RiverCity January / February 2018
scott’s addition Richmond’s New Playground
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LIVING SPACES: BACKSTAGE: ROMANTIC DINING SPECIAL SPOTS FOR SPECIAL NIGHTS JOHN MORELAND COOKIE FACTORY OUR INTERVIEW WITH
RiverCity JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018
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CONNECTING & REFLECTING Interview with John Moreland
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River City could just as easily be called Pizza City. There are amazing pizza restaurants scattered all over town – on both sides of the James. Here are four of our favorites including Bottoms Up Pizza in Shockoe Bottom. Sharing a delicious pie at Bottoms Up has become a Richmond tradition over its more than 25 years in the city. Their Beef Brisket pizza on the cover, captured by photographer Josh Young, is one of the newer entries on their menu.
RIVER CITY LIVE
Connecting & Reflecting: An Interview with
Photo: Matt White
by Davy Jones
January / February 2018
John Moreland by Davy Jones
John Moreland, who’s scheduled to perform a Jan. 14th headlining set at the Camel, writes folk rock songs that are arresting and powerfully affecting — the kind that command your attention and open doors to emotional worlds you didn’t know were living inside you. Big Bad Luv, the album Moreland released last year, continues a trend set by its similarly outstanding recent predecessors — 2013’s In the Throes and 2015’s High on Tulsa Heat — in diving wholeheartedly into self-examination related to home, belonging, death, guilt and love, with lyrics incisive enough to level you with a single phrase. I recently spoke with the Oklahoma-based singer-songwriter over the phone about connecting with listeners, the role religion plays in his life and work and the neon sign that didn’t quite make it onto the cover of Big Bad Luv.
How do you know you’re dialed in with an audience? Is it “silence is golden” in that respect? You can just feel it. Sometimes silence is amazing, and there’s certain songs where it’s almost like silence is like an instrument in the song, and you need it. But then, I’ve also played to silent crowds who felt really stiff, and you’d make a joke between songs and nobody would laugh. The atmosphere is so reverent that it’s really stiff and awkward. So it can go either way. And then a louder audience can be really cool, or really difficult. It’s one of those things [where] you can feel it when you’re up there doing it. Do people often approach you after shows to tell you about how they personally relate to your music? I do get that a lot. It’s really cool to hear and really humbling. Can that be a burden, given that the songs they’re connecting with often handle difficult emotions and themes? No. I wouldn’t call it that at all. There are times when somebody will tell me a heavy story and I’m not sure what to say… because what can I do? What can I say? But it’s always nice to hear. I wouldn’t call it a burden at all.
Is it rewarding knowing your music helps people sort out their own dormant emotions? For sure… and I think I have a similar relationship to songs. I can’t really write when I’m depressed or going through heavy stuff. I try to, but it’s never good. And then later, I’m able to look back and reflect with some clarity and say something about it. But yeah, those emotions are kind of dormant until you get enough space to be able to articulate something about it. Thinking about carrying things forward, what relationships have grown out touring in support of your recent releases? Playing with John Calvin Abney is one of those things for sure. I’ve played solo for such a long time, and then this year we’ve been doing a duo thing. We’ve played together before, but we didn’t get to do it often. So that’s been really cool to get to play with him on a regular basis all year. We had a friendship, but now there’s a different musical relationship that happens when you play with somebody every night for a year that we didn’t have before that we do now.
January / February 2018
So many of your songs reference religion without being entirely focused on faith. Was religion a constant presence when you were growing up? In a way. It was in the background, sometimes, but it was always there. There would be days when it didn’t cross my mind, but it was always in the background. And it always, sort of, will be… I don’t practice a religion now, but [it’s] something that I grew up with and that will always be a part of me. It’s always going to be in the background, and there’s a way of thinking that I learned from all that, and there’s even certain language that I learned from those experiences that is probably always going to be there. And yeah, it tends to show up in songs, even when I don’t mean for it to. Is there anything you learned from touring in a hardcore band in high school? Maybe. I don’t know. I was so young back then, it was just all exciting. I don’t know if I was paying enough attention to actually learn anything. It definitely was an eye-opening experience to see, at 16 or 17, so many different parts of the country and different kinds of people from different backgrounds. I remember having my eyes opened that not everybody
Davy Jones’ Event Picks Editors Note: We asked Davy Jones to recommend a couple of upcoming not-to-be-missed musical performances.
