haxall Point, basically doubling the area’s restaurant options.

While much of the menu and beverage list will carry over from Sullivan’s Fan location, this one has twice the taps, will offer a lunchtime salad bar, and is “taken up a notch” in décor and design, Crocker says. It seats 157 inside and 40 on the patio, and has a street-artist mural of Richmond landmarks including Gwar and George Washington. An oyster bar, tacos and deli sandwiches reflect the group’s other local holdings at Lady N’awlins, Jorge’s Cantina and Uptown Market. Sully’s on the Canal, as it’s nicknamed, serves lunch, dinner and bar daily.

Dining distractions: While you’re waiting for food at Tarrant’s Café on Friday nights, you might get a few card tricks from John Smallie, a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and a longtime table pleaser. Over at Burger Bach in Carytown, bar sitters are treated to an endless infomercial loop advertising female booty shapers — buns the obvious theme.

Flavor fix: Look for New Orleans influences on a menu update at downtown charmer Chez Foushee. Shrimp creole, croque-madame at brunch, and warm banana fritters show a French Quarter influence. 203 N. Foushee St. 648-3225. chezfoushee.com. Nearby, chef Nate Sams, long known for beignets and catfish, has returned with Louisiana Flair inside the club Aurora. He’s serving weekday lunch at 401 E. Grace St. 497-9422.

Market influx: Two restaurants formerly connected to chef Andy Howell (Camden's Dogtown Market) are on the market. Avenue 805, in the Fan, and Zeus Gallery Café, in the Museum District, are ending their long runs. Both owners announced their businesses are for sale. Zeus, open for 20 years, will continue to operate for now, owner Ted Doll says. And so will Avenue 805, with cheap date night, sports on TV, mussels and frites, and other inducements. See details at avenue805.net. Several other properties also are looking for buyers as the city’s food scene continues to expand and contract.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Short Order

RVA Food News: The Lair Preview, Bucket Trade Brings Sweets, Richmond Folk Feast + More

Posted By on Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 4:00 AM

Jason Williams and Chris Mullenix have big plans for the Lair, their local food collective with pizza, Mexican, sushi and sweets under one roof downtown. They've brought in furnishings from old churches, restaurants and houses. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • Jason Williams and Chris Mullenix have big plans for the Lair, their local food collective with pizza, Mexican, sushi and sweets under one roof downtown. They've brought in furnishings from old churches, restaurants and houses.

Another food truck moves into brick and mortar territory next month, bringing entertainment options and a range of tastes. Fans of the Chupacabra food truck have been on alert since Chris Mullenix and Jason Williams announced they're opening the Lair at 17 W. Main St. in the former Caribbean Mingles across from the Jefferson Hotel. It's a big collaborative with local food purveyors, rambling rooms filled with booths, a bar and patio. Upstairs, a stage, dance floor and VIP room are getting final touches.

Four food trucks are connected to the Lair — Killer Pizza, Sweet Thing, Kappa Sushi and the Mexican fare of Chupacabra. "This is the lair where your monster lives," Williams says of the concept, "and this is a destination for a community that has created itself." Look for daily breakfast and lunch hours starting in early October, with full service and late nights coming at Halloween.

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Beer Brigade: The new Chester business the Bucket Trade is built around beer. But that doesn't mean desserts are an afterthought. James and Aimee Hartle open their pub this weekend after years of self-described geeking out on craft brews. They recruited baker Michelle Wilson to make beer-soaked cakes, beer brownies and beer-drenched icing to highlight their menu.

The Bucket Trade is named for a Prohibition-era practice in which boys delivered beer to law-breaking drinkers by the bucketful, a forerunner to today's growler. The Hartles' tavern in the River's Bend Shopping Center sells those, along with sliced-to-order deli sandwiches, maple-bourbon and hopped pickles, beer-infused mustards, local cheese plates and the beery desserts to enhance 16 taps, a rotating list of brews and hard ciders. It isn't a coincidence that they placed the business near Fort Lee, where a built-in audience of quartermasters presumably stands ready to check out the goods. Hartle is a Colonial Heights native and works at the base.

Although the couple is well-versed in craft beer — and history and zombies — "we want the knowledge and experience to be there, but not come across as condescending," James says of the approach.

