Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Weekly Food Notes: Pinball Machines, Richmond Restaurant Week + More

Posted By on Wed, Oct 25, 2017 at 8:09 AM

We've been hearing about these crazy mash-ups of bars and arcades for a long time, and last week, the Circuit turned on the pinball machines and opened its doors in Scott's Addition. There's a wall of beer, wine and cider that you pour yourself, and light fare is offered. Start flexing for a little Donkey Kong and Skee-Ball.

Soul & Vinegar, reports Church Hill People's News, will open in Church Hill at 29th and R streets in March. "Its goal is to provide affordable, fresh, packaged meals to everyone in the neighborhood," according to its Facebook page.

First they were drinking in Williamsburg, and now they're drinking in Richmond. Or at least Adam Theis and Lance Zaal are offering other people beverages. Drink Richmond is now conducting tours daily. "We want to cover all different aspects of craft alcohol," Theis told the Times-Dispatch. "We want to include meaderies, distilleries, cideries and breweries."

Amour Wine Bistro may be still mourned, but it looks like the Broken Tulip Social Eatery will spring up in its place in Carytown next month. There will be communal tables and prix fixe dinners on offer, reports BizSense.

We're right in the middle of Fall Richmond Restaurant Week 2017. Through Oct. 29, more than 30 restaurants will offer special three-course dinners for $29.17. Out of that, $4.17 goes to FeedMore, and the event raised $119,262.66 last year. Restaurants participating include founder Aline Reitzer's Acacia Mid-Town, La Grotta, Lehja and Southbound. For a complete list, visit richmondrestaurantweek.com.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Richmond-Area Breweries to Participate in OktoberForest

Without water, there would be no beer.

Posted By on Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 2:32 PM

If you like your beer, you’d better care about water and forests.

That’s the message of the OktoberForest campaign from the Nature Conservancy and 77 breweries from across the nation — 14 from Virginia, including the Richmond area. Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Trapezium Brewing Co., Triple Crossing Brewing Co. and Väsen Brewing Co., plus Blue Bee Cider will participate. The nonprofit works to address some of the world’s most pressing conservation threats. It protects and conserves ecologically significant land and waters.

Since beer is about 95 percent water and 50 percent of America’s water comes from forests, the connection is clear. Forests protect and improve water by capturing rainfall and snowmelt, filtering out pollutants and sediment, and reducing soil erosion. Yet forests face threats from disease, pests, drought, fire and climate change. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that about half of its forested lands need restoration.

“The importance of water to our industry and the fact that states out west are already dealing with water issues makes the awareness factor that much more important,” says Nate Winters, marketing and environmental director at Väsen. “It starts with awareness, but taking action to protect these important resources is the next step. …We are working toward being a zero-waste designation brewery.”

At its new West Creek location, Hardywood representative Margo Fairchild says, “The property has achieved Certified Wildlife Habitat classification by the National Wildlife Federation, and Hardywood is pursuing Envision Gold rating for the project. The beautiful and diverse ecology has inspired us to incorporate reforestation into the next phases of our development.”

How to Participate

On Oct. 21, from noon to 5 p.m., the Nature Conservancy is participating in Science on Tap at the Science Museum of Virginia. Guests are invited to stop by their display to learn more about the connection between forests, water and beer.

Plus, the OktoberForest campaign’s website includes interactive features linking breweries and environmental issues. The map marks breweries and the health of their surrounding environment. For instance, did you know that 13.51 percent of the James River watershed around Richmond breweries is impaired or at risk? And the quiz also poses thought-provoking questions: Can you guess how many gallons of water it takes to make one gallon of beer?

The website also includes action items, such as contacting your government representatives to support a comprehensive wildfire funding fix to protect American homes, lands and wildlife. Given the fires that are still burning in California, you might want to move that to the top of the list.

Participating OktoberForest breweries have a dedicated page on the Nature Conservancy’s website that highlights their commitment to environmental protection.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Weekly Food Notes: Jerk Goat, Rolled Ice Cream + More

Posted By on Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 12:07 PM

It’s a blow to the West End: Maya Mexican Grill & Tequila Lounge announced on Facebook that it isn’t going to renew its lease at Short Pump Towne Center. Fortunately, the downtown location at 525 E. Grace St. still will give Richmonders the opportunity to enjoy chef and owner Maria Oseguera’s inspired Mexican fare.

It’s a prime spot and Ellwood Tompson’s Local Market locked it down. Come this spring, if you start to feel hunger pangs while tooling around the new Institute for Contemporary Art, the grocery store will have a cafe along the lines of its Create Bar for that. Vegans, vegetarians and I-eat-any-food types will all have something from which to choose.

I was driving down West Cary Street yesterday and almost ran into the car stopping in front of me when I noticed the big, beautiful new Olio sitting on the corner of Cary and Rowland streets right around the corner from its original location on West Main Street. It's founder, Jason Savedoff, sold the naming rights for the business to Todd Butler and Chad Thompson last year.

Matt Kirwan, former Sous Chef at Rogue Gentlemen, is set to unlock the doors of  the Shaved Duck in Midlothian, reports Richmond magazine. Its grand opening is on Oct. 13.

