Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Season’s Eatings

Here’s how to support Richmond restaurants – and your belly – this holiday season. 

Posted By on Tue, Nov 17, 2020 at 1:00 AM

The holidays certainly look different this year. 

As we navigate a world of socially distanced celebrations and Zoom familial gatherings, there is still a mast we may cling to: delicious, locally made food and libations. 

From to-go restaurant specials to festive foodie events, here is but a smattering of the city’s food and drink happenings that are sure to help get you through the rest of 2020. Check them out:

Get it to go

Belmont Butchery has the holiday cheese plates you didn’t know you needed. Choose from the Crowd Pleaser or Cheesemonger’s Choice, the latter for the more adventurous turophiles. 

Place an order by Nov. 20 for your Cajun fried turkey with all the fixins’ from Big Herm’s. You can also start placing orders now through Dec. 20 for your Christmas feast. 

New restaurant and market Blue Atlas is accepting orders for Thanksgiving meals and a la carte items through Nov. 20. It also will have half- and whole-case wine packages available. 

Visit the Brenner Pass online holiday shop to purchase a Thanksgiving feast, wine box or cheese and charcuterie plates. Better yet: Snag all three. 

Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market has a bevy of Thanksgiving options available to order online, including local harvest beef tenderloin, stuffed acorn squash and vegan gravy. 

is now taking orders for Thanksgiving. The $180 meal feeds six and includes a whole smoked turkey, cornbread stuffing, candied yams, cranberry-orange sauce, garlic mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, green bean and mushroom casserole, parker house rolls and pumpkin pie.

Homemades by Suzanne has all – and we mean all – your Thanksgiving needs covered. Choose from breakfast dishes like quiche and ambrosia salad, appetizers like cream of five onion soup and pimento cheese and all the turkey-day dinner entrees and sides your heart desires. 

Order your Thanksgiving meal from Kitchenette through Monday, Nov. 23. Choose from a roasted turkey or pineapple glazed ham, plus a variety of traditional sides. 

Libbie Market is also accepting orders now through Nov. 23 for its holiday pies, turkeys, hams, side dishes and dinner rolls. 

Longoven has you covered for both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. The Thanksgiving menu includes roasted duck, sweet potato rolls and tiramisu. 

Order Mama J’s classics like greens and yams plus turkey and stuffing through Nov. 20. 

Metzger Bar & Butchery’s holiday shop is open through Nov. 19. Order beautifully latticed Thanksgiving pies plus milk bread pull-a-parts and German bier packs.

Mosaic’s Thanksgiving menu is live — place your order through Nov. 23 for a meal that includes delectable choices like herb Dijon crusted bistro beef medallions and smoked Gouda pimento mac and cheese.

Nomad Deli & Catering Co. has holiday-inspired packages. Order a spiral ham, whole-fired turkey and sausage-sage stuffing for your table. 

Place an order for a Thanksgiving smoked turkey dinner from Parterre through Nov. 20. All orders include a 12- to 14-pound bird, plus home-style turkey gravy and cranberry-orange relish and honey butter rolls, plus a choice of four sides. 

Order full meals, a la carte items and sweater-weather cocktails from Perch through Nov. 23. 

Shagbark may have sold out of Thanksgiving suppers, but you can still place orders for local fruits de terre and mer like Edwards of Surry country ham and Chesapeake she-crab soup. 

Local burrito biz Sous Casa is taking orders for Thanksgiving bowls –  the hearty bowls are $4 a piece, and you can order bowls to be donated starting at $3.50. Sous Casa hopes to donate more than 1,000 bowls to local nonprofits this season. 

Spoonbread Bistro has heat-and-eat Thanksgiving packages that feed four to six people and include three entree options: sliced turkey breast and ham, marinated lamb racks and prime rib. 

Taste has an expansive a la carte Thanksgiving menu available as well as a full meal that feeds four and includes an herb-roasted turkey breast stuffed with Virginia apple-sage stuffing, a choice of sides, biscuits and desserts. Order now through Nov. 22

Mark your calendar 

The Jasper is holding Miracle on Cary Street – the to-go version – starting Wednesday, Nov. 18. Miracle on Cary Street is part of the international Miracle Christmas themed cocktail pop-up franchise, founded in 2014 by New Yorker Greg Boehm. While this year folks won’t be able to settle down at Jasper’s bar and sip snowball old-fashioneds in person, you’ll still be able to capture a little cheer with festive bottled cocktails. Plus, patrons can peek inside the bar to check out the holiday decorations – like a festival of lights, on foot. With booze.

Make your holiday themed pop-up bar rounds and head over to Jingle Belle: a Woke Holiday Story for a pumpkin-spiced martini and seared foie gras crostini. The brainchild of Soul Taco, Jingle Belle is open through the end of the year at 700 E. Main St. Book your table online now for indoor and outdoor dining, plus Sunday brunch. 

If you’re looking for a coronavirus-safe space to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Tobacco Co. is now accepting reservations for Thursday, Nov. 26, and Friday Dec. 25. Its menu includes pecan and pumpkin pie, plus a harvest dinner that includes roasted turkey breast or smoked ham and a choice of traditional sides.

Back to The Holiday Almanac

Friday, October 16, 2020

Sip, Stay Awhile

Quirk Hotel’s new signature restaurant, the Lobby Bar, now open seven days a week.

Posted By on Fri, Oct 16, 2020 at 2:28 PM

If the mod, 2,800-square-foot Rooftop Bar is the go-to jewel of Quirk Hotel, the high-ceilinged, ground floor Lobby Bar is slated to become its jazzy heart.

