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RiverCity November / December 2017

LEGACY Of The First Emperor:














William J. Davis, Jr.


Cheryl T. Davis


Steve Cook


Jacqueline Murphy ASSISTANT EDITOR


Michael Lay


Ryan Hooley


Joey Wharton



Jimmy Davis


Steve Cook, Dave Masucci, Joey Wharton, Josh Young CONTRIBUTORS


Zach Brown Tom Gresham Denise Johnson Davy Jones Whitney Kiatsuranon Jody Rathgeb


In This Issue 02

FINDING A GOOD WAY HOME Interview with Sid Kingsley








From Broad Street to Local Eats



Carytown’s Enduring and Evolving Charm


Legacy of the First Emperor of China



International Dishes


About Our Cover:

Our River City cover celebrates the upcoming Virginia Museum of Fine Arts exhibit “Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Chinese Emperor. The terracotta army was created to accompany the emperor, Qin Shihuang (r. 221–210 BC), to the afterlife. The exhibition features ten majestic terracotta figures, including a cavalry horse, among 130 works that tell the story of China’s birth and one man’s lasting imprint on a nation.

RiverCity magazine is published bimonthly by Advertising Concepts, Inc., 6301 Harbourside Drive, Suite 100 Midlothian, VA 23112 P: 804-639-9994 E: ONLINE // SOCIAL GENERAL // EDITORIAL INFORMATION

Contact Us! E: All rights reserved. Any reproduction in whole or in part of any text, photograph or illustration without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. All articles and contents of this magazine are not necessarily the opinions or thoughts of RiverCity magazine, Advertising Concepts, Inc or the publisher.


Finding a Good Way Home An Interview with Sid Kingsley by Davy Jones with photos by Joey Wharton


id Kingsley has a voice that will stop you in your tracks. And he’s just getting started. Kingsley grew up in a small town in Southeast

Virginia called Branchville. “Nothing to do except start fires and play music,’’ he recalled. “I’m grateful for it now. I hated it when I was a kid. ‘Oh there’s no kids to play with. There’s nothing to do. I’m gonna go listen to records and play music.’ And that’s what I did.” After studying at Chowan and Radford universities, and a stint in New York City that included his first live performance, Kingsley moved to Richmond in 2013. This past May, Kingsley released Good Way Home – an album that combines original compositions, covers and traditionals in a stunning swirl of keys, horns and strong, soulful singing. It’s earned him acclaim around town, and local stores are regularly asking his label, the nascent American Paradox Records, for restocks. It’s the kind of debut that makes you wonder, “How am I just hearing about him?” I had the opportunity to explore that mystery by chatting with Kingsley at Cary Street Café, which happens to be where he met American Paradox founder (and guitarist for standout Americana group The Congress) Scott Lane.

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“Singing is totally a newer thing for me. It’s even newer than the piano, because I was definitely just playing piano and not singing at all. Super-bashful about it. I haven’t tried to emulate anyone vocally. Saxophone – I used to try to emulate Charlie Parker, Joshua Redman. But with my voice, I just sing. This is what I sound like.” Sid Kingsley 3

How did you connect with American Paradox? I was playing “Moonshiner,” and Scott was in the audience. I wasn’t used to his approach because he [asked], “Do you want to come over to my house and play me some songs?” I knew who he was because of The Congress, [but] I didn’t really know what it was for. In the back of my head, I [thought] “What do you want? What’s your angle here?” Finally he [said] “Okay, this is what I’m doing. I’m starting a record label...” You could tell he’s the kind of guy who does stuff – who does what he says he’s going to do.

What was the process of recording Good Way Home like? How was working in Lane’s home studio? We would go in there very relaxed, because it’s his living room. It’s his house. We’d make some tea… It was very organic. None of it was forced, and I never felt like we were rushed… when I had time, when he had time, I would go over there, and we probably knocked it out in a month. But the days we were in there, it was all focus… straight up drinking tea and just working. It felt really good. Just super-productive. The covers you do on the album feel inventive in how they depart from previous versions. What’s your approach to interpreting songs? If I cover a song, I don’t like doing [it] the way it’s already [been done]. I guess that’s a jazz, blues tradition. You never hear a standard the same way twice. And folk music in general – it’s up for interpretation and making it your own… especially with the John Prine tune [“Sam Stone”] and turning that into a minor tune. Because it’s such a sad song. Of course John Prine, with his wit, does it with major keys and makes it sound not as depressing, but those words are ridiculously depressing. I [thought] “Okay, let’s change that up.” I’ve read that your first experiences playing music involved learning the saxophone by listening to jazz records. That was my whole childhood. My dad was a musician, but he always had great music. I remember hearing Maceo Parker on James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good).” I had just started playing saxo-