Jan. 30: Aimee Mann at the Tin Pan 8982 Quiocassin Road; 804-447-8189; TinPanRVA.com In some ways, Aimee Mann’s career arc could be seen as a story of perpetual reinvention. Whether you’re looking at Paul Thomas Anderson’s use of her music in his film Magnolia, her cameo appearance in the Coen brothers masterpiece The Big Lebowski, or the title of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mental Illness, she always manages to surprise audiences, though she’s remarkably consistent in her ability to offer touching and contemplative tunes that have a way of sticking with you. Her tour stops in Richmond on Jan. 30th at the Tin Pan, and given her Richmond roots (Mann grew up in Bon Air, attending Midlothian High School), the show may even have a homecoming feel to it. was like me… All my friends, when I was that age, I met at school or at a hardcore show or whatever, and we were all from the same place and from a similar background. That was my first exposure to the real world. What’s the story behind the amazing photo on the cover of Big Bad Luv? We had an idea for the cover that involved a neon sign that said “Big Bad Luv,” and we had a neon sign made. So I asked my [Little Rock-based] friend Matt White to shoot photos of the sign, and I had this whole idea of how it was going to look. We took the sign to Little Rock and dropped it off with him, so he could shoot for a few days. And every time you would try to load it in a car, the sign would break, and we would have to take it to a neon shop to get repaired. It broke three or four times. One time he got it repaired, and the shop called him and told him it was ready to pick up, and he was on his way there to pick it up, and they called him again and told him they’d just broke it again. So we were coming up on [the] deadline, and we didn’t have any of those photos to use, and we needed something, so Matt [said] “Here are tons of my photos that I’ve taken throughout the years…” We found that one of the Monte Carlo, and when we saw it, we said, “That’s an album cover.”
Feb. 16: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit at the Altria Theater 6 N. Laurel St.; 804-592-3368; Altria.TheaterRichmond.com Jason Isbell last visited the Altria Theater in June of 2016, a show that saw him performing songs from the previous year’s Something More Than Free, which earned Isbell the Grammy for Best Americana Album. He’s since released another extremely strong collection of songs entitled The Nashville Sound, his first album since 2011 to officially feature his backing band, the 400 Unit. Together, they’re a seasoned and explosive outfit, capable of issuing pensive story songs and rollicking rock numbers alike. If the show on Feb. 16 is anything like 2016’s event, attendees are in for a treat — rock and roll performed as expertly and thoughtfully as it can be. RichmondNavigator.com 5
scott’s addition Richmond’s New Playground by Steve Cook
ow could a somewhat uninviting, long-ignored Richmond neighborhood suddenly become the city’s new playground? Perhaps, it wasn’t suddenly. Maybe it’s just that we weren’t really paying attention, but over the past five years or so, Scott’s Addition has become the place Richmonders go to play. If you’ve lived in or near the city for any length of time, you’ve probably, until somewhat recently, had very little reason to visit Scott’s Addition. I’ve lived around here for most of my life, but the only thing that ever drew me to this very mixed-use neighborhood, filled mostly with small factories and small homes, was the Curles Neck Dairy Bar and their hearty, delicious breakfasts (and lunches). It’s not that Scott’s Addition was on the wrong side of the tracks. Actually, it was on the tracks. About a hundred years ago, the railway tracks were realigned through the city and a railway station (Union Station, Photo: Steve Cook better known as Broad Street Station) was built just a few blocks from Scott’s Addition. Those changes brought about the transformation that turned what had been planned (in the late 1800s) to be a residential community into a largely light industrial neighborhood with a residential component that consisted primarily of row houses and small four-unit apartments. The tracks that ran through Scott’s Addition to Broad Street Station, as well as to the nearby Acca railway yards, made it the perfect spot for trucking companies, manufacturers, warehousers and others commercial businesses to set up shop. One of the few things that has essentially remained the same in Scott’s Addition over the years, is the old Dairy Bar, but Curles Neck no longer runs it. The once-popular dairy, which moved into the neighborhood in 1946, shut down in 1986. A private family took over the operation of the dairy’s adjacent restaurant at that time, and they sold the business to Bill and Patricia Webb in 1996. The Webbs changed the name to simply The Dairy Bar. “Back in ’96, we were looking for a family-run restaurant that had some history,” Webb said, adding that he and his wife have a combined 80 years experience in the restaurant business. So, when they
January / February 2018
