The Main Course: A Valentine Museum Restaurant Competition

Minority-owned business winner gets free rent for two years in the Valentine Museum.

The Metropolitan Business League in partnership with the Valentine Museum, the Richmond Black Restaurant Experience and Hatch Kitchen RVA, have announced a competition to apply to be the next food vendor/restaurant tenant in the Valentine. The grand prize winner gets its first two years at the Museum rent free.

The winner also receives a “Richmond Black Restaurant Experience Membership, a complimentary membership with the Metropolitan Business League, a strategy session with Big Spoon Co., an interview with Richmond Magazine and more.”

According to a press release:

“Small business owners interested in applying for The Main Course: A Valentine Museum Restaurant Competition can submit their application Monday, Nov. 30 – Friday, Dec. 4 via the Metropolitan Business League website at Eligibility requirements include the submission of a 60 second pitch video, verification of having been in business for at least two years and confirmation of the business being located within the Richmond Region (City of Richmond, Chesterfield County, Henrico County, Hanover County). The Richmond Region Community will also have the opportunity to select the “Community Choice” award by voting via the MBL website, Monday, Dec. 7 – 9. The Community Choice winner will receive a complimentary one year membership to the Metropolitan Business League and a Richmond Black Restaurant Experience membership, designed to promote economic diversity while celebrating Richmond’s best food fare.”

The Main Course – A Valentine Museum Restaurant Competition from Bleu on Vimeo.

“Many people talk about the need to help minority-owned businesses, but the Valentine Museum actually puts forth action to meet the needs,” says Floyd Miller, President and CEO of the Metropolitan Business League in a release. “Their action is a testament to the caring nature of our community and how vitally important it is to lend a helping hand during a very critical period … It is one example of leveling the playing field for minority businesses and giving them the opportunities for sustainability and growth. I am encouraged that other people and businesses will follow suit.”

The panel of judges is set to include: Ted Ukrop (developer, Quirk Hotel & Board of Trustees, The Valentine), Connie Hom (CEO/ president of Buckingham Greenery, Inc. and board of directors, the Metropolitan Business League), Chef Mike Lindsey (chef and owner of Lillie Pearl), Eileen Mellon (food editor of Richmond Magazine), Kevin Clay (president and founding partner of Big Spoon Co.) and Shemicia Bowen (co-founder of Richmond Black Restaurant Experience). They will determine the winning entry between the two semi-finalists that will cook off at Hatch Kitchen RVA and present their final dishes to the judges at the Valentine Museum on Monday, Dec. 14 to determine the final winner, according to the release.

The competition is open for entries from Monday, Nov. 30 – Friday, Dec. 4. The winner will be announced Monday, Dec. 14. Official rules and entry criteria can be found at


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