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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Cultish Richmond Brewery The Veil May Be Coming To Norfolk

Posted By on Thu, Aug 16, 2018 at 3:15 PM

The Veil may be coming to Norfolk.

Excitement about the Richmond brewery occupying the old Norfolk Chop House space on Colonial Avenue has been mounting after a meeting of local business owners and a social media post by the Veil itself. Though small, the two-year-old brewery has an outsized reputation, inspiring fevered devotion among beer fans.

Its presence there would significantly raise the profile of beer in Hampton Roads.

Veil president and co-founder Dave Michelow did not deny the Veil is expanding to Norfolk. But he also declined to confirm it.

The brewery posted an Instagram story Wednesday showing the former chop house building at 2314 Colonial Ave. Emojis with a thinking face were placed over the photo, with a GIF of a woman dancing in front of the building. The post has since disappeared.

Immediately, speculation flared on social media.

The plans were also discussed at a Railroad District Business Association meeting last week by the developer Monument, an attendee and a colleague of attendees both told The Pilot. Tom Dickey, a principal with Monument, said that the building is under contract to 2314 Colonial Norfolk LLC, and any development is contingent on city approval. He declined to comment further.

The Veil is already in the process of opening a second location in Richmond. But their renowned head brewer, Matt Tarpey, has strong family and professional connections to Hampton Roads. He was raised in Chesapeake from the age of 12 and has called Norfolk his hometown. His first brewing job was at O’Connor Brewing in the city’s Park Place neighborhood, less than half a mile from the Chop House building.

On the heels of New Realm's Virginia Beach opening in September, a Norfolk brewpub from the Veil would be another feather in Hampton Roads' beer cap. Even outside Virginia’s borders, the Veil is the subject of fervor bordering on the cultish.

Each beer released by the brewery is met with the kind of dedication usually reserved for Beyonce tickets. Every Tuesday at 4 p.m., fans line up outside their brewery in Richmond's Scott's Addition neighborhood with lawn chairs and coolers, waiting hours for their chance to buy a limited allotment of Veil four-packs. Some drive more than three hours for the privilege.

There's reason to believe that even a small brewpub in Norfolk would draw beer tourists from outside Hampton Roads looking to sample the Veil's new and limited-batch releases. Of the top 50 Virginia beers ranked on beer-lover site Beer Advocate, 14 are brewed by the Veil.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Chef John Maher Returns to the Stove at Rogue

Posted By on Tue, Aug 14, 2018 at 1:00 AM

Self-proclaimed old man John Maher is back in the kitchen after a six-year hiatus from cooking.

"I'm 36," Maher says. "That's like 50 in chef years."

Standing on a hard floor for 16-hour days makes his feet ache, but Maher's eyes light up when he talks about running the kitchen at Rogue, the restaurant he and his parents opened as the Rogue Gentlemen in 2014.

Maher grew up in Powhatan, and briefly considered studying architecture before realizing he didn't want to sit behind a desk all day.

He embraced his culinary career with serious panache. After earning a culinary degree from Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island, Maher took his first cooking job under chef Thomas Keller at the French Laundry in California. The famed Michelin three-starred restaurant has trained top chefs the world over, including Grant Achatz, Richard Blais and Rene Redzepi.

In 2005, Maher and a few other Laundry alumni left to help open a nearby Sonoma restaurant. For the next few years he bounced around the globe in typical chef fashion, cooking at renowned restaurants in Germany and San Francisco, plus others in New York, Washington and a tropical resort in St. Vincent. He returned to Richmond in 2012 to settle down and open Rogue.

Maher never intended to cook in his own restaurant.

"I wanted that ownership role," he says. "I wanted the restaurant to succeed with a greater vision than just me being the chef."

In San Francisco, Maher had developed an appreciation for the emerging mixology trend of bringing a chef's sense of flavors to cocktail blending. He opened Rogue partly to introduce Richmond to the concept, and promptly won an Elby award for best cocktail program in the city.

With powerhouse Will Longoria running the kitchen at Rogue, Maher focused on management, which included launching and cooking at the short-lived Japanese restaurant Yaki. Maher cooked a single pop-up night at Rogue late last year, offering the classic French food he was trained to cook.

When Longoria gave notice this spring, Maher was confident that Rogue's brand was solidly established and decided the time was right to get back to the stove. He returned July 6.

"I was really excited to cook again," he says. "I can introduce my modern French food to the city."

