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Friday, March 31, 2017

A New Bakery Opens on Meadow Street

Red Cap Patisserie has found a home for its French-inspired pastries.

Posted By on Fri, Mar 31, 2017 at 11:16 AM

There’s a new bakery opening the doors of an old one. Red Cap Patisserie is taking over the former Lucille’s Bakery at 719 N. Meadow St.

You already may be familiar with its wares. Owner Martine Wladar has been selling her French pastries — most notably, savory tourtieres that she describes as “handheld pastry pies filled with a variety of distinct regional French flavors” — at the Lab at Alchemy and the Farmers Market at St. Stephen’s.

Wladar has an impressive background. She began her career as a pastry chef after culinary school with Jacques Torres at Le Cirque. Other Manhattan restaurant and catering gigs followed, until Wladar, along with her husband, John, moved to Richmond in 2013.

And the name? The pastry chef says that it comes from the hats that 18th-century French revolutionaries wore — the bonnet rouge was a symbol of liberty.

That’s how Wladar sees her goods. Although French-inspired, she also plays around with and expands on the flavors and technique of traditional pastry.

“We wanted to continue building on something rooted in the idea of 'pastry' and 'bakery,'" Wladar said in news release, “but that also provided ample room for us to experiment and offer more unique and nuanced French- and European-inspired items.”

The grand opening event is scheduled for April 15 from 1-6 p.m.

Red Cap Patisserie’s hours are Wednesdays-Fridays 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 719 N. Meadow St., 205-7487, redcaprva.com.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Weekly Food Notes: Korean Fried Chicken and Ice Cream

What more do you want?

Posted By on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 11:39 AM

Another slow week in Richmond — but that means nothing. The dining scene here can skyrocket at any time and probably will.

It announced it was coming in November and now it’s happened: Korean chain BB.Q Premium Chicken opened its doors in the old Shoryuken space at 900 W. Franklin St. The franchise first came to the U.S. in 2015. bbqchickenusa.com.

Bev’s Homemade Ice Cream announced on Facebook that at long last, on Saturday, it’s reopening in Carytown after a devastating fire in the fall. bevsicecream.com.

In other Carytown news, the Times-Dispatch reports that the Good Leaf Salad Market is opening at 2925 W. Cary St. There are few details, but the spot will, in fact, sell plenty of salads. goodleafsalads.com.

Pupatella Neapolitan Pizzeria, of Arlington, is opening in the old Rancho T spot. Why is the entry of a new chain into the Richmond food scene significant? The building at 1 N. Morris St. has a checkered history of failed restaurants. Can the backing of a corporation break the curse? The company is also planning three as-yet-to-be-announced locations in the Richmond area. pupatella.com.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Weekly Food Notes: Secretariat, Sandwiches + More

Posted By on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 2:00 PM

The Valentine History Museum will soon gain Garnett’s Cafe as a partner. The second location of Kendra Feather’s Fan sandwich spot will go into the space most recently occupied by Sally Bell’s Kitchen. thevalentine.org

Idle Hands Bread Co. keeps getting bigger. And for the bakery to keep up with itself, owner Jay Metzler is raising money to buy a new oven that will double its production capacity through a GoFundMe campaign, Richmond BizSense reports. You can check it out at gofundme.com/help-idle-hands-bread-company-grow.

Brookland Park Boulevard has started hopping: Hard on the heels of the news that Boogaloos Bar & Grill will open at 210 W. Brookland Park Blvd. and that Black Hand Coffee Co. is planning a coffee shop on the street to open in April, it appears that Brad Barzoloski, owner of the Lunchonette, will open the doors of Luncheonette Northside in the old Streetcar Cafe space. “Barzoloski said the Northside location will begin delivery and pick-up service within 1.5-miles of the eatery in coming months, and he hopes to open the dining portion by summer,” reports BizSense. luncheonetterva.com.

Willow Lawn’s American Tap Room space is now Hattie Mae's Southern Kitchen. You’ll find Southern standards such as fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, and shrimp and grits. hattiemaeskitchen.com.

Flora, the latest from Pasture and Comfort owners Michele Jones and Jason Alley, will open in the Balliceaux space on Friday with a menu of Oaxacan cuisine. No word on the chapulines yet, but Jones says they’re coming. facebook.com/florarva.

