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Monday, November 30, 2015

UPDATE: Lawsuit Filed Against Family Meal's Bryan Voltaggio

Unpaid wages are alleged.

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 10:07 AM

UPDATE: Bryan Voltaggio and Hilda Staples, owners of Family Meal at the Shops at Willow Lawn, in a response filed with the U.S. District Court, refute allegations that they failed to pay workers for extra hours and changed time cards, reported the Frederick News-Post.

"Representatives for Voltaggio, Staples and their former employees are slated to meet Dec. 9 to discuss a schedule for future legal proceedings related to the suit," the Frederick News-Post says.

09-04-2015: Celebrity chef Bryan Voltaggio, the co-owner of Richmond’s Family Meal at the Shops at Willow Lawn, formally deny the charges made in a labor lawsuit filed this week in Baltimore.

According to the Frederick News-Post, the lawsuit was filed by two former line cooks who worked in two restaurants, Baltimore’s Family Meal and Volt in Frederick, owned by Voltaggio and Hilda Staples. Staples is also a partner in Richmond’s Family Meal and Graffiato.

Sunday Alexander and Heather Hensley allege that Voltaggio and Staples didn’t pay them for extra hours worked.

"Alexander and Hensley said they were not allowed to clock in until their designated time, causing them to lose several hours of pay each week, according to the documents,” the paper reported. “A similar practice occurred at the end of the shift, Alexander and Hensley said, in which they would clock out at their scheduled quitting time but would be asked to continue working for two to six more hours to help with cleaning up and prepping for the next day, the documents state.”

Voltaggio tells Style he intends to defend the accusations. “After reviewing the filing," he says, "we see that the allegations are wholly without merit and we intend to fight the baseless claims vigorously.”

CORRECTION: This article originally stated that Hilda Staples was a partner in Rappahannock. She is no longer involved with the business.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Weekly Food Notes: White Horse Tavern, Jackdaw Pop-up + More

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 2:12 PM

Opening: The White Horse Tavern opened at 410 Semmes Ave. on Thursday, Sept. 24, as reported in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. It’s the latest venture by James Talley, co-owner of the Cask Cafe and former owner of Commercial Taphouse. You’ll find British pub fare and beer — lots of beer, including two British hand pumps. Search Facebook for the White Horse Tavern. … Fast, Pacific pan-Asian cuisine has come to Virginia Commonwealth University at Kokonut Grill, at 1201 W. Main St. kokonutgrill.com.

Agritourism: The Virginia Association of Biological Farming and Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market are holding a self-guided farm tour Oct. 3-4. You can check out 19 different local farms and the cost is $25 per vehicle in advance and $30 per vehicle on the days of the tour. vabf.org and ellwoodthompsons.com.

Popping up: The Chinese-influenced pop-up, the Jackdaw, will offer dinner Oct. 12 at Millie’s Diner — which, by the way, restarted its dormant Twitter account @milliesrva last week. Ponder things such as sticky rice hash browns, a cumin steak burger, and a dry-fried chicken thigh with puffed rice and fermented lemon. A Día de los Muertos brunch is also planned for Nov. 1. thejackdawrva.com.

More praise: Both L’Opossum and Sally Bell’s Kitchen made Conde Naste Traveler’s “10 Unmissable Restaurants in the American South” list.

Have a tip about the Richmond restaurant scene? Send it to shortorder@styleweekly.com.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Will Change Come to the ABC?

The governor’s mandated review is in.

Posted By on Tue, Sep 22, 2015 at 4:21 PM

A panel of experts assembled by Gov. Terry MacAuliffe wants all ABC agents to wear body cameras.

In March, Gov. McAuliffe issued an executive order that called for the reorganization of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Department. “Recent events involving special agents of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) in Charlottesville have underscored longstanding concerns about the agency's Bureau of Law Enforcement and exposed the need for more extensive training and oversight,” it said.

The arrest of University of Virginia student Elizabeth Daly, who spent the night in jail after buying sparkling water at a grocery store, and the forceful arrest of U.Va. student Martese Johnson, who was seen in a video that went viral bleeding and held to the ground by agents outside of a restaurant on St. Patrick’s Day, inspired the executive order.

A 20-member team of law enforcement officials, commonweath’s attorneys, the governor's policy advisor on law enforcement for ABC, representatives from ABC licensed establishments, alcohol education and prevention groups, the director of the Criminal Justice Services Department, the University of Virginia student council president and others, reviewed how the department operates and has now issued its report.

One of the most significant recommendations is one of mission: The new focus of the ABC needs to be “on ABC licensee regulatory matters rather than street-level enforcement,” the report says.

In addition, all agents should be retrained and accredited by a state or national law enforcement accrediting organization. A quarterly review of the department’s progress was also recommended.

Johnson, then 20, needed 10 stitches for the cut on his head that he received during his arrest. All charges were dropped. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch regarding a report of the incident issued Tuesday, Sept. 22, "The Virginia State Police report also suggests that the three ABC agents involved in the arrest, who were taken off duty after the arrest and reinstated in early August, did not violate their department’s general orders for reasonable use of force."

