Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Richmond Breweries Show Their Stuff at the Virginia Craft Beer Cup Awards

There were plenty of local winners.

Posted By on Wed, Jun 7, 2017 at 2:51 PM

The Virginia Craft Brewers Guild hosted its annual Virginia Craft Beer Cup awards ceremony on Monday, June 5, at WestRock in downtown Richmond. This competition highlights statewide craft breweries and their brews. It’s the largest state competition of its kind in the United States.

This year, 356 beers were submitted in 24 categories from breweries all across the Virginia. The blind-tasting competition was managed by master Beer Judge Certification Program judge Tom Cannon with the assistance of 40 other judges. Breweries were limited to four entries, and outfits with multiple locations could only enter four beers as well.

Winners included Virginia’s oldest craft breweries, such as Legend Brewing Co. and Starr Hill Brewing and some of the newest, including Hammer & Forge Brewing Co. and Heroic Aleworks. Some of the largest, such as Green Flash Brewing and Hardywood Park Craft Brewing were winners, too.

Richmond-area breweries made the city proud, with 10 breweries earning medals in 13 categories. Garden Grove Brewing Co. earned three medals in two categories. Trapezium Brewing Co., Castleburg Brewery and Taproom, and Ardent Craft Ales earned two awards each. Other Richmond breweries taking home medals were Strangeways Brewing, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Center of the Universe Brewing Co. Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery, Legend Brewing Co.and Extra Billy’s Smokehouse and Brewery.

With nearly 200 breweries in Virginia, this list of award-winning beers can help you plan your next trip around the state.

Weekly Food Notes: Lawsuits, Boxed Lunches + More

Posted By on Wed, Jun 7, 2017 at 12:53 PM

You don’t need to worry about going hungry when you visit the Valentine. Fan District restaurant Garnett’s Cafe has opened a second location once filled by Sally Bell’s Kitchen. Garnett’s will continue the tradition of boxed lunches and is now accepting to-go orders for those in a rush. Its hours are Mondays-Fridays from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. garnettsdowntown.com.

Westhampton Pastry Shop is opening a new spot in the former Mixing Bowl space, reports Richmond BizSense. Check this space for news about its opening.

Now, you can get local and organic meals offered by Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market delivered right to your front doorstep. The grocery is now taking orders for gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan sandwiches and wraps, plus drinks and sides. Don’t worry, you carnivores are included, too. ellwoodthompsons.com.

You might remember Frits Huntjens from his now-closed restaurant, 1 North Belmont. Unfortunately, his latest project, Petersburg’s Farmers Market Restaurant & Bar is defunct as well. BizSense reports that the developers of the historic building are suing Huntjens for damages and unpaid rent.

On Monday, June 5, 10 local breweries earned medals in 13 categories at the annual Virginia Craft Beer Cup awards hosted by the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild, including Ardent Craft Ales, Castleburg Brewery and Taproom, Center of the Universe Brewing Co., Extra Billy’s Smokehouse and Brewery, Garden Grove Brewing Co., Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Legend Brewing Co., Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery, Strangeways Brewing and Trapezium Brewing Co. virginiacraftbrewers.org.

The developers of Libbie Mill Midtown are so over Southern Season, which filed for bankruptcy last year and abruptly closed its Richmond store. The busy folks at Richmond BizSense report: “An entity tied to Richmond-based Gumenick Properties, the developer of Libbie Mill, is suing former Southern Season CEO W. Clay Hamner and CFO Brian Fauver for fraud and more than $350,000 in damages over an agreement tied to the store’s lease in its short-lived local location.” Pay the rent, folks, pay that rent.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Weekly Food Notes: Jam-Packed Food Festivals + More

Posted By on Wed, May 31, 2017 at 1:29 PM

Bellytimber Tavern is no more, but fear not! Owner and operator Patrick Stamper says it will reopen as Beauvine in late August. He hasn’t divulged the new concept. “As our city changes, so do we,” he said in a news release. “Our building is in need of some love that demands us to close for a spell and we feel like the time is right to make some significant changes and explore some new ideas."

South Side stalwart O’Tooles Restaurant & Pub is planning another location. “Owner John O’Toole said he’s looking on Midlothian Turnpike near Charter Colony Parkway (in the same center where Martin’s Super Markets is closing a store),” reports the Times-Dispatch, “but he hasn’t signed a lease.” facebook.com/otoolesrva.

