Friday, May 29, 2015

It's Just a Southern Thing

Chef T. J. Hicks will show off his stuff at a pop-up event at Gallery 5.

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2015 at 3:35 PM

Pop-ups are a low-stakes way to get into the restaurant game, and for diners, it’s almost always a win/win. Chefs are out to impress and ticket holders are usually discerning eaters.

The latest is called A Southern Thing and will focus on all the things we have around here that we love the most. RVA Pop-Up Kitchens chef Gerald “T.J.” Hicks — executive sous chef at McCormack's Big Whisky Grill and previously of Lemaire and Six Burner — will offer a four-course dinner, plus paired wines from the Charlottesville area at Gallery 5. He’ll whip up some chilled sweet corn consommé, sorghum molasses-glazed barbecued spiced pork belly and other riffs on Southern classics.

At the same time, visual artist Austin Fitch will open his show, "Pop Patriot," at the gallery and Donny Ray Perry will provide a little live music. Part of the proceeds will benefit FeedMore.

The food, wine, art and music will all happen on June 18 from 7 to 11p.m. Sound like something you might like to do? You’d better hop to it. Tickets are limited to 50, and the cost is $55. Follow this link for ticket information and more details.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Get Ready, Get Set, Go!

Gwar-B-Q tickets are on sale today.

Posted By on Fri, May 22, 2015 at 1:00 PM

Gwar-B-Q tickets are now on sale. And the event has expanded to celebrate the band’s 30th anniversary. For three days, from Aug. 14 to 16, Gwar has released its slaves from the pit to throw not one but two pre-parties, B4BQ, at the Broadberry and the National on Friday, Aug. 14. On Saturday, Aug. 15, rabid fans will throng Hadad’s Lake (7900 Osborne Turnpike), where they’ll find three stages barely containing the 20 bands on this year’s roster.

Old people like me (which also includes every member of Gwar) will be hit with frenzied nostalgia when the Descendents, the Cro-mags and the Dickies (the Dickies!) blast our poor aging ears with the hardcore we love. Actually, maybe we won’t notice after decades of shows and the hearing loss that’s resulted. Here’s a link to list of a few of the other bands that will take the stage.

Why is this on Style’s food page? Because Gwar-B-Q isn’t just about the music — it’s about the food, too. In the spirit of excess, the band has 30 food trucks scheduled to arrive to satiate any hungry Bohab, along with their own special Gwar-made offerings. (Protip: You might want to fuel up before the Spew-O-Lympics.) And you can pick up a bottle of Gwar-B-Q sauce and Gwar-B-Q hot sauce on your way out.

In addition, any survivors can refuel at GwarBar’s Brutal Brunch (217 W. Clay St.) on Sunday, Aug. 16.

To buy tickets, from $45 to $299, and get every single detail you need about the event, head over to gwar.net. Oderus commands you to from Valhalla.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Public Service Announcement: The Cream Puffs Will Go On

Aziza's on Main closes in June, but its cream puffs found a new home.

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2015 at 1:39 PM

Although news that Pizza Tonight found a brick-and-mortar home is exciting, Richmond diners were devastated that Aziza's on Main would close. (Pizza Tonight is moving into the building.)

People were particularly upset when they realized that Rusty Fallen's cream puffs would disappear with the restaurant.

However, take heart, Richmonders! Billy Fallen, Rusty's son, confirmed that his mother will continue to make cream puffs. They will reappear on the menu of Rancho T at 1 Morris St. after Rusty finishes a brief break from the oven.

"Growing up, I never thought they were special," Billy says. "It wasn't until we opened Aziza's and people went crazy over them."

Fusion Flavor

The Reachmonde opens in Jackson Ward.

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2015 at 11:43 AM

Beyond the pots of colorful flowers, past the tiny Moroccan mosaic fountain and down the steps to the English basement of a red-brick row house on East Clay Street, Trey Wilkerson thinks about the evolution of the menu at his new restaurant, the Reachmonde. He calls the food Mediterranean and Southern soul-food fusion. “A lot of the ingredients cross over,” he says. “We're going to be doing things like osso buco, but with beef [instead of veal], and doing it over stoneground grits instead of polenta.”

Wilkerson grew up working in restaurants -- his grandparents owned the Back Porch in Ocracoke, North Carolina, and he says, his favorite job was working at Mel’s Café, the only soul food place in Charlottesville at the time.

Richmond’s growing dining scene attracted Wilkerson to the city. Charlottesville’s restaurant business is seasonal, and when the students go home in the summer, he says, it seems as if half of a restaurant’s customers leave, too. He found the Jackson Ward building on Craigslist. “We have absolutely amazing landlords,” says Wilkerson. Fifteen years ago, there was as much sky as there was roof, and since then, the space has been completely overhauled. Besides the little fountain outside that Wilkerson brought with him, there’s another, larger one in the back of the restaurant, built by a previous tenant.

Inside the warm yellow walls hung with bright paintings, Wilkerson says he wants to bring in more Mediterranean classics and Moroccan flavors. But for right now, he’s starting things out more simply. You’ll find dolmades and stuffed artichokes along with shrimp and grits or a Southern Cubano sandwich made with pork barbecue.