"It's more about fun and expanding the different choices that are available here," Aimee adds, "and to offer a well-rounded craft beer experience, especially proper glassware and temperature."

The room has eight tables, nine seats at the bar, and sandwiches in the $8-$9 range. Open nightly with lunch to dinner hours on weekends. 13131 River's Bend Blvd., Chester. 322-3372. thebuckettrade.com.

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For the music: A new event to benefit the Richmond Folk Festival combines 10 local chefs and a community cause. The Richmond Folk Feast is set for Oct. 8, from 6-9 p.m. at upper Tredegar Ironworks. Tickets are $100 and include weekend parking for the festival. The chefs cooking include Jason Alley of Comfort and Pasture, Mike Braune of Secco, Randall Doetzer of Julep's, Dylan Fultineer of Rappahannock, Lee Gregory of the Roosevelt, Velma Johnson of Mama J's, Owen Lane of Magpie, Randy Roscoe of Mosaic, Joe Sparatta of Heritage, and Tim Bereika of Mosaic. James Justin and Company will perform, drinks are included in the price, and signature beer Wild Wolf's Folktoberfest will be on tap. richmondfolkfestival.org.

Know your meat: New at this month's Virginia State Fair is a free course called Moo U, a 50-minute guided tour of the livestock barns. Farmers talk about how pigs, cattle, sheep and goats are raised. The fair runs Sept. 27- Oct. 6 at Meadow Event Park in Caroline County. New food items this year include chocolate-covered bacon and a host of fried sweets. statefairva.org.

Western graze: Pasture has opened its Charlottesville location in the Shops at Stonefield. Executive chef Pete Evans will carry out owner Jason Alley's Southern small plates concept. Dinner nightly except Sunday, lunch hours coming later. pastureva.com.

Now Serving

Tazza Kitchen: Rustic glam at wood-fired oven spot with pizzas, meats and fish, snacks and salads; international wine and beer list, large patio. Dinner nightly. 3332 Pump Road. 716-6448. tazzakitchen.com.

Boka Kantina: Fusion tacos, pizzas, changing specials in this sibling business to popular food trucks. Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday. 1412 Starling Drive. 928-2652. bokatruck.com.

Social52 Kitchen & Craft Bar: Large selection of craft beer, with appetizers, steaks, seafood and sangria. Open nightly. 2619 W. Main St. 353-9709. social52rva.com.

Southern Railway Taphouse: Burgers, comfort foods, crafts on tap, canal-side spot with outdoor dining for weekend lunch, dinner and bar nightly. 111 Virginia St. 308-8350. srtaphouse.com.

Society: Deli sandwiches, salads and burgers for weekday lunch; American bistro entrees for dinner Tuesday-Saturday; cocktails and lounge with VIP service Wednesday-Saturday. 1421 E. Cary St. 648-5100. societyrva.com.

Estilo: Peruvian and Latin cuisine with seafood, cocktails, rotisserie meats and street food in luxe casual spot in the Village Shopping Center. Lunch weekdays from 11 a.m., dinner nightly. 7021 Three Chopt Road. 484-6046. estilorichmond.com.

Brew: Gastropub with local-foods focus, burgers, apps, seasonal specials, craft beer, refined setting with patio. Lunch, dinner and bar hours Monday through Saturday, and brunch Sunday. 6525 Centralia Road in the Chesterfield Meadows Shopping Center. 454-0605. brewgastropub.com.

Mint Gastropub: Chef Malcolm Mitchell presents eclectic comfort food, spicy wings, short ribs, chops, fish and chips. Dinner and bar nightly, weekend brunch. 2501 W. Main St. 359-9690. mintrichmond.com.

En Su Boca: Taqueria with chef Eric Stangerone's California take on Mexican street food, burritos, nachos, churros and beer. Cash only. Lunch, dinner and bar Tuesday-Sunday. 1001 N. Boulevard. 359-0768.

The Daily Kitchen & Bar: Natural foods, gluten-free and vegan options, wide menu of California cuisine in modern setting. Full bar, patio, dinner nightly with expanded hours coming. 2934 W. Cary St. 342-8990. thedailykitchenandbar.com.