decided to go into business for themselves some 20 years ago, a restaurant seemed the logical choice. He realized that Scott’s Addition didn’t offer the foot traffic that one would find just a few blocks away on Broad, but with the businesses and residences within the community, he felt comfortable with his decision. Keep in mind that this was more than a decade before Scott’s Addition truly began its transformation. “We’ve seen a lot of ups and downs, peaks and valleys over the years,” Webb reflected. After the economic downturn in 2008, he said a lot of the businesses in Scott’s Addition closed. “Those years, 2008 through 2011, were really tough years. Throwing in the towel wasn’t an option. “We wanted to make this work. We saw a future in this neighborhood.” And indeed, that future was about to get very bright. In 2012, Webb was asked about his vision for Scott’s Addition within the next five years . “Well, we’ re here. It’s exactly what I had (foreseen),” he said regarding that prediction. “I saw Scott’s Addition being a mixed use of industrial and apartments (there are currently about 2,000 apartment units in the neighborhood, with more planned), where if you want to go get a haircut, you go get a haircut. If you want to go to several restaurants, you go to a restaurant of your choice. If you want to go play pinball machines or arcades, you can go do that. You want to go grocery shopping, you can do that.” Webb credits the transformation of Scott’s Addition to the equally amazing growth along the Boulevard, which borders the neighborhood to the east. Recent commercial development along the Boulevard includes the new ALDI grocery store (927 Myers St.), Bow Tie Movieland (1301 N. Boulevard) and River City Roll, a planned boutique bowling and dining center (939 Myers St.). What has been the reason for such growth in this relatively small swath of the city? “We take full credit and all the responsibility for the growth in Scott’s Addition,” Webb joked. To some extent, the little restaurant that has hung in there for over 70 years, has, indeed, been responsible for introducing many Richmonders to this fast-changing neighborhood.
Photo: Joey Wharton
The Hoff offers a variety of space for private functions and special events.
Mike Cline, president of the Scott’s Addition Boulevard Association (SABA), contributes the phenomenal growth to the location. “It is convenient to Downtown and to the West End,’’ said Cline, an executive at CORT (1207 N. Boulevard), a business that specializes in providing office furniture. “Boomers to millennials, students to professionals, are found among the group that comes here to work and the group that comes here to live.” The entertainment is also unique, he added. “How many neighborhoods can boast their own AA baseball team? Add to that a movie plex, bowling alley, gamers bars, five breweries, a meadery, two cideries and a distillery, not to mention restaurants that offer everything from a $4.44 full breakfast to those that offer gourmet selections.” Vacant building also made it appealing to developers. “With all the formerly vacant warehouses, you had a blank canvas, so to speak, where breweries, restaurants and other users could swoop in and really make these shell buildings their own – and do it quickly,” said Trevor Dickerson, vice president of SABA. “As a result, we’ve seen the neighborhood quickly become one of the hottest spots for breweries and cideries on the East Coast. Folks all up and down the Mid-Atlan-
Photo: Michael Lay
tic know Scott’s Addition, and that’s pretty cool considering the first brewery opened just over three years ago.” It’s all here for your enjoyment in the city’s new playground: eclectic restaurants, popular craft breweries and arcades. Just across the street (the Boulevard), there are movies, baseball and bowling. Restaurateur Rick Lyons, who co-owns Lunch. and Supper! restaurants (1215 Summit Ave.), has been a major player in bringing not only two great restaurants, but his own little playground, which he calls Urban Roost, into Scott’s Addition. “I saw the big boys spending their money (here),” said Lyons, who moved to the neighborhood in 2012. “I figured they must know something. These guys do a lot of research, so I decided it was worth the risk.” Over the past five years, Lyons said he’s seen Scott’s Addition become a full-service community with everything necessary for living. “We’re living the American dream,’’ he added. “It’s all right here in 20 blocks.” Dickerson agreed. “The neighborhood is a really eclectic mix. It makes for a nice, walkable community where you can spend an entire day,’’ he said. “It’s a work-, live- and play-type scenario in the truest sense of the expression.” “Play” is definitely a major component in the scenario. Bobby Kruger, a business partner of real estate developer Carter Snipes, operates the Hofheimer Building (2818 W. Broad St.). He continues to make that space a true playground. The Hof (as the building is affectionately known) offers the Hof Garden Bavarian beer garden, replete with a cool rooftop bar. While the rooftop may be the best known of the building’s amenities, Kruger has recently added a game room, which includes darts, Jenga, tabletop shuffleboard and foosball. There’s even an area Kruger refers to as an “emulation station, where you can enjoy old-school video games.” The Hof also offers several areas for private events, and Kruger hinted that a private club may be a 2018 addition to the building. RichmondNavigator.com 7