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phone, so I remember learning that lick. Then getting into big band stuff, like Glenn Miller, Jimmy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Chick Webb and all those people… And my dad was in a Dixieland band, so I heard a lot of Pete Fountain. He brought me home an album by Joshua Redman. On that album, he plays “I Got You (I Feel Good)” on saxophone – an instrumental version. “Who is this guy? Who is this guy into?” Then I got into Sonny Rollins, then it was John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon and all those guys… I was really late to the rock game and to the folk game. What made you want to switch to the keys as your primary instrument? I got disillusioned with the whole college thing, and that’s when I started [concentrating on] piano… I holed up in a room in my friend’s basement and practiced every day. It was just an intense focus. I really had no direction. It was just something I needed to do. “I’ll just stay down here and practice and something good is going to come from this.” Not really an ambition thing. It was something I felt like I had to do. It was in my system, and I needed to get it out. I saw you’re participating in the upcoming recreation of The Band’s Last Waltz concert at The Camel. Which parts will you be playing? I’m in the house band, and I’m singing “Ophelia.” Everybody’s singing on “The Weight.” “I Shall Be Released” – I’m doing a verse on that. We sat down and [talked about] what musicians would we like to come in and sing on what songs… I feel like we did a good job of putting people in songs that they would crush in. It’s interesting you’re singing “Ophelia,” given that I’ve seen your voice compared to Levon Helm’s. I’ve seen that a few times… People assume that I’m influenced, and I’m trying to emulate some of these [singers]. Singing is totally a newer thing for me. It’s even newer than the piano, because I was definitely just playing piano and not singing at all. Super-bashful about it. I haven’t tried to emulate anyone vocally. Saxophone – I used to try to emulate Charlie Parker, Joshua Redman. But with my voice, I just sing. This is what I sound like. You can catch Sid Kingsley at The Camel on Nov. 16, opening for Cory Branan, and on Nov. 17, as part of Richmond’s Last Waltz. He’ll also be at The Broadberry on Dec. 4, opening for Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers. 5



From Broad Street to Local Eats by Whitney Kiatsuranon


ichmond is famous for its plentiful, vibrant murals. Look up and around and you’ll notice paintings adorning the sides of buildings, electrical boxes and even splashed across the exterior of water towers. And now local restaurants are getting in on the action. Mijas Cantina, My Noodle and Bar, Yaya’s Cookbook and Margarita’s all feature murals by one artist making his mark on Richmond. Billy Croson has painted more than 29 murals in these four eateries alone. While he specializes in murals, Croson also accepts commissions for paintings of any size and of just about any subject. “If you can think it, I can paint it,” the artist says. In the past two years he has sold more than 500 paintings in the community. Croson’s approach to murals goes beyond paint by incorporating his own hand-cut stencils — each unique to the artwork commissioned by the patron. Past works include stencils of Lucille Ball, Marilyn Monroe and Batman. You can see Croson painting live on First Fridays in the Arts District at 17 East Broad Street. Find him online on Facebook as Billy Croson, #billypaint on Instagram or email him at Croson is passionate about his art and is always up for a new challenge. “It’s all about the reach,’’ he says. “I would love to see my artwork go worldwide.”

Billy Croson finishing up his mural at Mijas Cantina.

Photography by Ashley McCormick 6 RiverCity

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It’s all about the reach, I would love to see my artwork go worldwide. Billy Croson

Billy Croson used his own unique hand-cut stencil to create this painting of Marilyn Monroe. 7

VIRGINIA MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS — November 18, 2017 to March 11, 2018

TERRACOTTA ARMY Legacy of the First Emperor of China by Zach Brown

ore than 2,000 years ago, after the death of the first Chinese emperor, a 38-square mile necropolis was constructed around his tomb. It included an underground army of nearly 8,000 unique, life-sized terracotta warriors. Now, Richmonders can get an upclose look at 10 of the soldiers from Nov. 18 through March 11 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts new exhibition, Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China.