Daly, also age 20 at the time of her arrest, sued the state and seven ABC agents. She received a settlement out of court for $212,500 and a letter from the ABC Board explaining the circumstances of her arrest for presentation to any future employers, according to Attorney General's Mark Herring’s news release last year.

However, the attorney general also said: “The settlement between the Commonwealth and Ms. Daly is not an admission of any wrongdoing by the plaintiff or defendants.”

The governor, however, appears to have a different view.

UPDATE: This story was updated to reflect the findings of the Virginia State Police report issued Tuesday, Sept. 22, after the article published.

Weekly Food Notes: Mezzanine Closed, Benny’s BBQ Benefit + More

Posted By on Tue, Sep 22, 2015 at 2:56 PM

Family Eats: Talley’s Meat and Three opened Sept. 16 in the Village Shopping Center. The spot, owned by Jessica and Josh Bufford, also owners of Toast, Shoryuken Ramen and Hutch Bar & Eatery, serves casual comfort food.

More to try: Quirk Hotel’s much anticipated Maple & Pine Restaurant debuted its full menu on Sunday, Sept. 20, with former Ashby Inn chef David Dunlap behind the stove, assisted by Kyle Cox, formerly of Aziza’s on Main. … Growlers to Go opened last week in Short Pump at 11341 W. Broad St. near Trader Joe’s, Richmond BizSense reports. It’s the second location for the business that began with one shop on the Boulevard. … After a series of pop-ups this summer that gave diners a preview of sort of food it might serve, Belle and James announced that it would officially open on Friday, Oct. 9. Chef Michael Crowley and general manager Bobby Kruger will be joined by sommelier Sean Rapoza, formerly of Balliceux.

Closing: Owner Todd Johnson is closing Carytown’s Mezzanine, Style’s 2009 restaurant of the year, at the end of the month.

Big Check: Benny’s BBQ raised $1,000 to benefit Richmond Fisher House and presented the check to its staff last week. The Fisher House provides a place to stay at no cost for families of veterans who are receiving treatment. bennysbbqva.com and richmondfisherhouse.org.

Food Fest: On Saturday, Sept. 26, starting at 8 a.m., the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, across the street from Monroe Park, will hold its fourth annual International Food Festival, this year celebrating the UCI Road World Championships. cathedralfoodfestival.com.

Have a tip about the Richmond restaurant scene? Send it to shortorder@styleweekly.com.

Tahoe’s California Grill To Open Near Innsbrook

The new restaurant will bring West Coast favorites to the Richmond area.

Posted By on Tue, Sep 22, 2015 at 1:28 PM

Tahoe’s California Grill is planning to open in the Shoppes at Twin Oaks in mid-October. Expect to see lots of wood, distressed wood and stone meant to evoke Lake Tahoe — plus photographs of the lake in case you’re not sure what it looks like.

The showcase dish will be a tri-tip cut of beef. According to the restaurant’s press release, “Santa Maria butcher Bob Schutz experimented with the cut, which is one of the three muscles in the bottom sirloin of the steer. … He seasoned it Santa Maria-style [with salt, pepper, garlic salt and other spices] and cooked it on a rotisserie.”

The rest of the menu will be filled with entrees under $20, which Mark Perkinson, the managing member of the LLC, describes as California comfort food. In keeping with its theme, the restaurant will serve only California craft beers and wines. Pick up catering and meals-to-go will also be available.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Hardywood Teams Up with Trader Joe’s

The collaboration, Hibiscus Tripel, is available now.

Posted By on Mon, Sep 21, 2015 at 3:38 PM

Aloha, craft beer enthusiasts. Hardywood Park Craft Brewery is here to help you say goodbye to summer, with a Belgian-style tripel with hibiscus. Here’s the catch: Richmonders will have take a trip to Short Pump to find it. It’s an exclusive brew for Trader Joe’s, a Monrovia, California grocery chain.

There’s one way for city-dwellers to avoid hitting the highway. The beer is also on tap at Hardywood’s location on Ownby Lane.

Still, beer aficionados might wonder why collaborate with a national chain at all? Sure, Hardywood has collaborated with larger institutions before — Forbidden Beer with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, for example. But that was local. This is new territory. Head brewer Brian Nelson says Hardywood had a lot of freedom in the process.

“We had some Trader Joe’s reps stop by for a tasting, and they raised the idea of a branded collaboration,” Nelson says. “They left the labeling and style up to us. I felt pretty comfortable with other craft collaborations they’d done, and they carry our flagship beers already.”

Nelson says capturing the flavor of hibiscus flowers was a bit of a challenge. Hibiscus is a tart and sour ingredient, so brewers decided to make an herbal tea, which was then added to a Belgian brew.

The distribution range is more extensive than usual. Expect to see Hibiscus Tripel popping up at select Trader Joe’s locations along the East Coast. Nelson says this is part of the expansion plan for Hardywood, which surprised fans in late July with an announcement for a $28 million facility in Goochland County.

“Looking for new markets is huge for us, because we don’t have distribution in many of these states,” says Nelson. That made the collaboration worth it, he says.