Photo: Joey Wharton
If you truly want a blast from the past, visit Circuit Arcade Bar (3121 W. Leigh St.). In addition to a variety of the oldtime games such as Ms. Pac Man, pinball, air hockey and the ever-popular Skeeball, this cool spot offers a 50-tap automated beer wall. Justin Cole, the marketing manager, explained that customers use prepaid cards to choose their favorite beers. “It calculates your pours somewhat like a gas pump,” he said, adding that in addition to about 44 beers, the wall offers some wines as well as cold brew coffee. As a lover of beer flights, this is a place that I am definitely going to have to check out soon. After my visit with Cole, I head- Photo: Michael Lay ed across the street to one of my favorite new eating spots, SMoKH (3112 W. Leigh St.) – a small place that serves up some of the very best barbecue that I’ve had in Richmond or elsewhere. It’s the first food-related business venture for partners Elizabeth Sexton and Roby Williams. Sexton said they chose Scott’s Addition because they heard that it’s a “hip-hop happening place.” She added that the first few months (they opened in August 2017) have been a learning experience, and that by listening to 8 RiverCity
January / February 2018
their customers, they’ve made some adjustments to satisfy demands. “We’ll be doing other foods besides barbecue,” Sexton said, adding that SMoKH will be offering more sandwiches to their menu. Williams told me that they will stay true to their smoked-food reputation by introducing smoked ham and smoked chicken salad, which can be served alone or on a sandwich. Having tasted their smoked meats, I’m looking forward especially to the chicken salad. He also said that in response to customer demand, they’re expanding their space to allow room for some in-house dining. Heretofore, the little
Photo: Courtesy VisitRichmondVA.com
Photo: Steve Cook
In 1953, Architect Joseph J. Schlesser designed the Mid Atlantic Coca Cola bottling plant. At the time, it was one of the most prominent buildings in Scott’s Addition.
barbecue joint has been virtually take out only. Trust me, whether you eat in or take out, if you love barbecue, you will love this little spot, which somewhat epitomizes the entrepreneurial spirit that has brought so many exciting new businesses to Scott’s Addition. So, what does the future hold for the city’s new playground? Lyons would like to see some park-type space in the community: “I love a concrete jungle,’’ he said. “But I like some green, too.” While Lyons sees more green space in the future, Dickerson predicts a lot more growth to go along with it. “With more residential conversions planned, I think we’re going to continue to be the fastest
growing neighborhood in Richmond for at least the next couple of years,’’ Dickerson said. “And, with the recently changed zoning ordinances, our board (SABA) worked to approve in tandem with the City, you’re going to see taller and more high-density development along the northern border of West Broad Street and the western side of North Boulevard.” Cline is also optimistic about the future of Scott’s Addition. “Up, up and away,’’ he proclaimed. “The new zoning will allow multi-story buildings along Broad and Boulevard. I see this as the means to increase the number of residents and businesses in the area.” Both Cline and Dickerson pointed to another major development in the city that’s going to bring more folks to Scott’s Addition – the new $65 million Pulse rapid-transit bus system, which is slated to become operational later this summer. “Too often I encounter people that have never been to Scott’s Addition and don’t really know what is happening here, Cline observed. “Soon they will be able to board the Pulse and find us along the route, which will be a great tool for discovery.” Dickerson added that “it’s going to be interesting to see if and how the bus line affects Scott’s Addition and its growth.” Time will tell. But, we don’t have to wait for the bus. “I would invite (area residents) to come and wander. Spend an hour or an afternoon,’’ Cline said. “You may be surprised to see what lies around the next corner!” Good advice. There are more “next corners” in store for Richmond’s new playground. Byrd Theatre circa 1950
Bottoms Up Pizza 1700 Dock St.; 804-644-4400; BottomsUpPizza.com
Located in the heart of the River City, Bottoms Up Pizza has created something uniquely their own. With its exposed brick and industrial fixtures, the restaurant providesthe feeling that you’re part of the city’s energy and vibe. Co-founder Dirk Graham has created a distinctive pizza experience. He has turned his barbecue hobby into a delectable new pie — the Beef Brisket Pizza, featuring meats smoked on site.
