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RVA Food News: Big Spoon Rebrand, Giant Sandwiches + More

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Scott Elmquist

New Kid on the Block

There's good buzz out of Shockoe Bottom from Franklin Street Market, which opened recently next to Tio Pablo. The convenience store features an array of specialty foods, craft beer, fresh-baked pizza and a deli counter that's quickly becoming known for its monster sandwiches.

Shout outs on Yelp from satisfied customers recommend the Korean barbecue, the Reuben sandwich (pictured above) and the fried chicken with house-made hot sauce. The market is open late, which should be a boon for residents in an area that isn't known for its to-go options. Franklin Street Market, 1711 E. Franklin St., 304-6657.

Expanding the Taps

Fans of craft beer have been following An Bui's new endeavor, the Answer, next to his Broad Street Vietnamese restaurant Mekong. The place is going to be huge. Add to that the news that Bui agreed to buy the long-running Commercial Taphouse & Grill at 111 N. Robinson St., and jaws dropped.

"It's an honor for us to continue the legacy," Bui says of Commercial Taphouse, adding that he considers owner owner James Talley to be the "grandfather of craft beer in Richmond."

"We're going to give it a new heartbeat, a new menu. A little Asian fusion," Bui says, with details being finalized. The deal to buy the restaurant is set to close in September.

Bui says Commercial Taphouse will continue to run for the time being, but there might be renovation and build-out in the future. "We might shut down for a couple of weeks of vacation. Give those guys some time."

Wine Bistro two-for-one: Carytown's Amour Wine Bistro will hold a new French-wine-tasting series every Tuesday starting Aug. 12. Sommelier Joshua Delano and owner Paul Heitz will host, teaching attendees the ins and outs of wine pairing, storing and serving. Reservations are recommended. On the lineup this month: summer-friendly wines (Aug. 12), wines from the Alsace region (Aug. 19) and wines from the Languedoc region (Aug. 26).

Also this month, Amour will celebrate the birthday of popular chef Julia Child with a week of some of her most famous dishes, Aug. 12-15. Among the menu items is beef bourguignon, tarte tatin and vichyssoise. 3129 W. Cary St., 353-4020. amourwinebistro.com.

Second serving: Big Spoon Agency is the new food-forward re-branding of GayRVA founder Kevin Clay's creative services business. The venture makes its public debut with a boozy ice-cream social at Pasture.

Big Spoon, which counts Buz and Ned's, Pasture and the Fire, Flour & Fork festival among its clients, is pivoting to meet Richmond's booming food and drink culture, Clay says. "It's been a lot of conversations over the past few months," he says. "We're so fortunate to have a community that nurtures local food talent."

The event is Aug. 20, 5:30-7 p.m., at Pasture, featuring cocktails with an ice-cream theme. 416 E. Grace St., 780-0416. pastureva.com.

Far-flung food: Another food festival featuring local chefs on the radar is the 2014 Edible Food Fest in Orange on Aug. 9. Billed as a celebration of food from earth to table, the spotlight is on local and sustainable with artisans, demonstrations, discussions and live music.

Headliners include Jason Alley of Richmond hot spots Comfort and Pasture, Harrison Keevil of Brookville in Charlottesville, and Craig Hartman of Gordonsville's BBQ Exchange. Festival-goers can eat their fill of food trucks such as Blue Ridge Pizza, Amazin' Grazin' and Carpe Donut alongside vendors selling local grass-fed meats, baked goods and artisanal honey. The festival runs 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tickets are $7. ediblefest.com.

Now Serving

Southern Season: Gourmet Southern grocery, cooking school and restaurant with local emphasis. 2250 Staples Mill Road, 855-592-3446 southernseason.com.

Torero Tapas Bar and Grill: Authentic Spanish small plates, signature cocktails and a 25-and-older dance club. 1409 E. Cary St., 643-0911. facebook.com/torerorvatapas.

Continental Divide: Spicy Tex-Mex comfort fusion. 2501 W. Main St., 359-9690. eatdivide.com.

Metzger Bar and Butchery: German favorites with Sausage Craft meats to-go. 801 N. 23rd St. 325-3147. metzgerbarandbutchery.com.

Supper: Meat-focused "eclectic, signature downhome cuisine." 1213 Summit Ave., 353-0111. lunchorsupper.com.

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