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Destination Meals 

At Supper Club in Tuckahoe Shopping Center, the prepared foods are selected with a chef's personal touch.

click to enlarge Supper Club was opened by Carlisle Bannister, former chef at Upper Shirley Vineyards, and his wife Christy, in May of this year at 417 N. Ridge Rd. in Henrico.

Scott Elmquist

Supper Club was opened by Carlisle Bannister, former chef at Upper Shirley Vineyards, and his wife Christy, in May of this year at 417 N. Ridge Rd. in Henrico.

On a recent warm Wednesday afternoon, as I was checking out at Supper Club, a new specialty foods market in the Tuckahoe Shopping Center, I complimented the clerk at the register on her scarf.

She clarified it was for warmth, not fashion.

“Chef keeps it cold in here, you know, because of the butcher counter. The meat and seafood need to stay fresh,” she explained. As a South Carolina-raised gal with thin skin myself, I sympathized and recommended my favorite brand of undershirt.

Despite the chill in the air, though, Supper Club has a warm and welcoming vibe. Opened by Carlisle Bannister, former chef at Upper Shirley Vineyards, and his wife Christy, in May of this year, the small storefront has the feel of having stepped into a chef’s personal larder and being offered a pick of the wares. Cold cases filled with housemade prepared foods, shelves lined with local finds and gourmet pantry staples, baskets of fresh bread and baked goods, and premium meat and seafood all point to someone who takes seriously the business of feeding people.

click to enlarge Closed on Sundays, Supper Club's normal daily hours run from 10 a.m.  to 7 p.m. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • Closed on Sundays, Supper Club's normal daily hours run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Bannister’s inspiration, an Anthony Bourdain quote, hangs in the kitchen: “Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go.”

With four generations of family in the restaurant business, and deep roots in Lebanese culture, it’s no surprise that these words would ring especially true for Bannister. Even when relatives discouraged him from pursuing a culinary career, he says he never questioned that it was meant to be.

A self-taught chef, he worked as a caterer for many years before connecting with the proprietors of Upper Shirley Vineyards in 2014. He signed on as a partner at Upper Shirley and worked as head chef there until the pandemic hit and they were forced to pause operations. With the restaurant landscape in a state of uncertainty, Bannister saw an opportunity in prepared meal delivery and started Chef Carlisle Dinners. The demand for his meals continued even as the pandemic was lifting, and as a long-time resident of the Tuckahoe neighborhood, he recognized a need in his area for a specialty foods market.

click to enlarge SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist

Bannister envisions Supper Club as a destination for prepared foods, but also a showcase for small local growers, makers and artisans. He makes a point of getting to know them personally, and takes pride in introducing their products to the customer. Montana gold breads are tucked in baskets next to Rainbow Trout granola and Three Sisters cheese straws, while Hubs peanuts share a shelf with Blanchard’s coffee and Navy Hill soda+tonic. Local cheeses fill the charcuterie case, along with cured meats and olives, and favorite wines, pasta and olive oils line the shelves between cold cases.

click to enlarge Located in Tuckahoe, Supper Club offers "a selection of quality butcher cut meats and seafood, southern fried chicken, and chef-prepared meals."
  • Located in Tuckahoe, Supper Club offers "a selection of quality butcher cut meats and seafood, southern fried chicken, and chef-prepared meals."

The prepared food selections highlight Bannister’s affinity for modern Southern and Mediterranean cuisines, reflecting his Lebanese roots and central Virginia upbringing, but the options are varied and one gets the impression he cooks what he likes to eat. Stuffed grape leaves perch in the “Provisions” cold case next to tomato pie, deviled eggs, sausage balls and housemade pimento cheese. The “a la carte” shelves on a given day might be filled with pork barbeque, squash casserole, and mashed sweet potatoes, alongside sesame noodles and crispy orange chicken.

It’s your lucky day if the Thai Brussels sprouts are available- buy twice as much as you think you need. Those looking for a full meal should head to the “Chef’s Table,” where the hungry can take their pick from mainstays like shepherd’s pie, beef stroganoff, prime rib, miso-glazed salmon or a customer favorite, chicken piccata. Fried chicken is available for special order, and less hearty appetites can snap up lighter fare like a Southwest cobb, chicken Caesar or Greek salad.

click to enlarge Supper Club's Melissa Shaia. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • Supper Club's Melissa Shaia.

The main attraction, though, if you’re judging by prominence (and thermostat setting), is the meat. Spelled out in bright bistro lights, the Butcher counter is impossible to miss and you wouldn’t want to. This is a carnivore’s wonderland with hard-to-find cuts like hangar and flat iron from industry standard Braveheart beef, custom ground burgers and sausages, Wagyu hot dogs, and a beef stew kit complete with fresh herbs and ready to pop in your slow cooker. Foodies will appreciate specialty ingredients like the housemade stocks (lamb stock, anyone?), compound butters, duck fat and frozen marrow bones. Seafood selections are a point of pride too, with fresh offerings like Eastern shore oysters, tuna from the Carolinas and killer ready-to-eat crabcakes.

As Julia Child wisely reminded us, “a party without cake is really just a meeting,” though I’d argue a good pie or cookie will do the trick, too. Thankfully, there are enough sweet treats to choose from here to ensure that anyone’s party gets off the ground. Bannister sings the praises of their in-house baker whose decadent creations include chocolate whoopie pies, pillowy chocolate chip cookies, a divine salted peanut butter date pie, and a giant oatmeal cream pie that is worth a drive across town.

Susan the baker is just one of the many Supper Club employees that Bannister says he is grateful for: “I work with amazing people. I’m a really lucky guy.”

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