Sadly, the first Lidl stores won’t open in Richmond. That honor goes to Virginia Beach and Hampton Roads. Keep your eyes peeled, though -- Lidl will unlock the doors of its three Richmond-area locations sometime this summer. Just not on June 15. lidl.com.

More Korean fried chicken is coming to the Fan. BonChon will open at 308 N. Laurel St. and will be the company’s fourth Richmond-area outpost. The concept isn’t new to the neighborhood -- BB.Q Chicken, also a chain based in Korea, opened in the old Shoryuken Ramen at 900 W. Franklin St. earlier this year. bonchon.com.

Paul Keevil is at it again. The longtime owner of Millie’s Diner, Tio Pablo Taqueria and LuLu’s plans to open a coffee house, Café Clang, this summer at 29 N. 17th St. right in between his two other Shockoe Bottom restaurants. “Clang is somewhat of an extension of LuLu’s,” Keevil is quoted in Richmond BizSense. “The goal was to find a way to make all of our customers comfortable, because we get so busy on the weekends and we want to have another option for them to stay and dine.”

Yaki, a Japanese tavern, is the latest concept from Rogue Gentlemen owner John Maher, and will open Friday, June 3, at 6 p.m., with yakitori-style chicken skewers and Maher’s always creative cocktails. facebook.com/yakirichmond.

You have two festivals and one event to choose from this weekend, but it won’t be hard to hit all three. The Richmond Greek Festival starts Thursday, June 1, and runs until Sunday, June 4 at Sts. Helen and Constantine Greek Orthodox Church at 30 Malvern Ave. And you can get a look behind the scenes right here. greekfestival.com.

The delicious overload that is Broad Appetit actually starts the night before at Off-Broad Appetit. On Saturday, June 3, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m., a plethora of chefs from all over the country will serve their best at Pasture, at 416 E. Grace St., to benefit FeedMore. broadappetit.com/off-broad-2017.html.

Broad Appetit takes over Broad Street between Henry and Adams streets on Sunday, June 4, and more than 70 chefs will be on hand with $3 tasting plates. These dishes are up for awards, so festival-goers will be the real beneficiaries of this annual competition. broadappetit.com.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Weekly Food Notes: Opening, Winning + More

Posted By on Wed, May 24, 2017 at 12:15 PM

And the winner is … Tanya Cauthen of Belmont Butchery! Confronted with grill pans and a pot of boiling water, the butcher was quickly able to jettison any plans she had that demanded an oven and crushed the competition handily on Food Network's "Chopped." Want to know more? Here's a behind-the-scenes account about Cauthen's episode.

The bomb scare that rocked the nation turned out to be a bomb-shaped alarm clock, the Times Dispatch reports. Police cordoned off Daphne Page’s car in the Short Pump Whole Foods parking lot and took her to the Henrico County jail, where she spent the weekend on a charge of the manufacture, possession or use of explosives. She was released Monday, May 22, with the charges still pending.

The Stables at Belmont opened in the old Zeus Gallery Cafe space at 201 N. Belmont Ave. Franklin Inn owner Steve Gooch put Evan Campbell in the kitchen of his new venture that will serve new American cuisine and craft cocktails, along with a wide variety of wine.

Hamooda Shami, owner of Don’t Look Back and the New York Deli, unlocked the doors of his latest restaurant, 11 Months, last week in the old Curry Craft space at 2915 W. Cary St. He describes it as a rotating pop-up. The first theme, Best Friends Forever, will morph into something entirely different by its April deadline next year.

Capital Ale House is planning a new restaurant, Fest Biergarten, in the Woodlake Commons Shopping Center this summer. With an emphasis on beer and the great outdoors, you can expect plenty to drink and charcuterie.

The former Shockoe Steakhouse spot, at 14 N. 18th St., is about to be transformed, Richmond BizSense reports. Minibar Richmond, owned by Ashley Ramsey, will focus on cocktails, but also will serve lunch and dinner. Ramsey plans a July opening.

Friday, May 19, 2017

11 Months Opens in Carytown

Grab your BFF and settle in.

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 4:05 PM

Think of it as a really long pop-up.

The latest concept to hit Richmond is 11 Months, in the old Curry Craft space at 2915 W. Cary St. in Carytown, courtesy of Hamooda Shami, owner of the New York Deli and Don’t Look Back.