Like most chefs, Maher has deeply held beliefs about how certain dishes should be prepared. The cooking rules have, sometimes literally, been beaten into the heads of every chef who has worked in a serious kitchen. Maher is particularly passionate about the technique behind his pâtés, foie gras mousse and roasted meats.

"Classic French is ingrained in my soul," Maher says.

He means not only French technique, but the training. Maher is now the mentor, teaching his novice crew the way he was taught at the French Laundry. He is supported in the kitchen by sous chef Tyler Cartwright.

"Teaching is the most fun part, so far, of being back in the kitchen," Maher says. "Showing Tyler techniques I know, it's neat having someone who cares and wants to learn."

Maher has come full circle. Or, as the French say: "Plus ça change. …" S

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Scott’s Addition restaurants Brenner Pass and ZZQ both receive accolades from national food and drink publications

Posted By on Tue, Aug 7, 2018 at 1:00 AM

Accolades Adding Up
Last week, Food and Wine magazine gave a considerable nod to Richmond, naming the recently opened ZZQ the best barbecue in Virginia. In the article, "The Best BBQ in Every State," David Landsel writes:

"Really, what isn't Richmond suddenly extremely good at? Add Texas-style barbecue to the list of musts in this food-mad town with the spring debut of ZZQ, in the excellence magnet otherwise known as the city's Scott's Addition neighborhood. Don't be fooled by the impressive venue — partners (in business and in life) Chris Fultz and Alex Graf might have had some help getting to where they are right now, but this isn't just some corporate joint, capitalizing on a trend, this is the real deal. Fultz and Graf started small, impressing first one small group of lucky folks and then another, with their backyard pop-ups — some time later, we're now here, and here is — well, it's delicious."

There's something ironic about naming a Texas-style joint the best in a state that claims Southeastern barbecue as its own, but hey, we'll happily add it to an ever-growing list of Richmond accolades.

A few days later, we find out that Brenner Pass is among Bon Appétit's top 50 nominees for America's best new restaurants for 2018. It's certainly not the first time owner and chef Brittanny Anderson has gotten national attention — earlier this year she was nominated for a James Beard Award, and she competed against Alex Guarnaschelli on the Food Network's "Iron Chef America."

Timing is Everything
Carytown Burgers and Fries owner Mike Barber broke a lot of hearts last year when he announced that the restaurant's flagship location would close due to the termination of his lease in the Richmond Shopping Center. Burger devotees have been asking about the next step for months and we finally have an answer: The owner recently purchased the soon-to-be-empty Nacho Mama's building at 3449 W. Cary St, a mere few hundred feet away, across the street. Nacho Mama's, a margaritas and nachos staple of Carytown, recently announced it is closing Aug. 31.

The beloved burger joint will stay open at the original location through mid-September, and reopen in its new home by the end of that month.

Boka's Bringin' the Barbecue
Last year, Boka Tako Bar and Boka Grill owner Patrick Harris quietly added Momma's Barbecue to Richmond's food truck scene. And now you can order a couple tacos with a side of coleslaw, or a smoked pork sandwich with some chips and queso, all under one roof.

As of a couple weeks ago, the full Mama's Barbecue menu is available at Boka Grill in Forest Hill. Most popular, Harris says, has been the roasted jalapeño Cuban: a sandwich featuring smoked pork, Dijon mustard mayonnaise, pickles, onion, jalapeños and a "fried cheese skirt" of cheddar and jack. The menu also features a double split sausage sandwich, a breakfast burrito, collard greens and a barbecue bucket featuring mac and cheese, beans, corn, slaw, pork and cornbread.

He's also got something new up his sleeve these days, and we'll keep you posted as we learn more.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Cider Classes, Chez Foushee Expands and More Food News

Posted By on Mon, Jul 30, 2018 at 1:41 PM

Firsthand Fermenting
The pros at Blue Bee Cider are offering a class for people interested in creating their own hard cider. Tickets, available online at Eventbrite, cost $30 per person and all ingredients and equipment will be provided. It's only open to 30 participants, so grab your ticket before they run out.

A Little Lunch
Monroe Ward's Chez Foushee has been a Richmond favorite since the late '80s, and the white-tablecloth restaurant changed hands in December. A few weeks ago, owner Whitney Cardozo added Little Chez Deli and Cafe at 203 N. Foushee St. Open 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, the deli offers a selection of baked goods, coffee and tea, sandwiches, wraps and salads. Boxed lunches featuring sandwiches with either chips, potato salad, a cookie or a dessert bar are also available.