Photo: Josh Young
Mary Angela’s Pizzeria
3345 W. Cary St.; 804-353-2333; MaryAngelasPizza.com Featuring authentic New York and Sicilian style pizzas, along with subs, calzones, pastas, Italian classics and amazing desserts, Mary Angela’s is a Carytown favorite. The hand-tossed Sicilian Style Pizza allows you to choose from a variety of toppings.
Photo: Josh Young
January / February 2018
3012 W. Cary St.; 804-370-8210; MellowMushroom.com Who could have guessed that with pizzas sporting names such as Thai Dye, Kosmic Karma and Magical Mystery Tour, this unique pizza chain was born out of the free-wheelin’ hippy culture of the 70s? Probably just about everyone. The Thai Dye Pizza starts with an olive oil and garlic base, and is then covered with all-natural grilled curry chicken, mozzarella cheese, Roma tomatoes, and onions. It’s topped with fresh basil, cucumbers and a sweet swirl of Thai chili sauce.
Maldini’s Ristorante Italiano 4811 Forest Avenue; 804-230-9055; MaldinisRestaurant.com
Maldini’s is a family-owned and operated restaurant serving brick oven pizza to Richmond’s Southside and bringing classic Italian dishes to your door with their delivery service. Need a little wine to go with your meal? Just give them a ring and they can deliverer that as well. The Maldini’s Special Pizza has all of your favorite toppings, such as pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, green peppers and onions.
tastebudz by Steve Cook
It’s always exciting to start a new year. The new year brings new restaurants. It also brings new menus to old restaurants. Then, there are my favorite new and old restaurants to which I’m irresistibly drawn. There’s one thing that all such places have in common. I get to eat. You see, I’m not a food critic. I love food too much to criticize. Personally, I think food critics can be real fun killers. Eating is fun. Am I right? If you agree, join me on this issue’s culinary adventure.
EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN: That’s certainly the deal down on Bank Street with the reopening of the Commonwealth Park Hotel (901 Bank Street) – now known as simply The Commonwealth. I spoke with Christina Norton, the hotel’s GM about Rueger’s the restaurant in the hotel. In case you’re wondering about the name, Christina explains: “We wanted to pay homage towards where we started,” she says referring to the fact that the hotel, which opened in 1913, was the Hotel Rueger, “It was a real landmark in its day,” she adds. There’s much more to the fascinating history and you can read about it on the Commonwealth’s website (TheCommonwealthSuites.com). As part of that homage, not only is the flooring in the restaurant the same as was installed when the building was first completed, but the menu, itself, captures some of the dishes that were on the original menu. Christina says that the new Rueger’s puts a modern day twist on some of those original recipes and adds, “Of course, we couldn’t keep the prices the same. A chicken dinner cost 25 cents back then.” As for any inside scoop on what to order, she says, “Our jalapeno hush puppies are to die for. We get lots of compliments on them.” The restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner and, plans are to start opening for lunch early this month (January). 12 RiverCity
January / February 2018
AROUND THE WORLD DINING: Have you been to the new Carytown location of Les Crepes at 3325 W. Cary Street? It is such a beautiful spot. Even though casual dress is probably the norm, there, I feel kinda wealthy just walking in this classy joint, although the prices are very reasonable. It just has an elegant feel to it. I was by there the other day and spoke with co-owner, Mauro Pompili. He made an interesting observation about the international scope of the menu. “Because we serve crepes, people tend to think of this as a French restaurant,” he says. Mauro proceeded to show me what a broad range of dining options the menu offers. For instance, if you want a good Amer-
ican steak place, there’s the Cowboy Crepe featuring grilled tenderloin with portabella mushrooms. And if you’re more in the mood for a sandwich, you can have the Burger Crepe with ground beef, bacon, cheddar cheese and grilled tomatoes. Looking for seafood? I can attest to just how delicious their Seafood Crepe is, filled with scallops, shrimp, squid and clam. You can also get the lobster version as well. If you’re in the mood for Italian, Les Crepe offers a Prosciutto Crepe with Italian parma prosciutto, sliced brie, shaved parmesan, arugula and tomatoes. There’s also a Lasagna Crepe. You can also order breakfast crepes and check out their amazing selection of sweet crepes, too. There’s really something for every taste. And if you’re planning a private party, did you know that the restaurant has an upstairs banquet area that can accommodate about 150 people?
