If Richmond feels a bit like Portland these days, it's because Lamplighter Roasting Co. is bringing a taste of the Pacific Northwest to a corner cafe and incrementally transforming the neighborhood.
Lamplighter is at 116 S. Addison St., in an area some are calling So-Fa — South of the Fan. What was a mechanic's shop until a Cadillac blew up and sent shock waves all the way to Broad Street is now a scenester paradise. Coffee is fresh-roasted and brewed, and this place pulls true ristretto shots — refined espresso techniques that are much discussed by coffee geeks but still new to Richmond.
Lamplighter takes its food seriously as well, turning out sandwiches on sublime foccacia, fresh soups, salads and sides, breakfasts with challah French toast, vegetable or omnivore quiches, country-style doughnuts and house-made granola. Food is value-priced and served on lustrous pottery made by co-partner Zach Crinklbine's mother. Noelle Archibald is an owner, and Jen Rawlings, formerly of 17.5 CafAc, is also a partner.
They hope to create more than a thriving cafAc and coffee-delivery business, and are at work to curate the Addison arts corner with a public sculpture garden in a vacant lot, bike-in movies and community events, along with shows at Last Month Gallery across the street. It's a far cry from the days when this area was known as the honeycomb, a drug-dealing drop zone. “Make this the city you want to live in,” Crinklbine says with characteristic idealism. “We're trying to create a community that people want to be in, and we're paying attention to what people want.”
One of those things is art. In the cafAc's Necessary Loo gallery, local artists paint directly on the restroom walls in shows that will change every few months. Up now is a sign-language alphabet spelled out with the hands of comic book superheroes. Customers “come out of the bathroom talking about it,” Crinklbine says. “All sorts of people are embracing us.”
Open daily. Vegan, vegetarian and meat options. 728-2292. tallbikecoffee.com.
Haiti Benefit: Comfort, Belmont Butchery and Six Burner Restaurant are organizing an evening with other food businesses to benefit relief efforts in earthquake-ravaged Haiti. Participants, in addition to the planners, include Acacia, Strawberry Street Vineyard, the Boathouse, Yellow Umbrella, Tarrant's, Zeus Gallery Cafe, Bacchus, Azzurro, Kuba Kuba, Hard Shell, DeLux, Europa, the Hill Cafe, Water Grill, Balliceaux, Stronghill Dining Co., Mezzanine, Olio, Avenue 805, LuLu's, Millie's, Bistro 27, Aziza's on Main, Amici, La Grotta and Lift. On March 2, these businesses will donate 10 percent of their sales to the Red Cross or Heifer International.
Now that the dust is settling with the sale of Verbena, I ... realized I had not properly communicated, as I should have, to Verbena's loyal customers that we had closed. I would like to rectify any lack of communication or miscommunication with those individuals that may have purchased gift certificates and not redeemed them; as I have been in contact with some previous clients about this. I have offered two options: Redeem them at either Cha Cha's or Lucky Buddha, or receive a refund for the value. Please call Cha Cha's during the hours of 2-4 p.m., Monday-Friday, 804-726-6296 with any questions. — David Bess