“The funny thing is if we hadn't had the pandemic, I’m not sure if the re-concepting would’ve come around,” says Quirk’s food and beverage director, Morgan Slade. “But it was always an idea that was in the back of everyone's head.”

Five years ago, Quirk opened its doors and its signature restaurant, Maple & Pine. Along with the trendy, ubiquitous ampersand, the restaurant also featured a New American menu with staple items like burrata salad, fancified fried chicken, tagliatelle pasta and duck breast.

“Stylistically, the food was very composed – it was very pretty,” Slade says. “It kind of pushed us into being a special occasion restaurant.”

In a 2016 review of Maple & Pine, Style food critic Matthew Freeman concluded: “Whether you’re here for drinks and some sliders off the bar menu or an extended family brunch, this new Richmond sophistication is sure to find a continuing fan base among out-of-towners and locals alike.”

“We kind of flipped it around a bit,” says Lobby Bar executive chef Felipe Bolivar.

Instead of adhering to the app, entree and dessert model – “not that there’s anything wrong with that,” Bolivar says — the Lobby Bar team pursued a more malleable mode of service with a small-plates-centered menu.

That’s not to say that the revamped signature restaurant doesn’t exude the sophistication of its predecessor. It does. Order a Q75 cocktail made with gin, creme de mure, thyme and sparkling wine and try to not morph into a Bond girl as you raise your shiny flute.

Bar snacks like the shell bean hummus and thin-as-air local sourdough crostini are served in wide, shallow pottery bowls — works of art befitting their Italian Renaissance-style surroundings built in 1916.

But a two-hour fine-dining time commitment is a thing of the pre-pandemic past.

“When you look at the pandemic scenario you ask ‘What is everyone's comfort level?’” Slade says. “And, ‘What is their time commitment going to be? Are they willing to come sit inside for two hours or do they want drinks and bites before they see where the evening goes?’”

For Bolivar – his résumé includes stints at ThallyDC, Iron Gate D.C. and Richmond’s the Roosevelt — cheffing at the Lobby Bar is all about letting the customer dictate their own experience. “It’s the hospitality industry, it makes sense to go that avenue rather than having us decide,” he says.

That customer-driven experience means peace of mind for all eaters, vegans and carnivores alike. The same thought and execution go into each dish, whether you’re hankering for the lamb neck fritters served atop stewed garbanzo beans with spicy chili jus or the vegan-friendly, house-made Moroccan couscous with autumn vegetables.

And yes, Bolivar says, the couscous is gluten-free. “You would never know! It took a lot of effort to make it work, but we’re thinking about everyone’s needs.” The chef himself has a peanut allergy and knows all too-well the woes of dietary restrictions. “Vegan dishes, gluten-free dishes — they’re not an afterthought,” Bolivar says.

Another boon of the Lobby Bar’s varied menu is that it works for the amorphous dining space. Situated – literally – in the lobby, the restaurant’s millennial pink curved booths and long marble bar are part and parcel of the hotel itself.

“It’s a unique space,” Slade says. “Everything is happening at the same time. Before there were these superficial borders – it didn't make sense to have designated spaces in a clearly open area.”

Now, you can order several small plates and a bottle of Nebbiolo for a sit-down dinner or grab an absinthe-infused Modern Day Hemingway to sip in the corner while you read “This Side of Paradise.”

“We want our guests to relax,” Slade says. “There is a lot of stress going on, so we think ‘How do we create a real airy, happy place where people can come and do their own thing?’”

The Lobby Bar’s stress-free environment includes socially distanced tables, disposable and digital menus and sanitizing between seatings. Diners can choose to enjoy their meals inside, or in the spacious outdoor dining area, adorned with twinkly lights, lush, potted plants and now, heaters.

Bolivar notes that the team eased into service with weekend brunch in August. It then tacked on Thursday-Saturday dinner, and as of Monday Oct. 19, the Lobby Bar is up and running seven days a week.

“We basically deconstructed the whole operation and put it back together,” Slade says.

The brunch menu leans lighter – no biscuits the size of your head here. Instead find smoked mozzarella and caramelized onion frittata, roasted butternut squash and quinoa salad and salade nicoise with white-anchovy-wrapped, sun-dried tomatoes.

Don’t worry, Bolivar assures us he and sous chef Anna Schmitt of Iron Gate and Seasonal Pantry will also be whipping up hazelnut-chocolate pancakes topped with whipped cream in case you need to soak up a few too many Q75s from the night before.

Check out the Lobby Bar menus and book your table at destinationhotels.com/quirk-hotel/dining-and-drinks/menus.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Love Language

Self-taught baker Leonda Jiggetts whips up The Sweetest Thing.

Posted By on Thu, Oct 8, 2020 at 9:36 AM

Most would agree that there has been no seminal 2020 moment. The past seven months have been a startlingly painful blur, with mere blips of reprieve – please see the rediscovered solace of at-home baking and Leslie Jordan Instagram videos.

For self-taught Richmond baker Leonda Jiggetts, the former has become “a form of calm and mediation and peace.”

Two years ago Jiggetts, who has a full time 9-to-5 on top of fulfilling custom cupcake and cookie orders, decided to launch The Sweetest Thing after a chance encounter. She had been baking solely for friends and loved ones when someone approached her about a paid gig. Even though that opportunity didn’t pan out, Jiggetts says it lit a fire under her.