Happenings:

Strada @ Deco, a five-day pop-up at Deco Ristorante, with partners chef Daniel Nutty, Autumn Olive Farms, Early Bird Biscuit Co. & Bakery and Gelati Celesti, is happening right now and will last through March 25. You’ll find tasting menus that include things such as collard green pappardelle with pork ragu, clams oreganata with Calabrian pepper oil, gorgonzola and celery, and sweet potato gnocchi with porchetta and mascarpone meringue. Pop-up hours are Wednesday and Thursday from 5-9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5-10 p.m. decoristorante.com.

The Virginia Horse Festival at The Meadow Event Park is celebrating Secretariat's birthday on Friday, March 24 from 7-10 p.m. with Jason Alley’s Barn Appetit. Guests will dine around Meadow Hall and have a chance to meet members of the Secretariat racing team: Charlie Davis, Secretariat’s exercise rider, Kate Chenery Tweedy, daughter of Secratariat’s owner, Penny Chenery, and Otto Thorwarth, who played the winning horse’s jockey, Ron Turcotte, in Disney’s film, “Secretariat.” virginiahorsefestival.com.

And on Monday, March 27, Metzger Bar & Butchery is going tropical with Hawaiian poke and special cocktails. Iki Kai starts at 5 p.m. facebook.com/metzgerbarandbutchery.

A Second Garnett's Cafe for Downtown

Stop by the Valentine for a Big Daddy.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 11:59 AM

The Valentine will soon gain Garnett’s Cafe as a partner. The second location of Kendra Feather’s popular Fan sandwich spot will go into the space most recently occupied by Sally Bell’s Kitchen.

"We're so excited to get into downtown like this," restaurateur Kendra Feather said in a news release. "The garden is beautiful, and the Valentine is such an amazing Richmond institution — this is a dream."

And it’s a big space — chairs and tables scattered about 15,000 square feet with a fountain and courtyard behind the Wickham House.

Garnett's at the Valentine be open for lunch from 11 a.m.to 4 p.m. Valentine spokesman Domenick Casuccio says there are plans for breakfast and after-work hours in the future. thevalentine.org.

CORRECTION: The Valentine no longer goes by the name Valentine History Museum. The story has been corrected to reflect this.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Ardent Craft Ales Announces Expansion

It will double the size of its Scott's Addition location.

Posted By on Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 10:58 AM

Ardent Craft Ales has bought the Scott’s Addition building that it has rented since opening in 2014. That means the brewery can go ahead with expansion plans that include wider distribution of its beer.

Originally owned by developer Scott Coleman of Crossroads Development, the location at 3200 W. Leigh St. was a storage and warehouse building that dates back to the 1940s.

“We controlled renovation costs and the rental structure to make the building purchase a real possibility,” Coleman said in a news release, “and it’s exciting to see this day arrive for Ardent.”

The size of the property now owned by Ardent doubles the size of the space that the brewery has used for the last three years.

Tom Sullivan, co-owner and director of operations at Ardent Craft Ales, says, “Our decision signifies our intent to remain here long-term and to engage in the neighborhood in a more meaningful way.”

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Weekly Food Notes: Biscuits, Wine + More

Posted By on Wed, Mar 8, 2017 at 1:29 PM

The biggest and saddest news of all was about the fire this past weekend at Rappahannock. The East Grace Street restaurant will be closed until the necessary repairs can be made. You can check in with Rapp Session next door — owners Ryan and Travis Croxton hope to keep it open for the duration. rroysters.com.

Now for the good news: The ever-popular Early Bird Biscuit Co. is opening a second location at 1221 Bellevue Ave. in North Side. People, I can walk to that place from my house. Northsiders were devastated when the bakery moved from its Lakeside location to the Fan almost a year ago. Don't worry, Fan denizens, that spot will remain open. earlybirdbiscuit.com.

It's hopping on this northern side of town: Boogaloos Bar & Grill will open at 210 W. Brookland Park Blvd. — it's also within walking distance of my house — in the fall. "[Owner Nerisa J. Ford's] vision: a small, neighborhood place offering an atmosphere like the bar in the television show 'Cheers,'" reports the Times-Dispatch. My name is Brandon, Ms. Ford. I'll see you soon.