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Though you may not know his name, the story and works of China’s first emperor echo through time. During his reign, Emperor Qin Shi Huang unified the splintered Chinese Kingdoms under the Qin dynasty and ordered the creation of what is now called the Great Wall of China. Paradoxically, the Emperor’s search for immortality may have killed him since he regularly drank elixirs containing mercury. After his death, an entire underground city was constructed as part of his mausoleum and guarded by the terracotta soldiers, their chariots and horses. The mythic necropolis was undisturbed until 1974 when Chinese farmers discovered the great tomb while digging for a well. Known as one of the most important archaeological

finds of the 20th century, the terracotta army has fascinated archeologists and historians for decades. The VMFA offers two audio tours of Chinese weapons, ceramics and ornaments dating as far back as 1046 BC, in addition to sculpted sentries of Qin Shi Huang. Since the completion of the VMFA’s expansion in 2010, the museum has acted as host to popular historical and cultural art exhibit, such as Visions from the Congo, Hollywood Costume and Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb. With the Terracotta Army exhibit, the museum promises to delight Richmonders and tourists once again with this view of artifacts and statues crafted over 2,000 years ago. The VMFA will also host an Archaeology Forum on Feb. 2, which will allow museum visitors to hear from scholars and archeologists from both China and the United States. Don’t miss your chance to walk through history and see the terracotta embodiment of the immortality of Qin Shi Huang. Admission is $20 for the general public and free for VMFA members.

Facing page: Kneeling Archer; Tiger, Sprint and Autumn Period (770–476 BC) This page, clockwise from top left: Armor, Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC); Ritual Bell, Spring and Autumn Period, Duke Wu of Qin (697–678 BC); Armored General, Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC); Cavalry Horse 9

The Silver Whisperer by Steve Cook

Alvaro and Caroline Coronado.

lvaro Coronado speaks gently, quietly: “Come on. Don’t break. Keep coming.” He’s talking to silver and, no, I don’t mean the Lone Ranger’s horse. Alvaro is a master in what is becoming a lost art: filigree. His story is an interesting one. As a young boy he was working in a jewelry shop in his native city, Medellin, Colombia. “I was sweeping floors,” he recalls. It was a job that he says allowed him to earn enough for food. But Alvaro was not just sweeping floors. “I took every opportunity to look over the shoulders of the jewelers, one of whom was skilled in filigree.” Filigree is the art of taking very fine strands of silver and gold and weaving them to create delicate ornamental designs. It’s an art that 10 RiverCity

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has fascinated Alvaro since he was nine years old. His fascination led to persistence. The jewelers would elbow him to keep him from discovering their secrets. But he kept coming back, learning more and more. Even at the age of nine he had begun to create his own filigree jewelry. After finishing high school, Alvaro served in the military, becoming a Colombian naval officer. After that, he took a variety of odd jobs in order to support himself. “For about six months I was homeless, sleeping on park benches or on the beach,” he tells me. Eventually, he obtained work in a hotel but in his spare time he was making and repairing jewelry in a small garage, which was both his home and his shop. In 1985 he met Caroline. Her work as a tour guide had taken her to Cartagena and to the hotel in which Alvaro was employed. He admits to being immediately smitten with her beauty and took the initiative in pursuing her. “I didn’t know that he was living in a garage with only a partial roof over it,” Caroline says. However, that reality did not dampen the love that grew. In that same year, 1985, the couple married and after a short period of time, moved to her home on Long Island, New York. Alvaro went to work in a jewelry shop. Eventually, in order to afford his own shop, the couple moved to Wilson, North Carolina. It was on a train ride between Wilson and New York that they “discovered” Ashland. One day they decided to get off the train to take a walk through the picturesque town that they had seen though the windows of the train on several occasions. That was in late 1994. On New Year’s Day, 1995, the Coronados moved to Ashland.

Photos: Dave Masucci

Alvaro began to build a reputation locally as a creative, talented jewelry designer. Recently, after more than 50 years, Alvaro has returned to the art that had fascinated him as a young boy. To succeed at creating filigree jewelry, one has to have tremendous patience as well as amazing skill. “You also have to have a passion for it,” Alvaro says. During a recent visit to the couple’s home and studio in the heart of Ashland, both Alvaro and Caroline explained to me the painstaking process that results in his exquisite filigree jewelry – designs that are so intricately woven that it baffles my mind trying to imagine how anyone can create something so beautiful and so delicate. It all starts with silver nuggets which are heated and placed in a mold to create an ingot. Alvaro then works with the ingot, flattening it, pulling it, reducing the silver bar down to a long thread of silver that ultimately measures about the width of a single strand of hair. Caroline describes the process as Alvaro pulls the silver through a series of draw plates that allows him to reduce it to the width needed. As she gently holds the elongated string of precious metal, moving further and further away from her husband, Alvaro pulls it through the plates, whispering, “Don’t break, don’t break. Come on. Don’t break.” Once he has his thread of silver, Alvaro then coils the strand into the desired ornamental shape. Of course, just having a design in mind is not enough. “Each piece has to be both beautiful and functional, ” Caroline says. “That means,” Alvaro says, “that I have to be both an engineer and an architect.” He explains that in addition to creating the design, he has to engineer a structure that will allow the jewelry to actually function as something that can be worn. Next comes the hard part. As Alvaro begins to create, starting with tiny silver frames to hold the filigree, he must ever so carefully solder each piece. This is where the entire design can go up in smoke…literally. Alvaro makes the sizzling sound of a piece of silver that’s been melted with a soldering iron. “That’s where everybody messes up. It becomes a nugget…a beautiful nugget, but a whole week wasted,” Alvaro says in explaining what happens when too much heat is applied to the filigree. He works slowly and patiently. He says he developed that patience as a child. “When you worked in the jewelry shop, they fed you breakfast, lunch and dinner,’’ he recalls “If I went slowly, I could come back the next day and they’d feed me again.” Today, Alvaro does commissioned work for his clients, which include other jewelers. His creativity, his skill and his passion have earned him a reputation as a master of what may one day become a lost art. But for now, it’s an art that can be found in his modest Ashland studio. It’s an art that won’t be lost as long as Alvaro Coronado continues to whisper to his silver. To learn more, visit or phone 804-752-7788. 11 11

