Friday, September 30, 2011

Sneed Takes Double T’s Space

Posted By on Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Chef Jimmy Sneed is about to put his next culinary imprint on Richmond, this time taking over the prime Carytown location of the former Double T’s Real Smoked Barbecue at 2907 W. Cary St. The deal closes soon, Sneed says, and he’s finalizing plans for the restaurant’s focus and menu.

Fan District vegetarian cafe Fresca on Addison is now fully in the hands of Jenna Sneed, his daughter, and has a big vegan-foods following. Customers can expect to see meat on the menu at Sneed’s new venture, we’re betting.

Watch Style Weekly for details on the project next week.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Short Order

Vegetarian chef Michael King is Good to Go.

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 4:00 AM

Laurel Herman, Michael King, Maria Britt and Nicolas Melara make up the culinary team at the new Good to Go Delicatessen at the West End’s Good Foods Grocery. Chef King revisits recipes from his vegetarian restaurant Grace Place in the new natural foods setting. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • Laurel Herman, Michael King, Maria Britt and Nicolas Melara make up the culinary team at the new Good to Go Delicatessen at the West End’s Good Foods Grocery. Chef King revisits recipes from his vegetarian restaurant Grace Place in the new natural foods setting.

Vegetarian chef Michael King has returned to the kitchen, and his followers — including a legion of Facebook fans — are paying attention. The former owner of Grace Place, this city’s first vegetarian restaurant, also ran the Zen cafeteria Relish in Shockoe Bottom. Now he’s in charge of the newly invigorated Good to Go deli at Good Foods Grocery in the Gayton Crossing Shopping Center.

“Talk about somebody I’ve admired my whole life, it’s this man,” Good Foods owner Donnie Caffery says of his appreciation for King’s repertoire. “I think he’s the most loved man in Richmond — the way he conducts business, he’s just a gem. And his palate, the way he understands flavors. It takes a special person to understand the natural foods industry the way he does.”

King and his kitchen crew will prepare made-to-order salads, sandwiches, smoothies, organic juices and house-made bakery items, daily soups and raw foods, and the deli’s seating area has been enlarged to accommodate weekday lunch business.

At the grocery’s Stony Point location, more changes are in the works as it doubles in size and adds a kitchen and deli during the next several months. Caffery says it’s a project long in the works. “Being a store our size has started a revolution and it’s taken off even during all the economic mayhem. The natural foods industry has never stopped growing. What makes us thrive is that when people pay attention to their nutrition, their body will respond. Too often people pay more attention to their cars” than to their food intake, he says. “They almost shut off their brains to fuel up on fast food.”

For now, the deli’s lunch hours are 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday. 1312 Gaskins Road. 740-3518. goodfoodsgrocery.com.

Dinner on the farm: A new farm-to-table dinner series brings together a chef, a rural setting, a charitable mission, and a couple of food-advocate organizers who hope to share the wealth with an interested public. Gail Hobbs-Page of Caromont Farms and restaurant veteran Tracey Love are launching Hill & Holler next month. Its first event, billed as a soft opening, features chef Lee Gregory’s four-course dinner paired with wines from Blenheim Vineyards in a benefit for the University of Virginia Food Collaborative. It will be held at the vineyard Oct. 9 beginning with wine tours and appetizers at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $75 per person by advance reservation at hill.holler@gmail.com.

Another casualty: Double T’s Real Smoked Barbecue, a prominent presence in Carytown, has joined the list of recent restaurant closings, shutting its doors Sept. 17.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Short Order

Kruger brings a craft-cocktail renewal to FanHouse.

Posted By on Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 4:00 AM

Bobby Kruger leads an all-bartender service staff at the revamped FanHouse, where ongoing changes include new cocktail and food menus. - ASH DANIEL
  • Ash Daniel
  • Bobby Kruger leads an all-bartender service staff at the revamped FanHouse, where ongoing changes include new cocktail and food menus.