We’ve been waiting for the confirmation and now we have it: Black Hand Coffee Co. has begun roasting its beans over at 15 E. Brookland Park Blvd not too far from Boogaloo's planned location and across the street from the now-closed Streetcar Cafe. The plan is for an April opening. You can expect a patio and food truck events — possibly even beer, reports Richmond BizSense. And never fear, the Patterson location will keep chugging along, as well. blackhandcoffeeco.com.

I received a mysterious Japanese cocktail the other week, and it turned out to be a gift from the folks at the Rogue Gentlemen. Over at 506 W. Broad St., Boka Tavern gave it a real shot before it closed last year, but now Rogue Gentlemen owner John Maher is taking over the space. Yaki, Maher’s riff on the Japanese izakaya — or pub — married with the country’s street food — yakitori — will open in May, reports Richmond magazine. facebook.com/yakirichmond.

And my bad — I don’t know how I missed it, but Burger Bach announced that it plans to move to a bigger space at 3426 W. Cary St. We like to call it “The Bach” in my family, and the joy of garlic aioli on a burger knows no bounds — nor will it even a block away from where it's located now. theburgerbach.com.

Happenings:

It's Black Restaurant Week right now and until Sunday, March 12 — I spoke to one of the organizers, Kelli Lemon, and she gave diners all the information they need to get out there and eat. blackrestaurantweek.com.

The Virginia Wine Expo starts today at the Greater Richmond Convention Center and runs through Sunday, March 12. It’s one of the most wide-ranging Virginia wine-tasting events, and a way to keep up with an industry that sold 6.6 million bottles in 2016, according to Gov. McAuliffe’s office. virginiawineexpo.com.

On Thursday, March 9, you can sample two different French wines with each course of this four-course meal at Amour Wine Bistro. The Dueling Distributors Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. and costs $69. facebook.com/amourwinebistro.

El Balderinos — let’s contemplate that name for a moment. It’s from the consistently wild imagination of the folks at Center of the Universe Brewing Co. On Saturday, March 11, COTU is throwing a St. Patrick’s Day party for a team of folks that will shave their heads — El Balderinos — at the Church Hill Irish Festival. The group raised $15,680 last year with the shave to benefit the St. Baldrick’s Foundation which supports childhood cancer research. cotubrewing.com.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

First Black Restaurant Week Celebrates Key Contributions to the Local Dining Scene

Posted By on Thu, Mar 2, 2017 at 12:00 PM

Gov. Terry McAuliffe invited restaurant owners participating in Richmond’s first Black Restaurant Week to the Executive Mansion last week. And on Monday, Mayor Levar Stoney endorsed the event at a City Council meeting. No big deal.

But it is, of course -- in a city busting at the seams with good food that gets nationally recognized, black-owned restaurants often get overlooked. Three friends -- Shemicia Bowen, Kelli Lemon and Amy Wentz -- decided to do something about it.

“Memphis created the first black restaurant week,” Lemon says, and then news anchor Curt Autry of NBC-12 wondered on Facebook why Richmond didn’t have one.

Lemon, the dynamic host of “Coffee With Strangers,” a weekly video podcast that explores stories about interesting Richmonders and the things they do here, was ready for the challenge. And Wentz knew the organizer of the Tennessee event, Cynthia Daniels.

It was perfect timing, Daniels says. She was ready to expand to a national level and do other events in multiple cities. Lemon and her two friends could plan things locally while Daniels provided guidance out of Memphis.

Until recently, Lemon worked with Jackson Ward’s Mama J’s Kitchen handling publicity and managing catering. “There’s a major divide between black and white resources and education in the [dining] business,” she says.

Black-owned restaurants have shorter life spans, she says. Owners aren’t sure how to market their businesses or find chefs with the skills that diners demand in a competitive marketplace.

And there’s a more central problem -- one that goes deeper than the nuts and bolts of publicity and advertising. Lemon says that the kitchen staff feels that there’s a wide gap between cooks and chefs -- no matter who owns the restaurant. “Most black cooks didn’t go to culinary school,” she says. “They learned on the job. They don’t feel like they can call themselves chefs.”

There’s fallout from this perception. Many don’t think they have what it takes to open their own restaurants. And for those who do, Lemon says, “they might have an idea and get the property, but they don’t understand operational costs, the business side.”

The hope is that Black Restaurant Week, which ends March 12, will help remedy that insecurity.