Specializing in Savory & Sweet Crêpes Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner
SCALLOP-PALOOZA: I have an addiction issue. I haven’t discussed it publicly, but acceptance is part of the healing, I guess. The thing is, I don’t want to be healed. I want to go on enjoying what are absolutely (IMHO) the best scallops in town. I’m talking about the scallops coming out of the kitchen at Pik Nik, the cool little restaurant with the weird name at 2301 W. Main Street. Alex Bailey, the chef and Rob Smith, the general manager have teamed up to create a fantastic new restaurant. Of course the concept comes from the Joe Kiatsuranon who has ideas he hasn’t even thought of yet. First, the scallops. If you love scallops, you can’t NOT try these at Pik Nik. I’m serious. I’ve never had better. But the entire menu, which has recently changed to incorporate more entrees to along with the small plates and bar appetizers, offers a bounty of amazing fare. To get an idea of the uniqueness, just take a look at their appetizer
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
specials in this issue’s Happy Hour Guide. And when you go in, look at the Happy Hour cocktail menu. Evidently, Rob is some sort of historian. Drinking at Pik Nik can be more educational than going to school. Just don’t share that bit of info with your kids. Now, since TasteBudz is allegedly restaurant news, let me throw in a bit. On February 7, PIk Nik will be doing a fund-raiser in association with the SPCA. Rob tells me that so many of their customers (locals in the Fan) have dogs that it’s their way of showing their appreciation. He says the restaurant will be offering food and drink specials, with a portion of all the proceeds (15%) going to the SPCA. Rob says they’re hoping for good weather, so guests can bring their dogs and enjoy the patio. Rob also says that the restaurant is in the process of adding some early bird specials. Bottom line is, if that you really need to check this place out. Pik Nik has definitely made its way to the my top five Richmond restaurants list.
WHAT’S UP AT THE HOF: I recently spoke with Bobby Kruger, who runs the Hof Garden in Scott’s Addition (2818 W. Broad St.). This is a cool little spot featuring a roof top and indoor Bavarian beer garden serving delicious German food, an eclectic game room and lots of event space. Bobby is also one of the nicest guys you’d ever want to meet. In addition to his ongoing efforts to ensure that the Hof becomes one of the city’s premier venues, he’s also involved in a project to help those less fortunate. He’s been getting some friends together to deliver hot food and blankets to those in the city who might be homeless and/or hungry. If you’d like to get involved, you can reach out to him on his Facebook page: TheHofGarden. 14 RiverCity
January / February 2018
SOMETHING NEW (AND DIFFERENT) IN CARYTOWN: I told you back in our November/December issue about the soon-to-open Broken Tulip at 3129 W. Cary Street. Well, this innovative new place, which offers price-fixed meals at communal tables, has now opened. I asked David Crabtree Logan, who owns the Broken Tulip with his wife, Sariann Lehrer, just how Richmonders are taking to the concept. “The guests have been very enthusiastic about the food and service,” he tells me. The shared tables are great fun for people and most every night new friendships are formed over dinner. Its very rewarding to see people who were strangers exchanging numbers at the end of a meal.” Sounds like my kind of place. The couple’s goal of utilizing local farmers is proving successful. David says, “We have been very lucky to find some fantastic farmers to work with us and we’re looking forward to developing these relationships for the coming season. We have a couple of farms growing crops by our request. This along with our wild food expert, Eugene Hudders, at Foraged Kingdom, will ensure we have unique products in 2018.
MAKE YOURSELF COMFORT-ABLE: In our March/April issue of West End’s Best, we will be going In Search of Comfort Foods. Do you have a favorite comfort food, or a favorite restaurant that specializes in a dish that you find especially comforting? If so, I’d really love to hear your suggestions. Who knows? We might even include your favorite in this feature. In a recent online version of TasteBudz, our semi-regular contributors, Victor and Kathy Gottlieb shared a few spots in town where they find comfort foods. Maybe you agree with some of their picks: Victor: What does the term “Comfort Food” really mean? Does it refer to familiar food that you had as a child? It might, if you liked it, but what if you were forced to eat spinach as a kid? That would be familiar food, but not comfort food. Kathy: We were at Krispy Kreme (4910 W. Broad St.) the other night. That’s a food that would definitely qualify. The “Hot” sign was on and they were making hot, glazed, pumpkin spice doughnuts. We stood on the customer side of the glassed-in doughnut operation and watched the whole, beautiful, frying/ glazing process in action. Lighter than air, hot, sweet and delicious! Yep, that’s comfort food. Victor: I was in the cafeteria of Henrico Doctor’s Hospital on Forest Avenue, recently. In a hospital, the cafeteria can seem like an oasis – an island of tranquility in a troubled sea. They were serving delicious fried cod fish fillets and corn bread. The fish was moist and delicate and the breading was perfect: thin, crispy, and not greasy. The cornbread was great too, with just the slightest touch of sweetness that you hope for, but that is often missing at some places. That was comfort food for sure.