International Dishes Photo: Josh Young

Little Mexico

1328 W. Cary St.; 804-525-4216; With Little Mexico coming up on its ten-year anniversary, it’s worth exploring what makes this Mexican hotspot so fun and successful. The restaurant caters to large parties and the menu will surely satisfy everyone in the group. The smoky shrimp in the recently added Chipotle Shrimp Tacos pair beautifully with the house-made cilantro crema. While the food alone is worth the trip Little Mexico might possibly have the best margaritas around.

Dishing on the Dish: Their Chipotle Shrimp Tacos dish features three soft corn tortillas with sautéed shrimp, red cabbage, avocado, queso fresco and cilantro crema served with black beans.

Photo: Josh Young

Les Crepes

3325 W. Cary St., Richmond; 804-355-2038; Fernando Lozada has taken everything you know about crepes to a new level of flavor and extravagance. The menu at Les Crepes ranges from savory to sweet, all are a brilliant and carefully crafted sight to behold. The Mousse au Chocolat is a crowd favorite, and for good reason. The hand-cut strawberry flowers on top of three scoops of chocolate mousse highlight the detail Lozada puts into all of his work. The newly opened Cary Street location is upscale and elegant. It’s a place you won’t want to pass up on your next Carytown trip.

Dishing on the Dish: Mousse au Chocolat. Chocolate crepe, chocolate mousse and strawberries topped with chocolate sauce, blueberries and whipped cream.

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International Dishes La Grotta

529 E. Broad St.; 804-644-2466;

Northern Italian food at its best at its above-ground location at the Hilton Garden Inn. La Grotta’s spot is just as charming and elegant as the former location and can host private parties from 10 to 100 people.

Dishing on the Dish: The Ravioli Di Pollo con Panna features homemade ravioli filled with chicken served in a light cream sauce.

Photo: Dave Masucci

La Cucina Ristorante Italiano and Pizzeria 11440 W Huguenot Road, Midlothian; 804-378-8940;

La Cucina is the third local restaurant venture of Italian-born chef-owner Vito Bellantuono. The red walls, cozy bar, classic Italian fare and attentive service set a warm, friendly tone that says benvenuto! Pizza with a light and buttery crust is a customer favorite.

Dishing on the Dish: Seared Salmon. Atlantic salmon pan-seared in a lemon and caper cream sauce, shown here with roasted zucchini. 13

tastebudz by Steve Cook

I’m not a foodie. I just love food. I could never be a food critic because…I just love food. Sure, I’ve had a bad meal from time to time, but my experience in getting to know so many of the local restaurateurs and chefs is that there are a lot of talented people who pour their hearts, their passion and often their life’s savings into their work. The whole idea of TasteBudz is to tell you about the places we like to eat and the folks behind those places. So, if you’re looking for a critique on the overuse of tarragon in a dish, you’ve come to the wrong place. But if you’re looking for some good dining ideas, then let’s get started.

pulled pork was exactly the way pulled pork should be…moist, tender, with a hint of the smoke. The rib eye is equally as amazing and SMoKH’s gochujang sauce complemented the smoked turkey beautifully. Roby tells me that customers are already declaring his wings to be the best in town. I’m a wing man, so after my next visit I can address that topic authoritatively.