Rolled ice cream? I guess that since I’m so Sweet 95 and Gelati Celesti focused, this trend was off my radar. Richmond BizSense reports that Cold Platform in Short Pump is offering what is sometimes called Thai ice cream: “Cold Platform’s ice cream is made by pouring a base liquid – chocolate or vanilla – onto a surface chilled to less than 0 degrees. Toppings are chopped up and mixed in while the ice cream hardens, after which it’s spread out and scraped into rolls.” I really think that says it all, don’t you?

Michael Ng doesn’t let Second Street languish. BoDillaz at 321 N. Second St. closed at the end of the summer and now a Caribbean restaurant, the Pot, is ensconced in the space that Ng owns. It serves dishes such as curry chicken and jerk goat, reports BizSense.

Merroir, owned by Ryan and Travis Croxton of Rappahannock and Rapp Session, was named the most popular restaurant in Virginia by Zagat and People magazine.

We’re smack dab in the middle of Henrico Restaurant Week, and I suggest you get out there, Richmond. A two-course lunch is either $10 or $15, and three-course dinners can be $20, $25 or $30. The week benefits the Henrico Christmas Mother program — it’ll receive $1 for each lunch and $2 for each dinner. You can check out India K’Raja, the Melting Pot or Deep Run Roadhouse, plus six other restaurants. Reservations, the website says, are strongly recommended.

Friday, October 6, 2017

A Cafe for the ICA from Ellwood Thompson's Local Market

Posted By on Fri, Oct 6, 2017 at 8:00 AM

As anticipation ratchets up for the opening of the hulking yet cool metal-clad Institute for Contemporary Art, Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market has announced another reason to visit the new landmark. This spring, the store will open a cafe that’s kind of a mashup of its Create Bar and the Beet in Carytown.

The juicer will be whirling to produce your favorite raw drinks, and you can also expect sandwiches and flatbreads named after well-known artists. How about a Banksy — tuna salad, tomatoes and swiss cheese on a house-made dill loaf — or perhaps a Pollock — portobello mushrooms with broccoli, artichoke spread and mozzarella on ciabatta? Local coffee, beer, wine and cider will be available to wash it all down. Mike Holland, who comes from the West Coast health industry, will join the Ellwood team as cafe manager.

“Ellwood’s believes that belonging and being rooted to a local place has deep, even spiritual, meaning,” owner Rick Hood said in a news release. “There is nothing like the interweaving of lives and continuity of relationships that occur on the local level. We are excited to partner with VCU to bring our community more access to locally sourced, sustainable, healthy food.”

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Weekly Food Notes: Doughnuts (Always!), Pizza + More

Posted By on Wed, Oct 4, 2017 at 12:39 PM

Anderson’s Neck Oyster owners Michael and Laura Hild have formed Church Hill Ventures, a development company that aims to revitalize old neighborhoods. First up: the Hull Street business corridor. In 2018, look for Hot Diggity Donuts, a made-to-order doughnut shop that will also serve cocktails, beer and wine, and the Butterbean Market & Cafe, a small grocery stocked with staples and a cafe that serves soups, salads and sandwiches.

The big white building on the corner of Cary and Lombardy streets that once housed a gym will open at the beginning of the year as the Hop Craft Pizza & Beer. Owner Evan Byrne, formerly of Richmond Restaurant Group is planning to divide the space between a restaurant space for pizza and a retail operation selling beer.

On a visit to Switzerland, South African native Lynne Potgieter was denied entry when she wanted to come back home to Richmond. The owner of Jackson Ward’s Nettie’s Naturally, a bakery and wholesale operation that specialized in baked goods for people on special diets, had to give up her business and has started a new life in her old country. Still, the story has a slightly more upbeat ending, reports Richmond BizSense. Shola Walker, Potgieter’s assistant baker, has taken over the space at 100 W. Clay St., now renamed Mahogany Sweets, and is planning to offer a similar line of products with a Southern focus — with Potgieter’s blessing.

And don’t forget about the Richmond Potluck and Puerto Rico Relief event at the Anderson gallery on Friday, Oct. 6 starting at 5 p.m. Bring a dish to share, gaze at — or even purchase — interesting student artwork, enjoy a drum circle and maybe prepare a little something on the topic of food for the open mic. Art sales help benefit Puerto Rico, and the Anderson is collecting money and supplies.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Manchester Gets Hot Diggity Doughnuts

Posted By on Mon, Oct 2, 2017 at 2:14 PM

There never can be enough doughnuts. And Church Hill Ventures, owned by Michael and Laura Hild, plans to bring them to Manchester. A recent story on our site detailed the couple’s plans to open the Butter Bean Market & Cafe, and this new spot, Hot Diggity Doughnuts, will be across the street at 1213 Hull St. It’s the second piece of the puzzle that the Hilds are fitting together to revitalize the decaying business corridor of the Manchester neighborhood.

What makes these doughnuts different? Each will be made to order and, even more significant to some, the bakery will serve craft cocktails, wine and beer, along with coffee drinks. Construction will start in just a few weeks and the Hilds plan to open the doughnut shop in the first quarter of 2018.

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