Kathy recently went to Pho Saigon in Lexington Commons Shopping Center at 10190 W. Broad Street in Glen Allen and ordered “Pho to go.” Pho is the ultimate comfort food: huge, steaming bowls of broth and noodles with generous amounts of fresh basil, bean sprouts and jalapeno to add according to your taste. Their menu mentions that they use no MSG and their tofu is organic. I like to get their vegetable pho and if I want something extra hearty, I ask them to add beef or shrimp. Their rolled, fresh spring rolls are also great. Pho looks like something that would be hard to pack as a to-go meal, but Kathy said they know what they are doing and everything was easy to carry and perfect when she enjoyed it at home. They even give you a disposable bowl that is large enough for their very generous serving.
Kathy: If you want comfort food Mediterranean style, go to the Mediterranean Bakery at 9004 Quioccasin Road. Try their fatayers – three cornered, hand held savory pies filled with spinach, feta or other delicious items. Try some of their French bulk feta. They have numerous great fetas to try, but the French is extra creamy and delicious. Their hummus puts the supermarket-type hummus to shame. I think that’s because everything is so fresh and they don’t skimp on quality ingredients. These are some of our go-to spots. Most likely, any tasty food that is enjoyed with good friends and/or family or in a warm, hospitable place would qualify.
That’s a wrap for this issue. Just a reminder: We’re always looking for both restaurant news as well as great dining experiences. So, if you have either to share, send it to Tastebudz@RichmondNavigator.com.
Read Tastebudz Online each week at RichmondNavigator. com. If you have any restaurant news or recommendations, email us at TasteBudz@RichmondNavigator.com.
Julep’s is the perfect place to host your special event!
420 East Grace St., Richmond, VA Monday - Saturday 4:30pm-Close
Book on Yelp • reservations 804.377.3968 •
Romantic Dining by Whitney Kiatsuranon
529 East Broad Street; 804-644-2466; LaGrottaRVA.com La Grotta is Italian for, ‘the cave’, and is an endearing term for a wine cellar. One can dine in the wine cellar room or even at the cozy bar for a more intimate experience. ThIs northern Italian-style ristorante has been a Richmond dining destination in its former Shockhoe location since 1994 and now as it adorns the beautifully historic Arts District. Start with a savory appetizer, fall in love with a delectable entrée and finish with confections that are sure to melt your heart.
101 West Franklin Street; 804-649-4629; LemaireRestaraunt.com Enter the south entrance of The Jefferson Hotel just off Main Street and be prepared to have your senses aroused with the vast beauty that serves to heighten the romantic appeal. Embrace the grand staircase, hand in hand with your own true love, and ascend back into a simpler time with afternoon teas and intimate conversation. You are about to enter one of Richmond’s more succulent dining destinations. Lemaire is rich with a food and cocktail menu dedicated to complementing its sophisticated lounging ambience. 16 RiverCity
January / February 2018
Old Original Bookbinder’s
2306 East Cary Street; 804-643-6900; BookbindersRichmond.com Nestled along Tobacco Row with the prestigious James River at its front door, Bookbinder’s of Richmond has offered diners an elegant dining experience that is sure to please the most seasoned pursuers of steaks and seafood. The exposed brick and warm lighting are sure to heighten your senses and enhance the romantic experience while the exquisite wine menu will pair perfectly with any of the delicious dining options of your choice.
Les Crepes – Carytown
3325 W. Cary St.; 804-355-2038; LeCrepe.net White tablecloths, elegant place settings, glowing candles and soft music playing in the background…what could be more romantic? How about delicious French crepes providing international dining pleasures. That’s what you get when you dine at Les Crepes in Carytown. From the moment you enter the place (It was once a large church), you know you’re in for a very special evening, with that very special someone. From the impeccable service to the appealing menu and excellent wine list, Les Crepes offers romantic dining at its finest.
Hanover Tavern Julep’s
420 E. Grace St.; 804-377-3968; Juleps.net Take the flavors and recipes of the old South (Charleston, New Orleans and Savannah), mix with a professional and friendly staff and serve in one of the city’s most lovely and historic buildings. What a marvelous recipe for romance. In addition to a quality wine list with wines from around the globe, Julep’s also offers a full bar with craft cocktails including Julep’s Virginian – the classic Mint Julep. All you have to do is bring your favorite gal or guy.