Bowen, Lemon and Wentz -- all previous Style Weekly Top 40 Under 40 recipients -- started by finding anchor restaurants, including Mama J’s, to attract others, and there are now more than 20 on board.

“Each place will have something unique going on -- radio [broadcasts], live music, whatever they can think of,” Lemon says.

The plan is to offer a lunch special for $15 and a dinner special for $25. Croaker’s Spot, Brewer’s Cafe, Sugar’s Crab Shack, Sweet Teas Cuisine and Spoonbread Bistro are a few of those participating. You can find a complete list at facebook.com/brwrva.

“This is the first time some of them may ever sell out or be at capacity,” she says. “People need to be patient. The goal is to help them succeed.”

But the support goes beyond the restaurants involved. A portion of the proceeds will go to Renew Richmond, a nonprofit that teaches urban farming and health-based strategies in local communities with limited access to fresh food.

The organizers also want to encourage people to step out of their comfort zones and try unfamiliar restaurants. “My goal is to visit every place,” Lemon says. “I’ll be there, so let me know if you need someone to hang with.”

She also wants to see the energy from the week extending long after it’s over. “This is a week that won’t stop.”

Black Restaurant Week runs March 6-12. Lunch costs $15 and dinner costs $25. facebook.com/brwrva or blackrestaurantweek.com.

Editors' note: This story includes corrections to the names Mama J's, Shemicia Bowen and Cynthia Daniels.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Weekly Food Notes: Fried Chicken, Bowling + More

Posted By on Wed, Mar 1, 2017 at 11:54 AM

Saadia's Juice Box and Yoga Bar at 402 1/2 N. Second St., is throwing a party for its grand opening on Friday, March 3, at 6 p.m. You can expect drinks, DJ’ed music, plus burlesque and belly dancers, and acrobatic yoga instructors, which sounds pretty dang exciting. saadiasjuicebox.com.

Oh, Laura Lee's! You know the way to a Richmonder’s heart. Brunch service starts Sunday, March 5. lauraleesrva.com.

In a much-needed course correction, the James Beard Foundation fixed one glaring mistake: It added Sub Rosa Bakery’s Evin Dogu to her brother’s name to its best baker award category. "My sense is that the committee was not aware of the fact that both Evin and I are equal collaborators creatively and in production. I informed them, and they immediately updated the listing," Evrim Dogu said in the Times-Dispatch. jamesbeard.org.

Vegan fried chicken? Don’t run around talking trash about it until you’ve had a bite. Mean Bird Chicken, the food truck that will convince you of its crunchy goodness announced on Facebook that it will move into the old Sticky To Go Go space. No date is set yet, but you can catch the truck one more time, it’ll be at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery tonight and on Saturday, March 3 at Blue Bee Cider. meanbirdrva.com.

Things continue to rock and roll along the Boulevard: A boutique bowling alley is coming to 939 Myers St., reports Richmond BizSense. River City Roll will cost $5 million, have 20 lanes and will serve high-end fare with table service. Is bowling a bit too active for you? The new entertainment spot will offer shuffleboard and Skee-Ball, too.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

"The South You Never Ate" Wants to Tempt People to the Eastern Shore.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 12:59 PM

Clam fritters and Hog Island mutton will be on the menu, but organizers of “The South You Never Ate” event want folks to leave with more than a full belly.

The event on Friday, Feb. 24 at Ker Place in Onancock invites people to experience ingredients and dishes that are unique to the area and are some of the oldest in the eastern U.S. It also aims to whet the appetite for what the Eastern Shore has to offer. That could be jobs as a chef, restaurateur or a vintner, reasons for people to make their homes on the Shore.

One of the brains behind the affair is Bernie Herman, chair of the department of American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He’s also a man with a deep admiration for the Shore, and is there part time in Machipongo. Herman knows the high poverty levels that persist in Northampton County and drive many young people away.

But the county is special when it comes to food, he said.

“The cuisine is every bit as distinctive as the low country of South Carolina and the bayou of Louisiana,” Herman said.

“It’s literally the South you never ate outside of this community. ... It’s an awareness of what makes this place so special. If we could create one job for one person so that one family would not have to leave, that would be something.”

Herman has collaborated with others over the years to research the foods and recipes that are native to the Eastern Shore. Last year, the group held its first event, with chef Amy Brandt creating a seven-course roster for the evening. Brandt has brainstormed another menu, giving this year’s the title “The South You Never Ate: Second Helpings.” It is already sold out.