The brew will be sold in 750 milliliter bottles, and it has 8.2% alcohol content. That’s tart enough to make even a purist smile.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Actor Daniel Radcliffe Eats at a Richmond Restaurant

The stars, they're just like us.

Posted By on Fri, Sep 18, 2015 at 4:28 PM

Harry Potter, er, Daniel Radcliffe is hitting local restaurants. The first restaurant sighting was last night at Julep’s New Southern Cuisine.

Daniel Radcliffe, and the director and crew of “Imperium,” now being filmed in Hopewell, came for dinner, and were reported to have had shrimp and grits, and fried green tomatoes. According to executive chef Matthew Tlusty, Ratcliffe said that his meal was “smashing.”

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Talley's Meat and Three opens at the Village Shopping Center.

The new restaurant from the owners of Toast features familiar comfort food.

Posted By on Wed, Sep 16, 2015 at 11:48 AM

It’s just another opening night again for Josh and Jessica Bufford. Talley’s Meat and Three at 7021 Three Chopt Road is prepped and ready for dinner when it opens its doors at 5 p.m. “The staff started at 5 a.m. smoking the brisket for tonight,” says Josh Bufford. That would be Cheerwine smoked brisket, folks.

In contrast to the pan-South American cuisine served at the Buffords’ former restaurant in the space, Estilo, the menu at Talley’s will feature familiar comfort fare. You’ll find rotisserie chicken, slow-roasted pork and hamburger steak, plus deviled eggs, a pimento cheese ball and cornbread among the choices. The most interesting thing on the menu? This statement: “Add bacon to anything, $1.”

A soft opening on Saturday night gave the staff and the Buffords a chance to see what worked and what didn’t. They spent the following days working the kinks out.

Asked if he were nervous about tonight, Bufford said no. “It’s simple food for everyday,” he says. “I’ve been eating this food for 37 years.”

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Weekly Food Notes: Farm to Table Dinner, Oyster Recycling + More

Posted By on Tue, Sep 15, 2015 at 2:28 PM

Water awareness: Fifteen restaurants throughout Virginia are participating in the James River Association’s Water for Water campaign, part of its educational program, How Do You River, which runs throughout September. The King of Pops has thrown his frozen treats into the ring, too — try a coconut-blueberry Swedish Fish pop to help Richmonders remember the thing with the rapids that runs right through the city.

Farm visit: Tickets go fast to this one. The Center for Rural Culture is getting ready for its fourth Farm to Table dinner, held each year at Tuckahoe Plantation. On Oct. 11, Dutch & Co. chefs Caleb Shriver and Phillip Perrow will offer a local feast inspired by Richmonder Mary Randolph, author of “The Virginia House-Wife.” Tickets are $125 and benefit the Center for Rural Culture. centerforruralculture.com.

Branching out: Speaking of Dutch & Co., owners Caleb and Michelle Shriver, and Phillip Perrow are planning a second spot, Stroops, in Church Hill at 2709 E. Marshall St., which will serve casual fare.

Bivalve celebration: Oysters are both delicious — raw, roasted or thrown in chowder — and essential. As filter feeders, they’re crucial to the preservation of the Chesapeake Bay. The Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program wants to help the Bay by putting spent oyster shells back in the water. You can help by eating oysters Sunday, Oct. 4, from 2-6 p.m., at the Shell-Raiser’s Shindig at Seven Springs Farm at 6831 Dabneys Mill Road in Manquin. The event will allow oysters to shine from each of Virginia’s seven oyster regions and will be prepared by Metzger Bar & Butchery’s Brittanny Anderson, Walter Bundy of Lemaire, Donnie Glass of Charlottesville’s Public Fish and Oyster, the Executive Mansion’s Ed Gross, Patina Restaurant & Bar’s Mike Ledesma and Joe Sparatta of Heritage and Southbound. Visit shell-raisersshindig.weebly.com to make reservations. Tickets cost from $100 to $175.

Monday, September 14, 2015

A New Coffee Shop Opened in Carytown

Sugar & Twine has taken over the Capital Coffee and Desserts spot.

Posted By on Mon, Sep 14, 2015 at 3:05 PM

There’s been a coffee shop at 2928 W Cary St. since 1979 when Jay Rostov’s Carytown Coffee & Tea Co. opened. It’s had various names and owners since, but the most recent long-running business in that location has been Capital Coffee & Desserts.

That’s changed.

Beth Oristian, who worked with James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Kim Boyce at Bakeshop in Portland, Oregon, has bought the business and changed the name to Sugar & Twine. The shop will soon get a makeover, with new flooring, new paint inside and out and a little reorganization.

Although she has been open since the beginning of August and has digital renderings of the new space’s design in hand, Oristian needs a little help turning those drawings into reality and has launched a Kickstarter campaign to close the gap.

“I'm thrilled to share my craft with you and promise that you'll be able to taste the difference,” Oristian says on the coffee shop’s page. “From hand pies to Danish, cookies to cakes, Sugar & Twine will deliver deliciousness for all to enjoy.”

Here’s a link if you’d like to find out more about the project.

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