This is how it works: There’s a big clock on the wall counting towards 11 months from the opening date, May 17. Originally, that would have been the deadline for the restaurant: Shami was going to close it and then, with the help of Campfire & Co., change the theme, menu and design and reopen a month later. Then he’d repeat the process. That idea has been modified.

“[One] major shift we've made is to make eleven months the maximum time frame,” says Shami. “This will allow us a ton of flexibility on the style of pop-ups we can use in the space, with some lending themselves to shorter time frames.”

The restaurant’s inaugural theme is Best Friends Forever, he says. You’ll see picnic tables and lots of camp- and friendship-related décor. “My favorite element is one small area we've set aside as our ‘friend wall’ where some regulars are getting their photo taken and hung up for the duration of the pop-up,” says Shami.

You’ll see some familiar faces at 11 Months. Nate Gutierrez, co-owner of Don’t Look Back and Shami’s partner in the venture, is at the helm of the kitchen with Justin Croppe. “[They’re] really enjoying the creative freedom the pop-up model provides,” says Shami.

The three sections of the menu delineate friendship. Light fare is dubbed “casual acquaintances” while lunch becomes “legitimate buddies.” Dinner grabs the top spot: “best friends forever.”

And it’s an eclectic mix of dishes.

You’ll find chicken escabeche with arugula, red potatoes and roasted peppers with a quote from Marlene Dietrich: “It’s the friends that you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.” Then there’s the grilled steak with artichoke potato hash and asparagus. An Emily Dickinson quote succinctly punctuates that dish: “My friends are my estate.” Or would you like to try the spicy tuna salad sandwich with capers, jalapeño and a soft boiled egg? After all, “Friends will help you move, real friends will help you move a body,” says novelist Steven J. Daniels.

Former Don’t Look Back Bar Manager Amanda Davis doubles down on the theme with cocktails such as the Buddy System made with Bulleit bourbon, strawberries, basil and rhubarb syrup and the B.F.F.E. — a fragrant concoction of rose-infused vodka, soda water, lemon juice and rose buds.

Originally, Shami was going to launch the same concept at the same time in Charlottesville. “After some thought,” he says, “I realized trying to do this in two locations would be lunacy.”

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A New Biergarten from Capital Ale House for South Side

Put on your lederhosen and lift a stein.

Posted By on Thu, May 18, 2017 at 10:36 AM

Biergartens are hot and the latest, Fest Biergarten, is coming from Capital Ale House later in the summer in the Woodlake Commons Shopping Center. The idea is to strip down the menu to sausages, cheese, charcuterie, sandwiches and big pretzels — simple fare that marries well with beer.

Although indoor seating will be available, the outdoor aspect — the biergarten — will be Fest’s focus. And you’ve probably noticed it already — it’s not hard to extrapolate that the new restaurant’s name is a shortening of Oktoberfest, Germany’s biggest beer party, where outdoor drinking and sausages figure prominently.

You can expect local craft beer, as well as beer from Germany and other parts of Europe. For nonbeer drinkers, wine and root beer on tap will also be available. Owner Matt Simmons wants Fest to be family friendly.

“It’s right on the way home for the thousands of people who live in Woodlake, Hampton Park, the three fox neighborhoods of Fox Croft, Creek, and Fire, Magnolia Green and the many other neighborhoods in the area,” said Simmons in a news release.

“The locals will find this to be a fun, casual place on Hull Street that’s locally owned and not a big chain,” added Simmons’ partner, Chris Holder.

And, for the busy folks homeward bound, Fest's food and beer can be packaged and taken away for a personal beer festival on the back patio.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Lidl to Open June 15

It's the latest shot over the bow in Richmond's grocery wars.

Posted By on Wed, May 17, 2017 at 2:49 PM

Lidl announced that it would open its first U.S. stores June 15. The catch? The discount grocery chain didn’t say which of the 20 planned stores would be first. The rest, Supermarket News reports, will open sometime later in the summer.

“Lidl’s entry promises additional points of pressure to a U.S. grocery market already struggling with overcapacity, slowing sales affected by deflation and price competitiveness threatening profits,” according to Supermarket News.

Richmond area locations include 12151 W. Broad St., 5110 S. Laburnum Ave. and 1311 Mall Drive in Chesterfield.

Let the games begin, Lidl. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Weekly Food Notes: Martin's, Alcohol Shortages + More

Posted By on Wed, May 17, 2017 at 12:25 PM

The original owners of the Crazy Greek have opened the Greek Taverna in the restaurant’s old spot at 1903 Staples Mill Road with the Panos’ family's traditional favorites and a few surprises. You can find more details here.