SMOHK BREAK: If you’re in the mood for some truly fantastic barbecue, it’s time you take a SMoKH break. SMoKH is a cool, (very) little BBQ joint hidden away in Scott’s Addition (3112 W. Leigh St.). SMoKH is also the dictionary’s phonetic spelling of the word. That kinda makes sense considering that one of the co-owners is an English professor at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. Elizabeth Sexton (the teacher) and Roby Williams (the design engineer) have known each other since high school days in Radford. Now, they’re making beautiful meat together. Elizabeth tells me that it’s Roby’s penchant for perfection that led to the creation of SMoKH. She says that he’s spent years perfecting the sauce. I found the sauce to be as close to perfection as any I’ve had. Roby tells me that the true secret to the success of the sauce is its primary ingredient: genuine, 100-percent maple syrup. He also adds in a little honey, “and a little bourbon,” he whispers. I swore I wouldn’t tell. What I will tell you is that not only was the sauce wonderful, but so were the meats that I sampled. The consistency of the hickory-smoked 14 RiverCity

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A DAY IN THE PARK: When you dine in one of the city’s best new restaurants, it may be much like a day in the park. That’s because the folks behind the new Pik Nik restaurant at 2301 W. Main, have designed the décor, the menu and even the cocktails to give guests a pleasant dayin-the-park experience. Joe Kiatsuranon, who is somewhat a genius when it comes to his restaurant concepts, has joined forces with his brother Sonny, chef Alex Bailey and GM/bar manager Rob Smith to create a restaurant that excels on so many levels. The casual décor creates a fun, carefree feel to your dining experience. However, the food coming from Chef Alex’ kitchen is far superior to anything I’ve ever pulled out of my basket. The small plates are great for sharing the tastes of some excellent dishes. My favorite is the Seared Day Boat Scallop and Panama Shrimp. But at the reasonable prices, you can afford to sample a variety of tastes and pick your own favorites. Rob’s cocktails, many named after local parks, are both inspired and inspiring. Put Pik Nik on your must try list. No blanket needed.

TIPTOE TO THE TULIP: Something different to Carytown comes. It’s The Broken Tulip, a new restaurant at 3129 W. Cary. I recently spoke with David Crabtree-Logan, who, along with his wife Sariann Lehrer, is opening the place in mid-November. David, who hails from Edinburgh, Scotland, has been in the restaurant business since he was 15 years old. Sariann is from Connecticut. They met in a country pub in England where both were working in the kitchen. With what is evidently a passion for the farm-to-table culinary movement, the couple decided that they not only wanted to open a restaurant together, but that they “wanted to move somewhere with a longer growing season and less horrendous winters.” They had been living in Connecticut. “Friends kept telling us to check out Richmond,” David explains. Long story short: They came. They saw. They stayed. “It (Richmond) reminded us of Portland,” David says. The two had lived in Oregon for a period of time after leaving England. While there, David had worked in a restaurant known as Beast, which is described online as a “Cozy eatery where adventurous, meatheavy fixed-price meals are served at communal tables.” He and Sariann liked the concept. They also, he says, “liked the feel of Cary Street.” The Broken Tulip will introduce a unique concept. As far as the menu goes, David says, “Our aim is to let the farmers and producers bring what they have that’s best each week. The menu will be finalized on Tuesday and Wednesday.” The restaurant will serve dinner on Thursdays through Saturday evenings. There will be two seatings for communal dining each evening at 6 and at 8:30. Additionally, there will be three seatings for Sunday brunch – at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.

MARCHING IN TO LITTLE SAINT: Just three days after opening, I had the pleasure of visiting the newest spot in Devil’s Triangle, Little Saint, at 2901 Park Avenue. My guests and I dined on the Gorgonzola Pimento Cheese Plate, along with the corn hoecakes and the Byrd Mill grits bowl. We made it a meal by adding the bison steak tips. I was

Specializing in Savory & Sweet Crêpes Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner

LES CREPES CARYTOWN 3325 W. Cary St., Suite R Richmond, VA 23221

LES CREPES STONY POINT 9200 Stony Point Pkwy. #152, Richmond, VA 23235

804.355.2038 • 804.355.2045

804.495.3650 15

barely able to get any cheese at all as my guests stuffed their faces with the cheese and its accoutrements (house pickles, benne wafers, salty Edwards ham). While I wasn’t a huge fan of the corn hoecakes, the grits were divine. I can see this dish beckoning me back to the Little Saint. I was so full that I took my leftovers home and was able to enjoy the dish again later on. The server noticed I wasn’t asking to take the corn hoecakes home and he took those off the bill, without my even asking. Excellent customer service and great, locally sourced new American dishes — well done Little Saint, well done.