“Within days, I was at City Hall filling out paperwork for my business license. … It was the push I needed,” she recalls. “Once I announced [the launch] and started to get the website together, business started rolling in. It has not stopped since.”

Business looks like vegan strawberry shortcake cupcakes, whiskey truffles and coconut macaroons. It looks like late nights fulfilling big orders for birthday parties and holidays and sold-out virtual bake sales benefitting local nonprofits.

For Jiggetts, running a small business means baking and recipe development, sure, but it also means invoicing, marketing and branding. She has teamed with other small, local business owners such as @cocoapariss, which creates specialty charcuterie boxes, and plans on more collaborations in the near future. She says she’s working to develop long-term relationships with other self-motivated entrepreneurs; “it’s not just a one-off kind of thing.”

“Like most people, I’m learning as I go,” she says. “I’m fortunate to have a large group of friends and just about every single one of them has a business, so we are able to support each other.”

Support looks like everything from words of encouragement to guidance on how to apply for certain permits. But Jiggetts’ preferred method of self-soothing looks like banana pudding cookies. “I’ve built my name on banana pudding cookies,” she explains. “I always get the same reaction, ‘What are you talking about?’ My favorite thing is seeing their reaction the first time they taste it.”

With a standout original recipe – a friend of a friend once called and offered to travel anywhere for the cookies – plus a steady customer base, the natural next step is to open her own little sweet corner shop. She’s in talks with a commercial kitchen, which would be an upgrade from her work-from-home situation.

“I started working from home March 13 and I was working at my dining room where I can see right into my kitchen,” she says, laughing. “The days blurred, my computer was always up and I was constantly working.”

She hopes that commercial kitchen experience will launch her – and those lauded banana pudding cookies – into the brick and mortar sooner than later, but she isn’t rushing anything. She trusts the process.

“The endgame is a storefront. When I first started I had a time frame, but God laughs at our timing,” Jiggetts says. “For now, I will continue doing what I’m doing.”

Keep your eyes open for new fall flavors and place your next custom order at thesweetestthingrva.com/order-online.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Balanced Burritos

Newly launched frozen food biz Sous Casa makes a case for heat-and-eat food.

Posted By on Mon, Sep 21, 2020 at 2:03 PM

Jim Hamilton is a practiced sojourner, the kind of chef who is happy to commit to a monthslong, on-the-road-again gig, sating the peculiar cravings of the very rich and very famous. 

He’s cooked for Rod Stewart, Bon Jovi, Katy Perry, and most recently, Phish.

“Phish was pretty easy, we just cooked for the band instead of the whole crew,” Hamilton says.

There haven’t been rock ’n’ roll late night feasts of late, though, due to the pandemic. Hamilton had one final, lavish hurrah – “we did a festival in Mexico in February, which was nice” – and then hung up his traveling toque. Since then he’s turned his culinary attention to an endeavor he’s long wanted to pursue: creating delicious, healthy-ish frozen meals. 

Founded this spring, Sous Casa is currently operating out of Hatch Kitchen, cranking out thousands of burritos, bowls and enchiladas weekly, with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options ranging from mojo pork and jerk chicken to vegan za’atar. 

When Hamilton first launched Sous Casa, he was donating one burrito for every burrito purchased. To date, more than 4,000 burritos have been donated to local church food pantries, the Boys and Girls Club of Richmond and Partnership for Families. With an uptick in orders, Hamilton says while it’s continuing its altruistic efforts, it isn’t able to produce a one-to-one purchase and donation ratio. 

Folks appear to love the idea of convenient, homemade meals that are ready in three to five minutes. And can be delivered straight to your door. 

On a weekday afternoon, half a dozen chefs are preparing enchiladas in Sous Casa’s designated Hatch space.

“We can hold about 3,000 units so we’re just trying to keep that up, we will be at about 2,000 today,” Hamilton says. The chef, who has nearly two decades of experience working at legendary spots like Millie’s and Kuba Kuba, credits Richmond advertising agency Familiar Creatures with the sleek Sous Casa branding – even the individual burrito packets boast a special design. 

“I’m a chef chef,” Hamilton laughs. “I don’t know all the paperwork and logistic stuff.” He’s figuring it out quickly, though, and is more than capable of producing at a high volume. “I was the head chef at Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits, that’s like 2,000 meals at once.”

Orders for your next easy midweek meal can be placed online, and deliveries are made to “pretty much the entire Richmond area” on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Your frozen burrito is made approximately 48 hours before it lands at your door, which, Hamilton notes, is a helluva lot better than say, national brand burritos which could very well survive an apocalypse. 

Place your Sous Casa order today at eatsouscasa.com.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Roll Out

Scott’s Addition gets Lucky AF this fall with Eat Restaurant Partners’ new sushi spot.

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2020 at 2:04 PM

At 3103 W. Leigh St., Lucky AF (Asian Fusion) is set to open for lunch and dinner this fall in the former Aloi restaurant space. 

This will be Eat Restaurant Partners’ lucky number 13 in their impressive roster, and they’re soliciting the expertise of the group’s master chef, Hai Truong, to help realize its vision of a “fresh and fun take on a modern sushi restaurant.”

The Vietnamese chef says he’s been working in the food industry since, well, he laughs, “Maybe ’86 … ’88 … It’s been a long time.” In addition to overseeing the Lucky kitchen, Truong will continue his work at Osaka Sushi & Steak and Red Salt, both Eat restaurants. Lucky’s menu will look very similar to Osaka, Troung says, but the atmosphere will be completely different. 