For those who’ve been following the FanHouse saga, the Floyd Avenue restaurant’s newest chapter started last week. Zoning issues nearly sidelined the business, but owner Sunny Zhao has brought on managing partner Bobby Kruger and the craft-cocktail exemplar already is making his mark.

Kruger, formerly of Julep’s and its late-night speakeasy persona the Mint, will find himself in competition with his previous employer. Julep’s owner, Amy Cabaniss, is opening a Fan District version of the bar in the former Davis & Main space. Kruger wasn’t part of those plans and connected with Zhao, eager to explore the restaurant’s Asian flavor profiles and create a new cocktail menu.

“It’s very exciting,” Kruger says, “and we’re bringing on an all-bartender serving staff,” with some of the city’s best-known bar personnel. They’ll create and serve drinks made with gin, sake and soju (a sweet, rice-based liquor), using ingredients such as yuzu and shiso to pair with a small-plates menu of FanHouse recipes that encourage pairing and sharing.

Customers here and elsewhere have embraced the craft cocktail movement. “If you’re not doing fresh ingredients, you’re way behind the pack,” Kruger says. “Customers want something well-made and fresh. The culture of learning about food and beverages has caught hold.”

FanHouse is open Tuesday through Saturday, 2526 Floyd Ave. 612-8888. fanhouse.net.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Short Order

Goodbye Grandpa Eddie and other RVA food farewells.

Posted By on Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 4:00 AM


Carey Friedman, a lawyer who risked a career switch to make the barbecue he loves, has thrown in the cards, at least for now. He closed Grandpa Eddie’s Alabama Ribs and BBQ in western Henrico last month, ending a six-year run marked by high praise and a big expansion. External factors forced the closing, not a lack of business, Friedman tells his online followers at hogwagon.com.

Friedman says he’s exploring options but is doubtful about relocation in the immediate future. The closing “was sudden,” the result of equipment-related issues; his staff of 20-some is out of work, and the building at Three Chopt and Cox roads is for sale. Fans are bemoaning the loss of Friedman’s brisket, barbecue and peanut butter pie, along with his presence as a good guy with a caring, generous spirit.

Sprout Market & Café: Owners and musicians Jamie and Laurie Lay used the term “localvore” to explain their year-old business’ mission, harvesting foods and bands from close to home. They closed out their run with a private party, a dozen acts and a sweaty crowd on Sept. 4. Style Weekly contributor Karen Newton says it was a memorable farewell at the Morris Street cafe. “That last night at Sprout exemplified everything that was right about a place with a focus on local sourcing,” she reports. “It didn’t matter, food or musicians, they pulled the best from right here in Virginia and went out with a bittersweet symphony that kept both regulars and first-timers focused on something other than what a loss to the greater community Sprout’s closing was.”

Cafe Gutenberg: This Shockoe Bottom landmark was on the market for months, and now is in the hands of a new owner. The business closed in late August; chefs Jen Mindell and Garrett Berry are opening Rooster Cart, a vegan and vegetarian food truck, once permits are secured.

Osteria la Giara: Chef Nuccio Giambanco pulled the plug on his Short Pump-area Italian restaurant just six months after opening. His wok-fired pastas and pizzas had fans, but a proliferation of restaurants nearby covering nearly every culinary option apparently proved too much.

Copper Grill: In a surprising shutdown of an upscale, mall-based chain, this steakhouse ended its run at Short Pump Town Center and referred calls to its Kansas City corporate office. The Times-Dispatch reports that Texas de Brazil is moving in, closing its location at Regency Square mall.

FanHouse: After a lengthy zoning squabble, the fates seemed sealed for owner Sunny Zhao while he removed a downstairs bar at his Floyd Avenue restaurant and thereby lost half of his lively cocktail scene. No word on what happens next, but neighbors surely will be watching.

Ellwood’s Café: Staffers got short notice and were told to reapply for a few prime positions … if they’re willing to wait until February to work again at the coffee shop on Thompson. The space is getting a menu and management shake-up that the ex-employed say will be an offshoot of neighboring Carytown business Can Can.

Next week: What’s coming and what’s cooking as Richmond heads toward fall.

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