Celebrate in Style
August is Virginia Craft Beer month, and what better way to kick it off than a festival at a Virginia-focused museum? The annual BrewHaHa Virginia Craft Beer Festival is this Saturday, Aug. 4 at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, formerly the Virginia Historical Society. For $30 you get a commemorative tasting glass that you can fill as many as eight times with three-ounce pours from 10 breweries and two cideries, plus access to food concessions and live music. For an extra $10, VIP ticket holders get to attend the Battle of the Brews — four Richmond-area breweries created a lemon beer using a historic recipe dug up from the archives, and the first 250 people to claim tickets get to sample each one.  The contest begins at 4:30 p.m. and the general festival opens at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at virginiahistory.org.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

ZZQ's Barbecue Named Best in State By Food and Wine Magazine

Posted By on Wed, Jul 25, 2018 at 2:20 PM

Food and Wine magazine has named a Scott's Addition restaurant, ZZQ, as one of the best barbecue spots in the country, naming it to an "all-stars" list.

In the article, "The Best BBQ in Every State," David Landsel writes:

Really, what isn't Richmond suddenly extremely good at? Add Texas-style barbecue to the list of musts in this food-mad town with the spring debut of ZZQ, in the excellence magnet otherwise known as the city's Scott's Addition neighborhood. Don't be fooled by the impressive venue—partners (in business and in life) Chris Fultz and Alex Graf might have had some help getting to where they are right now, but this isn't just some corporate joint, capitalizing on a trend, this is the real deal. Fultz and Graf started small, impressing first one small group of lucky folks and then another, with their backyard pop-ups—some time later, we're now here, and here is—well, it's delicious.

Also try: Virginia and barbecue go extremely far back, even if the scene has done less than it might to distinguish itself in modern times. In Fredericksburg, stop at the classic Allman's, while in Petersburg, you have King's, around since the 1940's, serving up oak-smoked top round, chicken, and pulled pork shoulder.

Now you're making us hungry. If you haven't tried it yet, ZZQ is located at 3201 W. Moore St. and is open Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Food News Roundup

Posted By on Mon, Jul 23, 2018 at 1:58 PM

Summer Eatin'
Last week, the new restaurant-bowling-alley hybrid in Scott's Addition rolled out its summertime menu. See what we did there? The new seasonal offerings at River City Roll include crispy chickpeas, jerk chicken wings and the Gutterball pizza with fig jam, caramelized onions, kale, goat cheese, balsamic, black pepper and lemon zest.

Groceries on the Go
Shopping at Kroger just got a little easier. The grocery chain launched its Scan, Bag, Go technology in several mid-Atlantic locations, including our very own Willow Lawn store. The system allows you to use a wireless, handheld scanner to scan and bag products in the aisles as you shop. Once it's time to pay, you can either run your card using the mobile app or hop in the self-checkout line. According to a news release, Scan, Bag, Go will become available in other Richmond-area stores "in the future."

Will Travel for Rum
Looking for something different to serve at your next cocktail party? Consider a trip to Fredericksburg for a bottle of Virginia rum from A. Smith Bowman Distillery. It's a bit of a drive, but this limited, exclusive spirit is part of an experimental series and is not likely to hit the shelves again. Bottled at 114 proof, known as navy strength, it packs a punch and it's described as having "hints of molasses and slight caramel notes with a hint of floral and tropical fruit in the background." As the experimental series progresses it also will include vodka, brandy and gin.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Ironclad Coffee Roasters Opens Cafe in Shockoe Bottom

Posted By on Tue, Jul 10, 2018 at 2:52 PM

As of yesterday morning, there’s a new spot in town to get your morning cup o’ joe. Ironclad Coffee Roasters, which has been roasting beans and selling them online and to local shops since 2016, opened its first brick-and-mortar cafe this week.

Located in an old firehouse at 1805 E. Grace St., the new coffee shop is rustic and cozy, with exposed brick, a tufted sofa, seating in the upstairs loft and a garage door that opens up the whole space when it’s nice out. The coffee menu is straightforward, with plenty of iced options (like a nitro cold brew) to get us through these heat waves. Goodies from local bakeries like scones, cupcakes and croissants are on display, and dairy alternatives like oat milk make the lattes perfectly vegan-friendly.

Through Thursday of this week the hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., and starting Friday they’ll extend to 6 p.m. Co-owner Ryan O’Rourke says a grand opening celebration on Friday will begin with an 8:30 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony, plus free coffee and some “sweet treats.”

Friday, July 6, 2018

At Long Last

After years of pop-ups, Longoven makes its brick-and-mortar debut in Scott’s Addition.