Where Osaka is a sleek, intimate dining room located in an upscale strip mall, Lucky is a stand-alone, robin’s-egg blue storefront, adorned with hand-painted murals by local artist Brad Bacon. 

It’s got the hip, young feel of a Scott’s Addition joint with the prestige of an established restaurant helmed by an experienced chef. Truong’s sushi is, as anyone who has ever dined at Red Salt or Osaka can attest, divine. From complex specialty rolls like the blue oyster cult – stuffed with fried oyster and topped with filet mignon, spicy mayo, scallion and black caviar – to the simple elegance of the salmon sashimi, Truong’s creations are a sushi lover’s dream. 

Lucky AF has released a few menu teasers on social media including entrees like sesame chicken, beef katsu and grilled lamb rack. It will have happy hour every day from 3 to 6 p.m., with specials on liquor, beer, wine and sake plus a pandemic-friendly patio area and, like Osaka, a separate sushi bar where all the magic will happen. 

The new spot’s top 20 specialty rolls will include the cheekily named Harley Quinn roll with shrimp tempura, smoked salmon, avocado, spicy shrimp, lemon zest, jalapeño sauce and balsamic and the Superman with tempura shrimp, spicy kani and sweet soy. 

Lucky’s lunch box specials will also be very similar to Osaka, and Troung says it’ll have monthly rotating chef’s specials, too.

Truong says that while opening a new concept during a pandemic is not ideal, the group didn’t really have much choice.

“We’ve been paying rent since March!” But if the recent 45-minute wait at Osaka on a weekday evening is any indication of Troung’s devoted following, we think Lucky AF will be just fine. 

Keep up to date with Lucky’s opening by following it at getluckyaf.com. 

Monday, August 10, 2020

Between the Bread

Soul N’ Vinegar and Salt & Forge raise money for food justice with Hanover BLT.

Posted By on Mon, Aug 10, 2020 at 12:52 PM

“We’ve both tried to find different ways to use our resources and platforms,” says Salt & Forge owner David Hahn. Over the past few weeks, Hahn and Soul N’ Vinegar owner Michelle Parrish have teamed up to create an epic summer staple – the Hanover BLT – to raise money for Richmond Food Justice Alliance. For every sandwich sold, they’re donating $1 to the nonprofit. 

The alliance looks to people living in underserved communities to guide its programming, working to ameliorate food injustice across the city. So it’s fitting that a perfectly ripe, locally grown Hanover tomato would be the highlight of this fundraiser. Bounty to create more bounty – Hahn and Parrish have raised more than $500 so far. 

“Our mission is always focused on helping the community through how we do business,” Parrish says. “We’re really blessed to be able to partner with friends like Salt & Forge to be able to contribute.”

The Hanover BLT ($13) features Soul N’ Vinegar’s bangin’ pimento cheese with extra-thick bacon, charred jalapeño mayo and butter lettuce on toasted country white bread. Folks can order the sandwich from Salt & Forge’s storefront or food truck, and for pickup or delivery at saltandforge.com/order. Just don’t go looking for the BLT on Uber Eats or GrubHub, this is a locals-only operation. “We aren’t allowing any third-party apps to make money off of local businesses,” Hahn notes.

Soul N’ Vinegar and Salt & Forge, like other food establishments in the country, have been hit hard by the pandemic. Mentally, emotionally and monetarily taxing, the weight of running a small business and keeping all humans under their care safe can drive many people into the ground. But Hahn and Parrish say they’re just doing what they can, where they can. “As we got into the pandemic and there was this rise in social justice issues, we’re looking for avenues to contribute,” Hahn says. 

Parrish has been an advocate of voter rights and registration, with an #RVA Citizens page on Soul N’ Vinegar’s website dedicated to educating people about upcoming elections. Hahn says Salt & Forge has donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center and works to feed nurses at every hospital in the city. And now it’s funding the work of the folks on the ground, doing the hard labor of addressing deeply rooted systemic inequities. One sandwich at a time. 

Monday, July 6, 2020

Summertime Gladness

Three new restaurants serve up grilled cheese, tacos and pizza.

Posted By on Mon, Jul 6, 2020 at 1:54 PM

Restaurants, breweries and bars are now open if they so choose at half capacity both inside and outside. Three new spots – all less than a month old – are now open downtown, though they’ve been in the works for a while. 

Put your masks on, tip big and check out the newest additions to the Richmond dining scene:

Cheddar Jackson
522 N. Second St.
Open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays for takeout and delivery

Cheddar Jackson owner Brandon Jackson says he knew he wanted to own his own spot when he realized that would be the best way to “try my own weird stuff.” For most of his adult life Jackson has been in the music and media industry, working at places like Sony in New York and freelancing as a content manager and video producer since 2013. He’s a creative through and through, and Cheddar Jackson is very much an inventive endeavor. 

“I was sitting around talking with cooks I knew and I said ‘I wonder what a restaurant with no hood would look like?’”

The ideas started flowing and they landed on a hoodless option: grilled cheese. But not just any grilled cheese — epic grilled cheese sandwiches made for both meat eaters and vegans, with a variety of dipping sauces (yes, you should dip your sandwich!), plus tomato soup. 

Cheddar Jackson was supposed to open in October 2019, Jackson says, but between zoning issues and the pandemic it got pushed back. Serendipitous, though – the delay gave the grilled cheese team time to mull over different sandwiches and their vegan iterations. “Originally it was just the regular sandwich and then the ‘vegan version,’” Jackson says. “But then it evolved so much.”