The Viceroy: Rustic contemporary food, appetizers, sandwiches, seasonal entrees and desserts with creative twists from chef Ryan Baldwin. Craft beer, full bar. Lunch weekdays and dinner nightly. 600 N. Sheppard St. 342-7696. viceroyrichmond.com.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Short Order

RVA Food News: Tazza Kitchen preview, Boka's new home, Brown Bag gone + more.

Posted By on Tue, Sep 10, 2013 at 4:00 AM

Ryan Jones and Lauren Spain show a blackberry mojito, an old fashioned, and a pure and simple from the bar, which faces Tazza Kitchen's central feature, a wood-fired oven. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • Ryan Jones and Lauren Spain show a blackberry mojito, an old fashioned, and a pure and simple from the bar, which faces Tazza Kitchen's central feature, a wood-fired oven.

In the Best Way to Open a Restaurant category, partners at the new Tazza Kitchen in Short Pump started with a journey. Over six months they documented visits to "two eerily similar regions that we fell in love with," co-owner Jeff Grant says.

With business partners John Davenport and John Haggai and photographer Derek Bennion, among others, the group explored Valle de Guadalupe in Baja, Mexico, and the Campania region of southern Italy. In both places, wood-fired cooking, simple ingredients and ebullient hospitality became the basis for Tazza's intentions.

The trip is documented on the restaurant Facebook page because "telling the story is very important to us," Grant says. "When it comes to the passion that these people have for their food, eating with friends and family, they take time to enjoy their meals" — with nary a cell phone in sight.

That might be a stretch in Short Pump, but the resulting Tazza is a dramatic blowout of the former Café Caturra in the same spot, now with a sophisticated rustic decor and the bar's focal point, a handcrafted Italian oven. It's a double-door design — pizza from the front side by the bar, and from the kitchen behind it, braised meats and roasted vegetables. There's no butter on the menu save the fingerling potatoes, because 800- to 1,000-degree heat chars foods into a caramelized state, sometimes enhanced with a bit of olive oil.

The menu has snacks, salads, fish and sausage and other spicy, savory fare, with two desserts — a chocolate budino and a pair of cannoli with broiled grapefruit and honeycomb. The bar has taps for two wines and several craft beers, along with international wines by glass, carafe and bottle and a handful of craft cocktails.

Since opening in late August, "people are thanking us for bringing this here," Grant says of the franchise-heavy neighborhood. As for potential spinoffs, he says, "we're taking it one dinner shift at a time." Tazza Kitchen serves dinner nightly and will extend hours for lunch and brunch, and a possible late-night pizza bar, in the near future. 3332 Pump Road. 716-6448. tazzakitchen.com.

Boka by the booth: It took awhile, but the brick and mortar version of the Boka Tako food truck now is fully operational. Starting this week, Boka Kantina near Regency Square Mall will serve lunch and dinner daily except Sunday, with brunch planned for weekends later this year. The dining room's mustard and black decor is accented with stone tile, and black vinyl booths seat about 45 customers.

"We're really giving it a Fan feel," owner Patrick Harris says, "with all the craft brews, an eight-draft system and some international bottles" to complement the Boka gauntlet — Asian, Mexican and American flavors. Besides beer and taco pairings, the menu has empanadas such as scallop and bacon, pastas including lemon grass, coconut and curry shrimp, a wild mushroom salad with Gorgonzola and garlic cream, and braised lamb confit pizza on a rotating list from Grate Pizza, a Boka sibling business. 1412 Starling Drive. 928-2652. bokatruck.com.

Post painter: The former Main Art Supply, once a proud independent hub for artists and students, is poised to become a new venture from Eat Restaurant Partners. The group owns Blue Goat, Fat Dragon, Wild Ginger and two Osaka Sushi & Steak locations.

Closed: Boo's Brown Bag in the Fan is the latest casualty in a location that's changed hands almost yearly. Have a Nice Day Café lost its ABC license and is no longer operating.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Short Order

RVA Food News: Social52 preview, Fall Line food pairings, Dutch & Co. oyster social + more.