A THING OF BEAUTY: One picture paints a thousand words, so I can save a little space here by just suggesting that you check out the tempting entree from Les Crepes in this issue’s ISO International Dishes. Not only is the dish beautiful, but so is this new restaurant at 3325West Cary Street. The bar and dining areas create a beautiful, intimate, romantic appeal. The only spot on Cary that might be more romantic is Les Crepes’ patio. It offers such a quiet, warm, secluded area in which to enjoy a wonderful meal. My wife and I had dinner on the patio just a few nights ago. I ordered the Cowboy Crepe. The deliciously delicate French pastry was filled with grilled tenderloin, grilled Portobello mushroom, zucchini and delicious, slightly sweet caramelized onions. It’s hard to imagine how something so light can be so filling. I had to take half of mine home. That’s partly because I kept stealing bites from my wife’s seafood crepe, which had generous portions of scallops, shrimp, clams, squid and mushroom in a flavorful lobster sauce. I was tempted to pick up her plate and lick it clean. There’s a lot to love about Les Crepes — beautiful decor, beautiful food, and beautiful people providing beautiful service.

HOME SWEET HOME: Just west of Les Crepes (at 3433 W. Cary St.) is one of Whitney Kiatsuranon’s favorite spots. Whitney, one of our fa16 RiverCity

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vorite Taste Budz, visited there recently as well as the new Little Saint Restaurant. She shares both experiences: I can’t tell you how many times I have run in to Home Sweet Home in the last couple of months, whether with friends, my own children or just on my own. This little gem has proven time and time again to deliver quality service, superior tastes and an excellent atmosphere. Don’t get me wrong. There is no reinvention of the wheel here; what you’ll get is mean mac and cheese, fried pickles and (my personal favorite) the crab dip. It only took me a couple of visits before my server, Bridget Joseph, not only knew my drink and food order, but also where I wanted to sit based on my previous visits. Actually, if I think about it long enough, she is the most accommodating server I have met in that regard. So, pop on in and grab some poutine. I will probably be upstairs stuffing my face with the crab dip.

SO THESE THREE GUYS WALK INTO A BAR: This is no joke. You’ve probably already heard about The Jasper by now. Three of the city’s most celebrated bartenders, Mattias Hägglund (Heritage), Thomas Leggett (The Roosevelt)) and Kevin Liu (The Tin Pan) have recently announced the opening of what promises to become a Carytown hotspot. The new late-night bar (open until 2 a.m. each morning) will be called The Jasper. I asked Mattias to explain the name. “The Jasper is a place being built by bartenders, so we chose the name of a prominent bartender from Richmond’s history to honor with the name. His name was Jasper Crouch, and when visiting Richmond a century or so ago he was one of the guys you went to for true hospitality,” We hope to continue on his tradition.” As far as the menu (the food menu, that is) is concerned, Mattias said that while he and his partners are not quite ready to release that information, he can reveal that The Jasper will feature small plates that complement the drinks. And, as for the look and feel of the place, which will be located at 3113 W. Cary Street, Mattias told me, ”We’re going for a comfortable, quality and timeless design where anyone should be able to walk in and feel comfortable hanging out for a while.” If The Jasper sounds like the kind of place where you’d like to hang out, hang on. It should be open by the end of the year. Mattias said that he, Thomas and Kevin have been working on the project for the better part of a year. “It’s been a tough secret to keep,” he added.

Of course with our finely honed interrogation skills, we can get those secrets out of the most hardened. Tune in next time for more TasteBudz and if you want to share any restaurant news or a recent dining experience with us, send it to




The area’s Award Winning Bar and Restaurant with great beer, great food and captivating views of Richmond!


Join us every Sunday for Brunch starting at 11AM with a great brunch menu. Jazz Brunch 1st Sunday of every month.

Restaurant & Bar Hours: Mon.– Thu. 11:30 AM – 11 PM Fri.– Sat. 11:30 AM – Midnight Sun. 11 AM – 10 PM

Bluegrass/Americana Music Every Sunday Night!

321 W. 7th Street | (804) 232-3446 |

Virginia’s Beer Authority

and more... 804-780-Ales

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Read Our Publications Online 804-639-9994

1700 Dock St. Richmond (804)-644-4400



The Fan: 1309 W. Main St.; 804-359-3647 Shockoe Slip: 1316 E. Cary St.; 804-343-3647 Two great locations offering amazing hot dogs, fresh (never frozen) burgers, delicious barbecue and much more. Monday through Friday 4 to 7 p.m. Beer, domestic bottles - $2 Rail Drinks - $2 One more thing: Each location offers a variety of specials through the week. Follow them on Facebook.

