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, southboundrva.com.
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.
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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