The restaurateur, who identifies as “mostly pescatarian,” wanted to create a robust menu that would cater to all eaters, so no one was getting the short end of the stick. Cheddar Jackson is sourcing vegan sharp cheddar from Greece because most vegan cheddar tastes like plain old American cheese, Jackson says. And that’s simply not good enough.

He’s going the extra mile, seeking out vegan pesto so vegans can enjoy the shop’s Bella Verde. All its dipping sauces are vegan, and while he has yet to find a good substitute for the sardines on flagship sandwich the Grandpa, you better believe he’s going to keep trying. 

Kahlo’s Taqueria & Bar 
718 N. 23rd St.
Open for lunch and dinner daily, dine-in and to-go

Kahlo’s patio is the immediate draw, though the renovated inside is bright and airy, with a spacious dining room and inviting bar. Owner Iliana White-Padilla has been working on her Church Hill restaurant for more than two years and is excited to finally fill the niche of casual tacos and margaritas in the neighborhood. 

White-Padilla comes from a long line of restaurant owners, and once she got out of corporate America she decided she wanted to try her hand at running her own spot. Kahlo’s is a family establishment, run by White-Padilla, her 20-year-old son and her sister. “It’s definitely been challenging but the community has been really supportive,” she says.

The restaurant is a hybrid of counter and full service. Customers order drinks at the bar – margaritas are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, but for our money we’ll take a medium orange ginger on the rocks – and food at the host station, then take a table number to their seats. During our visit, staff refilled drinks and took orders tableside after counter orders were placed, so you’re never left fully unattended. Munch on complimentary chips and salsa while you peruse the menu of tacos, fajitas, burritos, tortas and seafood platters. 

Hot for Pizza
1301 W. Leigh St.
Open for takeout and delivery, check Instagram for hours 

This funky pizzeria is owned and operated by Herbie Abernethy and Josh Novicki – they also own Cobra Cabana a mere six blocks away. 

Abernethy says while he wasn’t sure if he was ready to open another spot, Novicki is “always ready” and Hot for Pizza was born. The tiny restaurant and bar, like Cobra, is not adhering to any state guidelines, meaning – it’ll open the inside when the owners feel it is absolutely safe to do so. Abernethy says Cobra has “pandemic regulars,” a feat that he values above swinging the doors wide for any and everyone hankering to dine out. 

Hot for Pizza is still in its soft opening phase, with flexible hours depending on demand and oven capacity. Abernethy says they are attempting to install a second pizza oven over the Fourth of July weekend. “The first day was … rough,” he laughs. “It was a disaster. But the second day was better, and the third day was even better.”

The musician and restaurateur says that they chose to pursue pies because the space and the budget just worked. Plus, the staff is “passionate about pizza.” Order specialty pies like Runnin’ with the Basil made with vegan mozzarella, or the Regal Beagle with a pesto base and toppings galore. And once the dining room is open and you can enjoy your Yankee Rose salad in the air conditioning, Abernethy says don’t even ponder a table. Head straight for the bar. 

“I’m going to market this as a pizza pub,” Abernethy muses. “We were working one day and afterwards I sat at the bar, took a big long swig of beer and thought, ‘this is a great place to drink.’”

Friday, June 12, 2020

Sweet Resistance

Richmond Bakers Against Racism joins global fundraiser fighting injustice.

Posted By on Fri, Jun 12, 2020 at 12:21 PM

Brown butter sugar cookies. Japanese cheesecake with plum compote. Oat milk tahini pudding.

It’s sweet resistance, Shola Walker writes in a Richmond Bakers Against Racism Instagram post.

Walker used to own Jackson Ward bakery Mahogany Sweets and is currently the community chef for Shalom Farms. She’s one of more than 40 – and counting – Richmond area chefs and bakers participating in the worldwide June 20 fundraiser, Bakers Against Racism.

“I lean into my heritage, all of the salty/bitter and molasses sweet and I let the finished product speak for me,” Walker writes. “I let it speak for every black woman who has ever set her hands to the fire in kitchens for generations. What I bake tells a story, a long story of southern resistance.”

The international bake sale taking place from Paris to Singapore was started in Washington by Kith and Kin pastry chef and James Beard Award winner Paola Velez. All cities participating in the fundraiser will sell the donated sweets – donations start at $20 – and give the money to grassroots, local organizations of their choice.

When Brenner Pass pastry chef Olivia Wilson and Richmond based food illustrator and baker Molly Reeder heard about Velez’s initiative, they jumped at the opportunity to start organizing. “We’ve been wanting to do something to bring the baking community together,” Reeder says.

They brainstormed the five organizations they wanted to contribute to — Richmond for All (richmondforall.com), Neighborhood Resource Center of Fulton (nrccafe.org), Nolef Turns (nolefturns.org), Richmond Peace Team (richmondpeaceteam.org), and Richmond Food Justice Alliance (richmond-food-justice-alliance.ueniweb.com/?utm_campaign=gmb) – and had a friend whip up a graphic.

“We are so blown away by how many bakers want to get involved – when word got out we had so many people messaging us,” Reeder says.

In addition to Walker, participants include Ben Lee from Sub Rosa, Megan Fitzroy from Longoven and Arley Arrington of Arley Cakes. Reeder says they’ll have vegan and vegetarian options, but don’t count on any one theme in your box – they’ll all be filled with bite-sized portions of the expertly made sweet and savory goods. A handy list will accompany the box, too, so you know what you’re getting yourself into.