Boulevard Burger and Brew 1300 North Boulevard; 804-367-3838;

Appetizers - $2 off Power Hour – chosen at random each day (Tue. – Thur.) during Happy Hour: Drink specials - $1 Wines, bottle – ½ price One More Thing: There’s always live music during Happy Hour

Kitchen 64

3336 N. Boulevard; 804-358-0064; Enjoy lunch, dinner and a great bar in this Northside diner-style restaurant. Monday through Friday 3 to 7 p.m. Beer, domestic bottles - $2 Rail drinks - $4 One More Thing: Daily deals include: Super Sundays ($3.50 Drafts), Mojito Mondays ($6 Mojitos), Tequila Tuesdays ($5 Margaritas), Wine Down Wednesdays ($5 Merlot and Chardonnay).

The sizzling burgers will draw you in. The craft beers (and the adult milk shakes) will bring you back. Good food and drink in what was once a fast food hamburger joint.


Monday through Sunday 3 to 7 p.m. Drafts - $2 off Beer, featured 16 oz. cans – $1 off Draft wine - $2 off Rail drinks - $2 off

With a lively Happy Hour crowd featuring their $3 for 4 hours menu, along with a year-round patio dining and a host of popular homemade favorites, this is one of the Fan District’s most popular hangouts.

They’re always doing something special here, with several events lined up each month.

Good Tymes Restaurant & Lounge

2030-1/2 Chamberlayne Ave.; 804-409-5279 This cool, new Northside lounge offers an eclectic menu featuring fresh seafood, steaks, chops and made-from-scratch desserts.

2600 W. Main St.; 804-254-2667;

Monday through Friday 3 to 7 p.m. Drafts, select - $3 Wine, draft - $3 House liquors - $3 Cheese fries - $3 South Philly Sunday Drive (Bavarian pretzel with mustard and cheese) - $3 Beer-battered onion rings - $3 One More Thing: On Thursday nights, enjoy half-priced burgers along with Coors and Coors Light in cans for just two bucks.

Wednesday through Friday 5 to 9 p.m. Beer, bottled - $1 off Cocktails - $4 19

CARYTOWN Carytown’s Enduring and Evolving Charms by Tom Gresham

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November / December 2017


helee Lattimore never knows who or what she is going to see outside the front door of Premiere Costumes, the Carytown business where she serves as store manager. For instance, she has encountered groups passing by dressed in all kinds of striking outfits, including anime-inspired apparel, impressively realized cosplay attire and resplendent Victorian garb. After 20 years in Richmond, including a decade at Premiere, she’s long since stopped being surprised. “Whenever I see something completely out of the ordinary here, I say, ‘Well, that’s just Carytown,’” she said. For decades, Carytown has attracted crowds of all kinds to its eclectic blend of shops, restaurants, offices and residences. The neighborhood, a blocks-long corridor sometimes billed as the Mile of Style, offers a uniquely appealing mix of the gritty and the sophisticated, the old and the new, the fringe and the mainstream, all within footsteps of each other. Carytown’s rise as an area for commerce can be traced in part to 1928 when the Byrd Theatre opened. The Byrd is one of the city’s most beloved landmarks, still drawing audiences to its elegant and grand interior. Ten years after the Byrd’s opening, the Cary Street Park and Shop Center, the city’s first strip shopping center, began to welcome customers. The receptive vibe that has settled amiably in Carytown in the years since has made it a place that attracts visitors from across the region and from around the world.

Byrd Theatre circa 1950 21

Rachel Blouch first started going to Carytown with her parents and siblings after church on Sundays, visiting shops and enjoying brunch together. Now a high school student, she frequents the neighborhood with her friends. “It’s definitely welcoming,” she said. “It’s a very Richmond-y place that’s homey and comforting.” Camille Bird, owner of Sacred Waters Holistic Spa and Boutique and president of the Carytown Merchants Association, said the easygoing nature of the neighborhood can be traced to its origins as a largely residential area that evolved organically and gradually. She said many of today’s storefronts were once residences where the occupants would arrange items outside for sale. “It’s still got some of that friendly yard sale atmosphere to it,” she said. Bird said that Thea Brown, owner of World of Mirth, a store known for its whimsical gifts and toys, has compared Carytown to a stew