Wilkerson wants to put down restaurant roots before he begins more experimentation. “We were attracted to the diversity of the community,” he says. “We don’t want to only pull from people who don’t live here. We want the neighborhood in here.”

The Reachmonde is open for dinner each night and lunch on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s located two blocks from the Hippodrome, near Mamma J’s Kitchen and Thai Corner at 219 E. Clay St.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Weekly Food Notes

Foster Care Awareness at Pasture, Quirk Hotel's Chef + More

Posted By on Tue, May 19, 2015 at 3:39 PM

More Scott’s Addition news: The King of Pops, everyone’s favorite maker of wildly flavored frozen treats, will add a retail side to its building-tasting-lab-pop-storage space at 3001 W. Clay St. “We got approval and permits from the city, and built a patio,” owner Paul Cassimus says in an email. “There will be outdoor seating and we’ll sell pops through a window.” You can grab a lemon-basil or chocolate-sea-salt popsicle starting at noon, Friday, May 22. richmond.kingofpops.net.

Checking in: Quirk Hotel may not have a kitchen yet or a name for its restaurant, but it does have a chef. The Washington Post reports that Ashby Inn chef David Dunlap will man the stove. Dunlap is planning dishes that are “globally influenced,” the Post says, and “expects to keep the menu relatively small at 10 to 15 items that will change at least weekly.”

Helping kids: Pasture, along with nonprofits a Case for Hope, Connecting Hearts and Faces of Virginia Families, will hold a foster care awareness event Tuesday, May 26, from 5-7 p.m. Foster children need suitcases — and invariably don’t have them — when they move to a different home. They’re asking you to bring travel toiletries, including small bottles of shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes and anything else you might take with you on a trip, to Pasture to donate. You’ll find special appetizers and door prizes waiting. acaseforhope.org.

Market explosion: Yet another contender has entered the Richmond grocery-store ring. Germany’s discount grocery chain Lidl, which already intends to build a Henrico County store, is planning a second location across from Chesterfield Towne Center. Are there enough customers in the Richmond area making dinner nightly to sustain what looks akin to the late-’90s dot-com bubble, only with bread, milk and eggs?

Mabel on the move: Chris Fultz and Alex Graf of ZZQ Texas Craft Barbecue purchased a new smoker not too long ago, dubbing it “Mabel.” This summer, Mabel and ZZQ’s mouthwatering beef brisket will be at Ardent Craft Ales, starting June 5, every first and third Friday of the month. zzqrva.com.

Changing of the Guard

Aziza's on Main closing, with Pizza Tonight to take over the space.

Posted By on Tue, May 19, 2015 at 10:11 AM

It’s been in the works for a while, but the official announcement that Pizza Tonight found a permanent home came this morning. It comes with a cost, however. Aziza’s on Main is closing. The 2110 E. Main St. building will be renovated and a fall opening is planned.

Aziza’s opened in 2007, and two of its best known veterans are chefs Philip Denny and Caleb Shriver. Shriver went on to win Aziza's award for Style Weekly’s Best Restaurant in 2013 and to open the nationally recognized Dutch & Co. with his wife, Michelle Peake Shriver, and Philip Perrow in Church Hill.

Aziza’s owner Mary Gibrall Brooks says in a press release today: “After careful consideration, the Gibrall family has made the difficult decision to close Aziza's on Main. Mary Gibrall (Aziza), prided herself in her family-owned and operated businesses. We have come to a point in our journey where that may no longer be a realistic option and keeping with her example and tradition is very important to us.”

Pizza Tonight started as a monthly gathering of friends at owner Victoria DeRoche’s house, called Pizza Club. By 2010, DeRoche started to see pizza-making as a viable business, and after working with New Ventures New Visions, a nonprofit that helps women get businesses off the ground, De Roche purchased a mobile pizza oven and Pizza Tonight was born. Hardywood Park Craft Brewery was probably the most visible spot to see her in action, but DeRoche and her pizza oven also showed up at other food truck courts and plenty of events across town.

“After starting our business in 2010,” DeRoche says, “and becoming part of the dynamic RVA dining community by offering mobile, wood-fired catering, we are thrilled to take this next step and have a brick-and-mortar home for Pizza Tonight.”

Thursday, May 14, 2015

GRAZE at Origins Farm

Feast on meat at Slow Food RVA's event on May 17.

Posted By on Thu, May 14, 2015 at 12:35 PM

It’s all about the setting. Slow Food RVA has held GRAZE events at Tuckahoe Plantation, on East Grace Street, and this coming Sunday, May 17, from noon to 5 p.m., at Origins Farm. This event’s focus is on slow meat — animals raised sustainably on pasture and humanely killed — and will be the organization’s focus for all of 2015. Slow meat is designed to bring “together producers, butchers, thought leaders and eaters of every ethos to address the conundrum of industrial animal husbandry and to celebrate the alternatives,” according to Slow Food’s national website.