Posted By on Fri, Jul 6, 2018 at 2:42 PM

“It’s still sinking in,” Patrick Phelan says.

Phelan, his wife Megan Fitzroy Phelan, and Andrew Manning opened Longoven last Thursday for the first weekend of service after years of pop-ups, location searches and nearly giving up altogether.

“It’s just been adrenaline, and get it all done,” Phelan says. “We’re hoping maybe over the July Fourth break we get a chance to reflect on it.”

Opening their own space has been a long journey, but in many ways the work has just begun. The team has set the bar high for themselves, aiming to create Michelin-level decor and service to match the exceptional food. Manning and Patrick’s confident, creative cooking and Megan’s meticulous pastry work have already garnered national attention: as a pop-up, Longoven was named one of Bon Appetit’s best new restaurants of 2016.

The new brick-and-mortar dining spot, designed by Fultz and Singh architects, has understated but rich furnishings on par with Michelin-starred restaurants such as Chicago’s Alinea, Minibar in DC and Momofuku Ko in New York. The on-trend open kitchen invites diners to watch the chefs at work, while the servers cover the 62-seat space in coordinated teams.

“The main difference between this and the pop-ups is service, service, service,” Phelan says. “The pop-up is a shot in time. You’ve bought a ticket, and if wine isn’t poured great, you tend to accept these things. In the restaurant, we have to make that spot on every time. It will take a tremendous amount of training.”

Phelan says the crew intentionally suppressed reservations for opening weekend so as not to stress the staff.

“We wanted to concentrate on the experience, taking it slow and getting it right,” he says. Likewise, the opening menu was designed to be easy to execute by a new kitchen team, still learning to work together.

Like Longoven’s series of pop-ups, the streamlined menu is arranged in order of flavor, with lighter and smaller dishes at the top, and stronger, bolder plates listed at the bottom. Diners can choose dishes a la carte for $11-28, or order the multi-course tasting menu for $110.

Each dish is titled by its three main ingredients. The “asparagus, blue crab, egg” dish on the summer menu combines the crab and asparagus atop an asparagus custard dusted with nori-cured and grated egg yolk. It’s a complex, layered, and bright explosion of perfect spring flavors, and the plating is Instagram-gorgeous.

“Success, to me, will be us having some level of stabilizing, emotionally,” Phelan says. “We’ve existed in the chase for so long that it’s been hard to transition. It hasn’t really dawned on us yet that this thing has taken flight. I’d like to get to the point where we can enjoy the arrival of this stage. Then we can really transition into what Longoven can be.”

Longoven

2939 W. Clay St.

Tuesdays through Thursdays 5 - 10 p.m.

Fridays and Saturdays 5 - 11 p.m.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Chock Full

For World Chocolate Day, a roundup of local chocolatiers.

Posted By on Thu, Jul 5, 2018 at 3:42 PM

In the pantheon of high holy days for food lovers is World Chocolate Day on July 7. True chocoholics, of course, subscribe to the “every day is chocolate day” mantra, but for this one summer day, the rest of the world acknowledges it along with the devoted. As columnist Dave Barry put it, “Your hand and your mouth agreed many years ago that, as far as chocolate is concerned, there is no need to involve your brain.” And while technically you could celebrate with a Hershey’s Bar, why settle when a Richmond chocolatier can supply you with locally-made food of the gods? A chocoholic would call that a no-brainer.

Taylor Made Chocolate

Beginnings: Opened in November 2017, owners Steve and Kim Taylor invested his 401(k) retirement to launch the company as a platform to improve people’s lives.

Goals: The Taylors set out to produce high quality chocolate that improves the lives of cocoa farmers, helps restore the environment and makes customers happy. To accomplish that, they start with beans sourced from fairly paid farmers in Haiti and craft their artisan chocolate in small batches. They also donate profits to human trafficking survivors in Richmond and human freedom projects in Haiti.

Best part of the chocolate business: “Watching people’s faces when they try our artisan chocolate samples for the first time,” says president Steve Taylor. “Also, seeing the good we’re bringing to cocoa farmers in Haiti as well as victims of human trafficking in Richmond.”

Availability: Taylor Made Chocolates can be found at For the Love of Chocolate in Carytown, at the 241 E. Hundred Road factory store in Chester, and online at tmchoclate.com.

Chocolate Cravings

Beginnings: Chocolate Cravings started in 2007. “I began with making peanut butter and buttercream balls and giving them out to family and friends at the holidays several years before I started my business,” says owner Cathy Churcher. Before long, people started asking her to make them available for sale, so she took her talents to the next level by attending the Ecole Chocolat, a professional school of chocolate arts, to become a chocolatier. She also traveled to Costa Rica to visit cocoa plantations see the process up close.