Brew American Gastropub has been busy. The beer hasn't gone anywhere, but the interior has had a makeover and so has the menu: It emphasizes burgers and a raw bar full of oysters these days.

Mean Bird — until now, only a food truck — has found a permanent home at the old Sticky To-Go-Go spot at 2232 W. Main St. You can expect its signature buckets of vegan fried chicken or actual fried chicken at the beginning of the summer.

Tune in on May 23 to see Belmont Butchery's Tanya Cauthen take on Food Network's "Chopped." She can't tell us how she fared before air time, but let us all pray to the basket gods that her ingredients were kind to her.

Do your local ABC stores' shelves look a little bare to you? Don't panic but it looks like there's a shortage of brown liquor due to "explosive growth." Here's what's going on.

Off-Broad Appetit has announced its chef lineup and $125 tickets are now available to the event the night before Broad Appetit.Net proceeds benefit FeedMore.

The last remaining Martin’s stores that weren’t sold to Publix will close on July 10 and Aug. 2, reports the Times-Dispatch.

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Greek Taverna Is Now Open

Get ready for a menu full of traditional Greek favorites.

Posted By on Mon, May 15, 2017 at 12:28 PM

The Greek Taverna is open at 1903 Staples Mill Road. It’s the latest from the original Crazy Greek owners Kitsa and Greg Panos, along with daughter Toula Panos Suleymanian and her husband Gagik. The family also owns Mama Cucina.

The old space had been completely renovated. “The ambience [is] chic and modern (including a new 12-seat bar), the food is classic homemade Greek overseen by head chef Jonathan Scott,” formerly of Lemaire and the Foundry Grill, Suleymanian said in a news release.

In addition to the Panos’ family’s favorites, the focus will also be on seafood. “My grandfather and mom are from the island of Chios in the Aegean, and my grandfather, George Spanos, owned Byram’s here in the city — well known for its seafood,” said Suleymanian. “He was actually the original founder of the Crazy Greek, so fresh seafood will certainly be a key part of our menu.”

The Greek Taverna’s hours are lunch and dinner Mondays-Thursdays 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. and Fridays-Saturdays 11 a.m.-10 p.m. thegreektavernarva.com.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Weekly Food Notes: More Doughnuts! More Pizza! More Wine!

Posted By on Wed, May 10, 2017 at 12:00 PM

The Times-Dispatch has a story about Sugar Shack Donuts' new Hanover store and the addition of Luther Burger to its shop on Hugenot Road. If you’d like to read more about these and the interesting way that owner Ian Kelley has expanded his company, check out my story, “Sugar Buzz,” from our April 26 issue.

Although chain restaurants aren’t usually my focus, I have a soft spot for Mellow Mushroom. It’s now open at 12121 W. Broad St., in the oft-mentioned GreenGate development, which, in addition, will soon boast the Daily Kitchen & Bar and West Coast Provisions, two outposts of Richmond Restaurant Group’s Carytown restaurants, plus EAT Restaurant Partners’ Red Salt Chophouse and Sushi.

The Athens Taverna is back in the hands of the Giavos family and will reopen under the ownership of Josephine Flemotomos, Johnny Giavos' sister, reports Richmond magazine, after remaining empty for three years. There are plans to update the interior — let's all cross our fingers for new booths.

Top 40 Under 40 winner Chris Davis, owner of Alamo BBQ in Church Hill, is about to open his latest venture, Frontier, in September, Richmond BizSense reports. You can read a little more about the spot in the October 18, 2016 issue of Style.

Nationally lauded Sub Rosa Bakery is pulling out the wine: Richmond magazine reports that it will start selling wine by the glass and bottle on Sunday, May 14. It’s also inaugurating Sub Rosato, a twice-a-month wine bar pop-up with charcuterie from J.M. Stock Provisions.

Sad news: Joe's Inn in the Fan announced on Instagram that one of its longtime regulars and close friend, Albert Biddle, passed away. He was a beloved teacher at Douglas Freeman High School. And if you're a Joe's customer, you may know him by the dish that bears his name -- spaghetti Albert, a scaled down version of Joe's usual mammoth plates of pasta. "He will be deeply missed," the restaurant wrote, "and forever honored by both his favorite booth and his eponymous spaghetti."

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