Several individuals pulled the event together, along with the Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society and the Eastern Shore of Virginia Foodways Project. Five “supper scholarships” will allow five students interested in the culinary arts to attend. Money raised from the night will go to the historical society.

The five-course menu reads like modern twists on old Eastern Shore cookbooks, or tweaks to long-ago talks around a battered kitchen table.

One course includes family-style lattice-top oyster pie with pan-fried black twig apples. Another pairs Hog Island mutton roast with spoon bread. (Hog Island sheep were indigenous to the area, as were Hayman sweet potatoes, which will go into the bread.)

The foods will be enjoyed with wines from Chatham Vineyards on the shore.

Another organizer is Heather Lusk, whose family began HM Terry Co. Inc. in 1903; it continues to grow oysters and clams.

She’s a native of Willis Wharf and left for college, worked in corporate law and then returned home six years ago.

Her father, she said, encouraged her to leave – temporarily.

“He said there’s always a place for you here, but you need to go away and get some experiences for you to bring back here.”

Now she wants others to see the unique place she calls home.

“We want to give people a sense of place in a place that’s not historically ripe for opportunity,” she said. “We’re not going to reach hundreds of people, but if we can reach one or two people, that’s large.”

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Weekly Food Notes: It's All About Cookies

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 12:34 PM

This year, L’Opossum’s David Shannon won chef of the year at the Elbys, Richmond magazine’s restaurant awards, and his restaurant took home the prize for restaurant of the year, while the former Pizza Tonight, Nota Bene, was named best new restaurant. richmondmagazine.com/restaurants-in-richmond/elbys.

The 2017 Virginia Wineries Association’s Governor's Cup went to the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon made by the Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards in Hamilton. The Virginia Wine Board describes it as "a full-bodied wine with well-balanced acidity. It is aged in French and American oak and expresses notes of dark cherry and coffee. ... Clove and tobacco notes add complexity and extend through the finish." virginiawine.org.

Cookies are the center and we all revolve around them: Richmond BizSense reports that Hero Cookies, stared by Air Force veteran and local firefighter Andrew Parsley has reached its goal on Kickstarter. He bakes gluten-, dairy- and egg-free cookies with organic coconut oil and coconut sugar for his mail-order business and donates 10 percent of sales to help families of veterans. Just last week, Barbara Corcoran of “Shark Tank” tweeted, “Looking good, Hero Cookies!” herocookies.us.

And Red Eye Cookie Co., Richmond’s cookies-and-milk delivery service, opened a second store in Charlottesville in the spot formerly occupied by Campus Cookies to bring University of Virginia students the fuel they need to keep going during those all-nighters. redeyecookie.com.

Publix Super Market plans to build another store at Brandy Creek Commons, a shopping center still in development on Mechanicsville Turnpike. It’ll bring the total to 12 stores in the greater Richmond area for the Florida-based company. publix.com.

Happenings:

There’s more cookie news: On Thursday, Feb. 23, from 5-9 p.m., Buskey Cider will pair its wares with five different varieties of Girl Scout cookies provided by Troop 4905. I can’t even believe it’s Girl Scout cookie season again — it’s one of the happiest times of year. buskeycider.com.

Rapp Session is going full Mardi Gras from Friday, Feb. 24 through Wednesday, March 1. It’ll be crawdads all the time, Rappahannock Oyster Co.’s newest bivalve, dubbed Rochambeau, plus gumbo, étouffée and king cake. It’s a little homage to the space’s old owner, Louisiana Flair. You can bet I’ll be bellying up to the bar to grab a Hurricane pretty much all weekend long. rroysters.com/restaurants/rapp-session.

Skip lunch and dress up for Zest Fest, FeedMore’s annual gala, on Saturday, Feb. 25, starting at 6 p.m. at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Just a few of the chefs you can expect include Sara Ayyash of the Jefferson Hotel, Frances Lewis’ private chef J. Frank, Velma Johnson of Mama J’s Kitchen and the Boathouse and Casa Del Barco’s Corey Sheldon. feedmore.org.

And don’t forget Lady N’awlins Cajun Cafe’s annual celebration of Fat Tuesday, where the the Louisiana fare will overflow from 2 p.m.-2 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28. ladynawlins.com.

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