click to enlarge food48_short_southbound1.jpg

Scott Elmquist

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Southbound Q&A, Two Closings + More

Posted By on Tue, Nov 25, 2014 at 2:59 PM

With everyone talking about it, you probably know that Southbound is opening. The Roosevelt’s James Beard Award-nominated chef Lee Gregory and Heritage’s Joe Sparatta surprised everyone earlier this year by teaming up to open a restaurant in the South Side. The suspense that swept through the food community finally is over, with Southbound offering a preview Friday and officially opening Tuesday, Nov. 25. 3036 Stony Point Road, 918-5431,

We asked Gregory and Sparatta about the process of opening:

Style: How did this partnership come about?

Sparatta: I was looking to expand Heritage into retail with [Beechwood Farms’] Matt Gottwald. We couldn’t really find a space. Lee put a bug in my ear and said, “We should open something on South Side one day.” After Matt had essentially committed to trying to do the whole Heritage to Go project, I wound up saying, “Hey, what about a proper restaurant in South Side — with Lee?”

Gregory: I’ve always wanted to open a South Side restaurant. I would pick him up in the morning and ride around [there], partially for me and partially to hope to drag him into it.

click to enlarge Chefs Lee Gregory and Joe Sparatta served up hors d’oeuvres at the preview of their new restaurant, Southbound, on Friday night. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • Chefs Lee Gregory and Joe Sparatta served up hors d’oeuvres at the preview of their new restaurant, Southbound, on Friday night.

What kind of restaurant did you envision?

Gregory: We’re trying to have something for everyone. We want to be an everyday restaurant. By accident, The Roosevelt and Heritage have somehow semi-turned into destinations. We don’t mean for that to happen here.

Sparatta: We ended up talking about food that was very casual and approachable. We want to keep it inexpensive, but still use really nice ingredients and prepare everything with care — what we still do at our other restaurants, but make it a little more friendly [for the neighborhood].

Gregory: This restaurant is very much location-specific. I don’t think we would have done this — we weren’t just going to open a restaurant together. It never would have happened downtown or the Fan or Church Hill. It’s South Side specific.


Opening and closing: Pane e Vino’s former space, 2617 W. Broad St., is now occupied by Lalo’s Cocina Bar & Grill. … In December, Pho 79, renamed House of Noodles, will move into 8900 W. Broad St., formerly occupied by Green Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant, which served its last eggplant medley Nov. 16. … Tarrant’s West also is shooting for a December opening in the former Grandpa Eddie’s at Cox and Three Chopt roads.

Noodles: Chef Erik Bruner-Yang of Washington’s Toki Underground took over the stove at Rappahannock on Monday night to serve up bowls of ramen Richmonders had only heard about in rapturous tales from out-of-towners.

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