Goals: To provide the best quality chocolate for her customers at a reasonable price. Creatively, she seeks to work with customers to create custom chocolate flavors. “I consider my chocolate an affordable luxury,” Churcher says.

Richmond favorites: Besides smoked almond sea salt and ginger cardamom barks, the most popular treats are brownies available at Urban Farmhouse and Market. Chocolate dipped caramels are another local favorite, while at a Williamsburg farmers market, it’s her boozy truffles featuring Bushmills and Wild Turkey that get scooped up first.

Availability: Chocolate Cravings treats are on the shelves at For the Love of Chocolate, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Little House Green Grocery, Emerson's Wine and Cheese and Churcher’s shop at 6929 Lakeside Ave.

Chocolates by Kelly

Beginnings: Founder Kelly Walker Wombold launched the business in 2009. She began making chocolate around her regular job by converting an extra room in her house into a candy kitchen. Both her great-great-great uncle Al and great-grandmother Mabel were candy-makers. Wombold learned from Mabel’s daughter Mary when she was 19. “Carrying on our multigenerational family tradition of chocolate-making was something I was proud to do,” Wombold says.

Goals: Wombold started her business during a deep recession. “I really hoped to bring a little light and a little sweetness to folks during a particularly trying time,” she says.

Richmond favorites: Custom flavors and textures, custom shapes and bespoke chocolate molds allow an individualized chocolate experience. “I guess you could say that everything we do is most popular,” she says. “Sure, you can come in and get made-from-scratch caramels, truffles in 20 different flavors and juicy liquor cordials, but you can also bring me an idea.”

Best part of the chocolate business: Chocolate brings together people who might never meet otherwise, providing opportunities to meet people from all walks of life. It also provides an outlet for her self-described “insatiable need to be creative and to teach.”

Availability: Pick up Chocolates by Kelly at her shop at 11800 W. Broad St., suite 2320. Assorted boxes are available at Perk Bon Air, the Outpost or at chocolatesbykelly.com.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Courthouse Creek Cider’s new Scott's Addition tasting room opens Saturday.

Posted By on Fri, Jun 29, 2018 at 9:32 PM

Go ahead and add another stop to your Scott’s Addition booze tour. Locally-crafted cider flowed Thursday night, and after a second soft opening on Friday, Courthouse Creek Cider’s new urban tasting room will open to the public at at noon on Saturday.

“We wanted something that was going to be an extension of the farm,” says Eric Cioffi, who co-owns the Goochland County farm cidery with his wife, Liza. “We don’t do a heavy amount of distribution, and we prefer more intimate, direct contact with the consumer.”

Located at 3300 W. Broad St. in the former Sea Dream Leather building, the tasting room will always have “at least five ciders on tap for flights.” Cioffi says that will typically include at least two traditional, or “just apple” ciders, a hopped variance and an infusion of some sort. There will also be a “cherry on top,” which, much like a shandy or a radler, will feature a fruit juice poured over a traditional cider. Small-batch, seasonal ciders will also make their way from the farm to the cheerful-looking purple building. Locally-made Mountain House Honey is available for purchase at the tasting room, along with goose, duck and chicken eggs from the Cioffi family’s farm. Freshly-grown produce may also be for sale throughout the growing season.

One of the ciders currently on tap (and available by the bottle) is the Samurai Sour. This pale pink Asian-pear-and-apple cider infused with coriander, hibiscus and sea salt is funky and not too sweet, and the flavor is reminiscent of a gose combined with kombucha. Cioffi recommends pairing it with spicy or fatty foods. For something a little more classic there’s the much dryer, sparkling, bottle-conditioned Rustico.

Virginia is now home to more than 20 cideries, and Cioffi says producers and consumers alike are still learning and defining cider’s role in the world of craft beverages. Whether it’s sweet, sour, fruity or dry, it seems there’s a cider for just about every occasion.

“The beauty of cider, and what makes it distinct and something different from beer and wine, is that it can act like both,” Cioffi says. “You can dry-hop a cider and have it be reminiscent of an IPA, or you can drop in some grape skins and have it really act like a very dry white wine sparkler. That’s the beauty, in my mind, of cider.”

Courthouse Creek Cider RVA

3300 W. Broad St.

Tuesdays through Thursdays 4 - 9 p.m.

Fridays 4 - 10 p.m.

Saturdays noon - 10 p.m.

Sundays noon - 7 p.m.

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