Wilson says that beyond the excitement of participating in a global event, she’s just happy that these local nonprofits will finally get a much-needed spotlight – and money.

“A lot of these organizations are run by women and people of color, these are people who have been doing hard work in our communities for a long time and have not been supported,” Wilson says. “I’m excited to raise money for them and introduce them to people, maybe even some of their neighbors, who don’t know they’re doing great, important work. It’s not glamorous – they really depend on community donations and fundraising.”

Preorder your baker’s dozen online at mollyreeder.com/rbar on Monday and Tuesday. Donations start at $20, and orders can be picked up at the Brenner Pass patio from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 20.


Monday, June 8, 2020

Black Restaurants Matter

Here’s how to support African American chefs, restaurants in RVA.

Posted By on Mon, Jun 8, 2020 at 12:25 PM

Barbara Bryan and Sam Campbell will celebrate their restaurant’s second anniversary this September. 

LBJ’s @ Traditionz Smokehouse at 4810 Jefferson Davis Highway, an area that Richmond native Bryan says was lacking in soul food options. The former DuPont employee and part-time caterer says it’s always been her dream to be in the food business, even though it means long hours and constant change. 

“With catering you have a set menu, you know how many people there will be – it’s easy to prepare,” Bryan says. “A restaurant, well, every day is different.”

LBJ’s never closed during quarantine and Bryan says the regulars have been a boon to business. But it also relied heavily on both a lunch buffet and Sunday soul food buffet, which she’s obviously had to nix. She says she isn’t sure when it will reopen for patio or dine-in service: “I’ll be honest. I’m not comfortable with how the situation has been handled – the numbers aren’t low enough for me yet.”

The Virginia Department of Health reported 48,532 coronavirus cases June 5. As of April 29, black patients accounted for 58.3% of Richmond area COVID-19 deaths. In a Business Insider article highlighting the discrepancy between races affected by the virus, Richmond Health District Director Danny Avula said this is due to “decades and centuries of structural inequity.”

Until those numbers go down, Bryan says the restaurant will stick to takeout – LBJ’s is open Tuesdays-Sundays for lunch and dinner. You can order comfort eats like barbecue, pigs’ feet, and liver and onions but Bryan says it’s best-known for fusion soul rolls, stuffed with fried chicken, mac and cheese and collard greens. 

Support the black restaurant and food community beyond the protests:

BLK RVA has done the work for you – its comprehensive list of black-owned restaurants can be found at visitblkrva.com/dining. A few highlights include:

The patio is open at Addis Ethiopian. addisrva.com.

Big Herm himself posts heartwarming Facebook live updates daily about the status of the restaurant (It’s open!) facebook.com/Big-Herms-Kitchen-353099361432572

Brewer’s Cafe is open and has $2 lattes from 3-5 p.m.

Shrimps has daily to-go specials like Fish Friday and Wing Wednesday. instagram.com/shrimpsrva.

Get your wine, tapas and art fix at C’est Le Vin, which just opened its patio. instagram.com/cestlevinrva15

Mama J’s has bottled three of its signature cocktails for to-go.

Spoon Bread Bistro is doing special Father’s Day dinners for pre-order. instagram.com/officialspoonbreadbistro.

Richmond Black Restaurant Experience has created a checklist that you can print and post as a reminder that whatever your cravings, there’s a black-owned restaurant for that. Find the list at vablackrestaurantexperience.com.

And donate to help Richmond Black Restaurants here https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-richmonds-blackowned-restuarants. 

Support food sovereignty for the black community by donating to or volunteering with the following organizations:

Resiliency Garden Initiative, run by Duron Chavis, brings raised garden beds to areas of Richmond with high food insecurity. thenaturalfestival.com.

The Southeastern African American Farmers’ Organic Network comprises farms across 10 states including Virginia. civileats.com.

The National Black Farmers Association is a nonprofit based in Virginia representing black farmers and their families. nationalblackfarmersassociation.org

Friday, April 3, 2020

These Richmond area restaurants are offering to-go food during Covid-19

From gelato to gyros

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2020 at 4:29 PM

It’s the beginning of a new month (somehow) and while the state is on lockdown, restaurants are deemed essential services and there are innumerable options out there offering takeaway and delivery.

Here, you’ll find plenty of American, Italian, and Mexican options, plus Indian, Chinese, fusion and European-inspired cuisine. Cuisine categories and restaurants are ordered alphabetically, with links directing you to the fastest ordering system.

Many places are starting to offer delivery through their own online services or through a third party delivery system (Uber Eats, Door Dash etc.) but some places are still only doing takeout via phone calls. We’re also trying to highlight daily and weekly specials that the restaurants are offering, from deals to guest chefs. Check it out:

This list is being updated. See something missing? Email maryscotthfletcher@gmail.com.


City Dogs
1316 E Cary St.

1309 W Main St.
The Diner at Hull and Genito
11306 Hull Street Road, Midlothian
The Grill at Libbie and Patterson
5724 Patterson Ave.
Highlights: A curbside tent
2527 W Main St.
Hill Cafe
2800 E Broad St.
6010 Hermitage Road
Hot Chick
7 N 17th St.
Joey’s Hot Dogs
4028 Cox Road, Glen Allen
2614 W Cary St.
Laura Lee’s
3410 Semmes Ave.
Liberty Public House
418A N 25th St.
404 N 2nd St.
McCormack’s Whisky Grill
204 N Robinson St.
The Pickle Barrel
12912 Plaza Drive
Rock Falls Tavern
2813 Hathaway Road
Salt & Forge
312 N 2nd St.
Highlights: Dining without the Restaurant
Savory Grain
2043 W Broad St.
Sedona Taphouse
5312 Wyndham Forest Drive Glen Allen
Shore Dog Cafe
435 B North Ridge Road, Henrico
The Tavern
7110 Patterson Ave.
Weezie’s Kitchen
3123 W Cary St.