A cavalcade of local chefs are participating: Comfort’s Alley and Travis Milton, Will Richardson of Shoryuken Ramen, Metzger Bar & Butchery’s Brittany Anderson, Longoven pop-up event’s Patrick Phelan and Andrew Manning and Andrea Huntjens of Sophistocated Soireés will whip up the food, and Ann Butler from Edible Education will provide activities for kids.

Tickets are $25 and $5 for children.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Falafel for the Masses

The 31st Lebanese Food Festival gears up the weekend.

Posted By on Wed, May 13, 2015 at 11:27 AM

St. Anthony’s Maronite Catholic Church’s Annual Lebanese Food Festival is a whopping 31 years old. And it’s a party.

Before the event begins, organizer Sarah Joseph Brown says, volunteers call themselves the “choir”: “Our instruments are the clanging of bowls, pans and ovens, along with shovels and hammers, as we set up and prepare for our event.”

The groundwork for the festival begins in February, and all of the 250 families who attend St. Anthony’s are involved in one way or another — whether it’s hands-on cooking or as one of the runners who refills the trays. Some families participating span three or even four generations. These volunteers keep things running smoothly and make the tabouli, falafel and shawarma possible during the three days of the festival.

“Each of our 30,000 meat, cheese, and our spinach and feta pies are a labor of love,” Brown says, “handmade by the wonderful parish cooks who volunteer their time in our commercial kitchen.”

Lots of live music and some expert traditional dancing are a staple at every festival. “The dance groups begin learning our cultural dances at age 4,” she says.

Bulk and to-go food is available as well. The festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, May 15, and Saturday, May 16, and on Sunday, May 17, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., on the church grounds next to Innsbrook at 4611 Sadler Road.

For more information call 270-7234 or visit stanthonymaronitechurch.org. And in the meantime, you can whip a batch of your own tabouli, from this recipe graciously provided by St. Anthony's.

St. Anthony’s Tabouli


2 cups cracked wheat (bulgur)

4 large diced tomatoes

2 bunches green onions finely chopped (or substitute an onion), about 1 cup

1/2 cup olive oil

juice of 2 large lemons (about 6-8 tablespoons)

1 cup fresh mint leaves or 1/4 to 1/3 cup of dried mint, crushed

2 bunches fresh parsley leaves, chopped

6 leaves romaine lettuce


Rinse the bulgur. Drain it in a fine mesh strainer and squeeze out the excess water. Place in a large bowl and set aside. Finely chop the parsley, mint, green onions and tomatoes and add to the bowl. Pour the lemon juice over everything and mix thoroughly.

Place 1/2 cup serving on romaine lettuce leaf and serve. (Best served cold.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Weekly Food Notes

Bull and Bear Closing, Cupcake-iversary + more.

Posted By on Tue, May 12, 2015 at 4:20 PM

Chang in the city: Foodies lost their collective minds last week when James Beard Award-nominated chef Peter Chang announced he would open a restaurant in the old Adam’s Camera builing on West Broad Street, adjacent to Scott’s Addition. Construction will begin this summer.

Beer news: Hardywood Park Craft Brewery and area restaurants will serve the brewery’s Berliner Weisse, a German-style sour beer, the traditional way with house-made syrup once a week at different restaurants through July. Check Hardywood’s site for locations. hardywood.com.

Let them eat cupcakes: Frostings Bake Shop celebrated its six-year anniversary last week and also took a spot in the Daily Meal’s list of the 101 best cupcakes in America — for the second time in a row. frostingsva.com.

Closing: The almost 50-year-old Bull and Bear Club will close at the end of May, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. “Private clubs all around the country have struggled to survive,” a letter to members said.

Accolades: Richmond institution Sally Bell’s Kitchen (founded in 1924 as Sarah Lee Kitchen) won the James Beard 2015 American Classics Award, given to a restaurant “with timeless appeal” and that “reflects the character of its community.”

Eat up: The 31st annual Lebanese Food Festival will be held May 15-17 at St. Anthony’s Maronite Catholic Church at 4611 Sadler Road. Live music and traditional Lebanese dancing will go along with the tabbouleh, hummus and kibbe. To-go orders and bulk items will also be available. stanthonymaronitechurch.org/festival.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Peter Chang Comes to the City

The much-praised chef will open a restaurant on West Broad Street.

Posted By on Wed, May 6, 2015 at 12:48 PM

Peter Chang is a busy, busy man. And he’s about to get busier. The famous chef just signed a 10-year lease for a restaurant in the old Adams Camera space, now the Hofheimer Building, adjacent to Scott’s Addition, owned by Carter and Annie Snipes. A winter opening is planned.

Chang has been looking in the city for a property for a long time, and rumors have abounded since he first opened his Short Pump location in 2012. Fans were briefly teased with the notion that he might open in the old Fan House space at Floyd Avenue and Robinson Street, but nothing came of it.

There are many Chang fans rejoicing today. (Including this one.) “I was drawn to the Hofheimer Building for its central location,” Chang said in a news release.” The location will pull in diners from the Fan, North Side, the near West End and beyond.

Chang’s new restaurant will take up about half of the building and the rest will be event space and a rooftop bar with the building’s original freight elevator able to transport diners from the restaurant to a view of the city’s skyline.

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