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November / December 2017

that has been simmering for decades. The mix of restaurants and shops and the people who operate and frequent them could never have developed without time, Bird said. “There’s just nothing quite like it,” Bird said. “It’s a really wonderful, culturally rich part of Richmond.” Bird said the people who make up the Carytown community — from landlords and business owners to employees and residents — share a strong, genuine attachment to the neighborhood. She added that historic preservation is a passion among the merchants, who also appreciate the district’s background and its people’s openness to new ideas and new business efforts. Blouch admires the fact that most of the district’s more than 200 businesses are locally owned and unique. Her favorites include World of Mirth; Ashby, a secondhand women’s and men’s clothing store; and Orange, a home goods boutique. “You can find stuff in Carytown that you can’t find anywhere else,” Blouch said. Instead of competing with each other, Carytown’s businesses embrace the opportunity to thrive side by side, said Bird. She went on to joke that the same hundred dollar bill makes its way around the

neighborhood as proprietors support each other with their purchases. “There’s a brand of entrepreneur that’s attracted to what Carytown has to offer,” said Bird, who moved to Richmond 10 years ago and visited Carytown for the first time soon after her arrival. She was transfixed from the start. “I said, ‘I’m going to own a shop there someday,’” she recalled. “I didn’t know what it was going to be, but I knew I was going to open something, and I knew it was going to be here. It had to be here.” Today, Bird occasionally blows bubbles on the front steps of Sacred Waters during a moment’s break. Carytown’s breadth of dining and shopping options makes it a neighborhood that buzzes with activity from day into night thanks to the dynamic daytime population and the lively nighttime crowd. The result rewards both the wanderer and the planner. “I like that it’s a great place to go if you don’t have anything special to do,” Blouch said. “You can just walk around, get something to eat and shop, and it’s fun.” In addition, Carytown swells with crowds for special events throughout the year, including its signature event, the Watermelon Festival, a late-summer staple for 34 years. The one-day event features abundant food, games, vendors, activities and entertainment, including nearly 50 performances and five outdoor stages this past year, and attracts tens of thousands of visitors, according to the Carytown Merchants Association. Although Carytown’s commerce brings in visitors and tourists from all over, it also caters to surrounding neighborhoods, such as the Fan and the Museum District, as a convenient place to go for anything from a casual breakfast to a gift for a friend. “Everything you need is right here,” Lattimore said. 23

by Denise Johnson

Photo: Snipes Properties

Photo: Snipes Properties

The Meridian Modern twist on the Museum District

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November / December 2017

Photo: Snipes Properties


ichmond’s real estate market is known for it’s historic charm and traditional design. Now there’s a new trend on the horizon—modern design. One of the most recent examples of modern architecture locally is The Meridian located at the corner of N. Thompson Street and Cutshaw Avenue. Consisting of eight single-family, row homes, The Meridian is located on the border of Scott’s Addition and at the beginning of the Museum District. Carter Snipes, principal of the builder, Snipes Group, LLC, explains “Technically the project is in Scott’s addition, but is located across Broad Street. That’s how we decided on the name Meridian. It sits on the line of both neighborhoods.” Originally the property was a non-historic commercial office building that was built in the 1970s. Snipes saw the potential to transform what some may have seen as an out-of-place structure into a modern architectural living space in a thriving area of the city. Today, the design is best described as row homes with a modern twist. The exterior has elevated concrete steps that lead to a front porch with a covered doorway. The interior boasts large windows, walk-in closets, substantial living room and mixed-use space with full kitchen and dining areas. The modern design is accentuated by the hardwood floors, recessed lighting, and iron throughout the structure. The three-story town homes are available in two distinct floor plans at 1,700 Sq. Ft. and 2,100 Sq. Ft. Each town home features three bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths, with a private rooftop deck just off the master

bedroom suite. Each unit has a backyard with a privacy fence, patio, and a fire pit, perfect for entertaining. One of the most convenient, and probably most valued, features for this location is off-street parking. This is a pet-friendly community. Since these are individual homes, there are no association or community fees. The prices range from $450k to $479K with upgrade options up to $499,000. With the heart of Scott’s Addition just two blocks away, one mile to Carry Town, two miles to VCU, and downtown just minutes away, residents can experience the best of what Richmond has to offer in local cuisine, art, and shopping. Snipes agrees, “This is where the action is. Richmond is quickly becoming a craft beer, dining, and entertainment hub for the whole region.” Along with being in the center of budding restaurants and retail, The Meridian is also close to popular Richmond attractions like the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Dogwood Dell, and Maymont and Byrd Park. Another plus for this location is easy access to I-95 and I-64 to get around the city or surrounding counties. If driving isn’t your thing, public transit is within walking distance in this area. This community is the perfect option for buyers who want the convenience of city living without relocating to a larger city. Whether you’re an empty nester, a young professional, or a family, The Meridian offers luxury living with a modern edge, and a great location at an affordable price. 25

River City Nov/Dec 2017  
River City Nov/Dec 2017