Baked RVA
601 North 10th Street, Corner of 10th & Leigh; in front of MCV Bookstore
Carytown Cupcakes
3111 W Cary St.
1903 W Cary St.
Sugar & Salt
416 N 2nd Str.
Sub Rosa
620 N 25th St.
2100 E Main St.
Highlights: Easter-themed cakes


Buz and Ned’s
8205 W Broad St.
1119 N Arthur Ashe Blvd.
Deep Run Roadhouse
12379 Gayton Road
309 N Laurel St.
Oak and Apple
1814 E Main St.
The Pitts
2220 Broad Rock Blvd.
Q Barbeque
1070 Virginia Center Pkwy Glen Allen
13800 Fribble Way Midlothian


The Answer
6008 W Broad St.
Bingo Brewery
2900 W Broad St.
Final Gravity
6118 Lakeside Ave.
Legend Brewing
321 W 7th St.
Starr Hill
3406 W Leigh St.


Brook’s Diner
1600 Brook Road
Coco + Hazel
411 North Ridge Road
The Diner
11306 Hull St. Road Midlothian
Fancy Biscuit
1831 W Cary St.
First Watch
Multiple Locations
3205 W Broad St.
Nate’s Bagels
21 S Allen Ave.
River City Diner
11430 W Huguenot Road Midlothian
803 E Parham Road
Rise and Shine Diner
10372 Leadbetter Road, Ashland
Rise Biscuits
11561 W Broad St.


Beauvine Burger
1501 W Main St.
Boulevard Burger
1300 N Arthur Ashe Blvd.
Burger Bach
101 Heaths Way Road Midlothian
2225 Old Brick Road Glen Allen
Highlights: 50% Off all wine bottles; free Burger Bach growler (while supplies last) and 20% off all beer fills
Carytown Burgers and Fries
3449 W Cary St.
5404 Lakeside Ave. Henrico
Jack Brown’s
5810 Grove Ave.
Station 2
2016 E Main St.


Bamboo Cafe
1 S Mulberry St.
Boychik’s Deli
4024 Cox Road Glen Allen
Branch and Vine
2001 ½ W Main St.
Cafe Zata
700 Bainbridge St.
Cask Cafe
206 S Robinson St.
Coppola’s Deli
2900 W Cary
Curbside Cafe
2525 Hanover Ave.
Cuisine a la Carte
5606 Patterson Ave.
Garnett’s Cafe
2001 Park Ave.
Great Harvest Bread Co.
13541 Midlothian Turnpike, Midlothian
Izzy’s Kitchen
2901 Park Ave.
2012 Staples Mill Road
Mojo’s Philadeli
733 W Cary St.
Philly Steak and Gyro
3443 W Cary St.
SB’s Lakeside Love Shack
6935 Lakeside Ave.
Wooden Spoon Cafe
5714 Patterson Ave.


Charles’ Kitchen
9127-C W Broad


Beijing on Grove
5710 Grove Ave.
Fat Dragon
1200 N Arthur Ashe Blvd.
Fresh Wok
5146 Nine Mile Road
Peter Chang
11424 W Broad St.
Tiki Tiki
8917 Patterson Ave.


Black Hand Coffee
3101 Patterson Ave.
Blanchard’s Cafe
3121 W Broad St.
1805 E Grace St.
Little Bean Coffee Co.
1732 Mechanicsville Turnpike
2620 Buford Road Bon Air
Pulp Fiction
5411 Lakeside Ave.
Riverbend Coffee
2623 E Broad St.
Highlights: Discounted coffee beans
1618 W Main St.


Brenner Pass/Chairlift
3200 Rockbridge St. Suite 100
Highlights: Chairlift coffee & pastry drive-thru Sat. April 4 Cafe Rustika
414 E Main St.
European Taste
10604 Patterson Ave.


Chez Max
10622 Patterson Ave.

Fusion + Eclectic

Boka Tako
2557 Sheila Lane
Chicken Fiesta
Multiple Locations
Foo Dog
1537 W Main St.
Noodles & Company
Highlights: For every family meal package purchased, Noodles will donate a regular-sized bowl back to healthcare workers
814 W Grace St.
1601 Willow Lawn Drive
Palani Drive
401 Libbie Ave.
2918 W Broad St.
Highlights: Live streaming dinners and Instagram chef demos
23 W Marshall St.
Highlights: Smash burger pop-up Sat. April 4
Sen Organic
2901 W Cary St.
Soul Taco
321 N 2nd St.
1215 E Main St.
Highlights: Taco kits
Wild Ginger
412 E Grace St. (pickup from Wong Gonzalez)
YaYas Cookbook
11674 W Broad St.


Bell Greek
11360 Iron Bridge Road Chester
11307 Polo Place Midlothian
Carytown Gyro
3459 W Cary St.
Greek on Cary
3107 W Cary St.
1012 Lafayette St.
Sticks Kebob
1700 Willow Lawn Drive


The Daily Kitchen and Bar
2934 W Cary St.
12201 W Broad St. Henrico
Organic Krush
3406 Pump Road Short Pump
Pit and the Peel
1051 E Cary St.
Phoenix Garden
7103 Brook Road
939 W Grace St.

Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt

Gelati Celesti
Multiple locations
Jiji Frozen Custard


Anant Cuisine of India
4348 Pouncey Tract Road Glen Allen
11800 W Broad St.
India K’ Raja
9051 W Broad St. Henrico
15 W Broad
14862 Hull St. Chesterfield


4800 Forest Hill
1319 Midlothian Turnpike

1327 E. Cary St.


Amici de Enzo
36 Broadstreet Road Manakin-Sabot
6221 River Road
9127 W Broad St.
Casa Italiana
8801 Three Chopt Road
Ciao Capri
10478 Ridgefield Pkwy. Henrico
Enoteca Sogna
1223 Bellevue Ave.
3054 Stony Point Road
9010 Staples Mill Road
805 N Davis Ave.
La Cucina
11400 W Huguenot Road Midlothian
Leonardo’s Pizza and Pasta
10833 W Broad St. Glen Allen
4811 Forest Hill Ave.
Mama Cucina
4028-O Cox Road, Glen Allen
Piccola Italy
1100 W Main St.
12506 River Road

Japanese + Sushi

Fighting Fish
912 N Arthur Ashe
Miyabi Sushi
1712 E Main St.
5023 Huguenot Road
Sumo San
1725 E Main St.
Highlights: Health care professionals and first responders get free miso
Sticky Rice
2232 W Main St.
Tokyo Sushi
10274 Staples Mill Road

Latin American

La Bodega
104 N 18th St.


Natalie’s Taste of Lebanon
3601 Cox Road Suite A


6400 Midlothian Turnpike
Ay Caramba
204 E Grace St.
Casa Del Barco
320 S 12 St.
El Cerro Azul
2650 Anderson Hwy. Powhatan
13561 Midlothian Turnpike, Midlothian
En Su Boca
1001 N Blvd.
La Milpa
6925 Hull St. Road
Margarita’s Cantina
101-107 N 18th St.
Nuevo Mexico
3088 Stony Point Road
9550 Midlothian Turnpike
Wong Gonzalez
412 E Grace St.
Wong’s Tacos
201 A Maltby Blvd. Henrico

Modern American

4900 Libbie Mill E Blvd.
Dutch & Company
400 N 27th St.
Franklin Inn
800 N Cleveland St.
Galley Market
2805 Hathaway Road
3119 E Marshall St.
Highlights: Tamale Time Fri. April 3 with chef Zach Garza Mosaic Catering
3001 Cutshaw Ave.
Highlights: $60 family meal
Mosaic Restaurant
6229-A River Road
2132 W Main St. Highlights: 25% off wine
The Roosevelt
623 N 25th St.
1323 W Main St.
Social 52
2619 W Main St.
The Stables
201 N Belmont Ave.
3036 Stony Point
Tazza Kitchen
Multiple Locations
7007 Three Chopt Road
3730 Winterfield Place Midlothian


Assante's Pizza
1845 W Broad St.
Benny Ventano’s
2501 W Main St.
Belmont Pizzeria
602 N Belmont Ave.
Billy Pie
6919 Patterson Ave.
Bottom’s Up Pizza
1700 Dock St.
Brooklyn Pizza Authority
10613 Hull Street Road Midlothian
Extreme Pizza
11653 W Broad St. Henrico
Hop Craft
1600 W Cary St.
Jo-Jo’s Famous PIzza
1201 E Main St.
La Vera Pizzeria
214 Hull St.
7320 Hancock Village Drive Chesterfield
Mary Angela’s
3345 W Cary St.
Pizza and Beer
2553 W Cary St.
1 N Morris St.
10921 W Broad Glen Allen
Superstars Pizza
5700 Patterson Ave.

Pub Fare

The Camel
1621 W Broad St.
Cobra Cabana
901 W Marshall St.
Home Team Grill
1630 W Main St.
Hurleys Tavern
4028 Cox Road Suite J Glen Allen
The Local Eatery and Pub
1106 W Main St.
Uptown Alley
6101 Brad McNeer Pkwy. Midlothian


Ale Wife
3120 E Marshall St.
Highlights: Neighborhood doorstep delivery
Conch Republic
11 Orleans St.
Halterman’s Eatery
109 Commons Park Circle Suite A, Manquin
Latitude Seafood Co.
9216 Stony Point Pkwy
15532 WC Commons Way
320 E Grace St.
SaltBox Oyster Company
1601 Willow Lawn
Highlights: Friday fish fry, Saturday oyster roast
Sam Miller’s
1210 E Cary St.
Stuart’s Fresh Catch
2400 Mechanicsville Turnpike

Soul Food

Ms. Girlee’s Kitchen
4809 Parker St.
17 W Brookland Park Blvd.


420 E Grace St.
Lunch | Supper
1215 Summit Ave.
Maple Bourbon
1116 E Main St.
4901 Libbe Mill E Blvd.


Buckhead’s Chophouse
8510 Patterson Ave.


Bangkok Thai
11 W Hundred Road Chester
Mom’s Siam
2811 W Cary St.
My Noodle & Bar
1600 Monument Ave.
2727 W Broad St.
Thai Diner
8055 W Broad St.
Thai Flavor
4024 D Cox Road Glen Allen
Thai Gourmet
9955-F Kings Charter Drive Ashland


6004 W Broad St. Henrico
Pho 95
1601 Willow Lawn Drive


618 N 1st St.
Barrel Thief
5805 Patterson Ave.
Highlights: add on charcuterie boards
13 W Broad St.

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