Posted By on Tue, Sep 3, 2013 at 4:00 AM

Social52 reveals a new interior design and menu at the former Avalon in the Fan. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • Social52 reveals a new interior design and menu at the former Avalon in the Fan.

The dark warren of coziness that was Avalon in the Fan has given way to a new everything at Social52 Kitchen & Craft Bar, which opened two weeks ago. It touts the Fan's biggest selection of craft beer with 70 choices, six on tap. Sangria is a house specialty along with craft cocktails at the new, larger bar.

With fewer interior walls and opened-up sightlines, the focus is on social events and a young professional crowd. "We're excited to move forward, and we're pleased with the reception we're getting," says co-owner Walied Sanie, who notes that big sellers so far are the ghost pepper buffalo wings and duck spring rolls. Lamb meatballs, seafood, flat breads and steaks also are on the menu, served daily from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m. at 2619 W. Main St. 353-9709. social52rva.com.

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Food for thought: A food and music matchup gives some tang to the Fall Line Fest downtown this weekend. Chefs and musicians worked together to come up with three-course menus and cocktails: Chef Jason Alley of Pasture with No BS! Brass, chef Will Wienckowski of Ipanema Cafe with Thou, chef Jacob Goff of the Well with Positive No, Adam Hall of Saison with Helado Negro, and Dylan Fultineer of Rappahannock with the Southern Belles. Style Weekly calendar editor Chris Bopst is part of a panel discussion set for Sept. 7 at the Camel, 1 - 3 p.m., also including Constantine Giavos, Nate Gutierrez and Jason Alley and moderated by Michele Jones of Pasture. They'll talk about how music inspires their work in some of the city's most successful kitchens. See details for the Sept. 6-7 event at falllinefest.com.

Bivalve and bubbles: Act fast for the oyster social at Dutch & Co., Sept. 5 starting at 6:30 p.m. with oysters shucked on site from Michael and Laura Hild and nibbles from chefs Philip Perrow and Caleb Shriver. A $25 ticket gets customers half a dozen oysters and a glass of Blue Bee Cider. Additional food and beverage items are available for this one-night-only raw bar at 400 N. 27th St. 643-8824.

Now Serving

Southern Railway Taphouse: Comfort food, crafts on tap, canal-side spot with outdoor dining for weekend lunch, dinner and bar nightly. Burgers, flat breads, hearty entrees. 111 Virginia St. 308-8350. srtaphouse.com.

Society: Deli sandwiches, salads and burgers for weekday lunch; American bistro entrees for dinner Tuesday-Saturday; cocktails and lounge with VIP service Wednesday-Saturday. 1421 E. Cary St. 648-5100. societyrva.com.

Estilo: Peruvian and Latin cuisine with seafood, cocktails, rotisserie meats, street food in luxe casual spot in Village Shopping Center. Dinner nightly, lunch hours begin this week. 7021 Three Chopt Road. 484-6046. estilorichmond.com.

Brew: Gastropub with local-food focus, burgers, apps and seasonal specials, craft beer, refined setting with patio. Lunch, dinner and bar hours Monday through Saturday, and brunch Sunday. 6525 Centralia Road in the Chesterfield Meadows Shopping Center. 454-0605. brewgastropub.com.

Mint Gastropub: Chef Malcolm Mitchell presents eclectic comfort food, spicy wings, short ribs, chops, fish and chips. Dinner and bar nightly, weekend brunch. 2501 W. Main St. 359-9690. mintrichmond.com.

En Su Boca: Taqueria with chef Eric Stangerone's California take on Mexican street food: burritos, nachos, churros and beer. Cash only. Lunch, dinner and bar Tuesday-Sunday. 1001 N. Boulevard. 359-0768.

The Daily Kitchen & Bar: Natural foods, gluten-free and vegan options, wide menu of California cuisine in modern setting. Full bar, patio, dinner nightly with expanded hours coming. 2934 W. Cary St. 342-8990. thedailykitchenandbar.com.

The Viceroy: Rustic contemporary food, appetizers, sandwiches, seasonal entrees and desserts with creative twists from chef Ryan Baldwin. Craft beer, full bar. Lunch weekdays and dinner nightly. 600 N. Sheppard St. 342-7696. viceroyrichmond.com.

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