13181 Hanover Courthouse Road, Hanover | 804-537-5250 HanoverTavern.org When you step into the beautiful Hanover Tavern, you step back in time to one of only a few surviving colonial era taverns in the United States. You step into an era of genteel elegance accompanied by exceptional customer service. The menu offers a bounty of Southern fare, such as fried green tomatoes, Rappahannock fried oysters, Blue Ridge chicken, and crab cakes, all expertly prepared under the creative direction of Executive Chef Mary Catherine Ortolani. Isn’t it romantic? Indeed! Check their website for information on this year’s special Valentine’s Day Dinner. RichmondNavigator.com 17
The area’s Award Winning Bar and Restaurant with great beer, great food and captivating views of Richmond!
For nearly 25 years, Poe’s Pub has been a friendly neighborhood hangout for the folks in Church Hill, Shockoe Bottom, and Beyond.
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 | www.legendbrewing.com
WITH OVER 100 BEERS ON TAP! 18 RiverCity
January / February 2018
Isn’t it time you made Poe’s Pub your neighborhood hangout?
2706 E. Main Street
Located at the foot of beautiful Libby Hill Park
648-2120 • Like Us On Facebook
HAPPY HOUR GUIDE Les Crepes
Carytown 3325 W. Cary St.; 804-355-2038 Stony Point 9200 Stony Point Pkwy, 804-495-3650 LesCrepe.net Casual dining in a romantic, upscale atmosphere. The emphasis is on a “world” of culinary delights offered in les crepes. Tuesday through Friday 4 to 6 p.m. Sangria (wine or beer) - $6 Rail drinks - $4 Crepes (variety of savory selections) - $8 Beer (select) - $3 Cocktail of the day - $6 Crepes (variety of sweet selections) - $5 Wine (select) $4 to $5 One more thing: Les Crepes is the perfect Carytown location for your next private party or business luncheon (private seating for up to 150 persons).
23rd & Main
2300 E. Main St.; 804-788-7077; 23rdAndMain.com
2301 W. Main St.; 804-358-2514; PiknikRVA2017.wixsite.com/piknik American fare served with a distinctive flair. This Fan restaurant offers small plates, appetizers and entrees along with a creative craft cocktail menu. Monday through Sunday 4 to 7 p.m. Cocktails – select (see below) - $4 Stuffed sweet potato skins - $5 Crispy oysters, lemon aioli - $6 Belton cheddar beef sliders - $6 Pulled pork sliders with red cabbage slaw - $5 Beer battered pickle spears - $5 Grilled Fresno chicken wings - $6 Curried tofu bites - $6 Fish tacos - $7 Roasted Cauliflower tacos with jerk slaw - $6 Truffle, parmesan pop corn - $4 Fried shrimp with Chipotle aioli, $7
Craft beers and wood-fired pizza make this cozy Shockoe Bottom spot a perfect winter destination.
One More Thing: There’s a little history behind the name of each Happy Hour cocktail. Ask your bartender to share that history as you enjoy such beverages as the Dead Man’s Cloud, the Rough Rider, Incan Potion #1638 or the Welsh Dollar.
Monday through Friday 4 to 7 p.m. Craft Beers - $2 off Wine (glass) - $1 off Rail drinks - $4 Beer snacks & starters - $1 off
Lalo’s Cocina Bar & Grill
One More Thing: Saturday and Sunday brunch (11 a.m. – 3 p.m.) features $4 Bloody Marys and Screwdrivers , $5 Mimosas and $14 for pitchers of Mimosas.
Monday through Sunday, 4 to 7 p.m. Classic Margaritas - $4.95 Draft beers - starting at $2 Rail drinks - $4 Flavored mojitos - $6
The Broken Tulip
3129 W. Cary St.; 804-353-4020; TheBrokenTulip.com This unique Carytown restaurant offers a single prix fixe meal each evening at communal tables. The ever-changing menus are as unique as is the concept. The Happy Hour gives guests an opportunity to sample small plates of the delicious fare being offered.
2617 W. Broad St.; 804-257-9930; LalosCocina.com
One More Thing: On Mondays, hard tacos are just a dollar all day and on Tuesdays, enjoy soft authentic tacos for $2 each. Choose from carnitas (pork), pollo (chicken), carne asada (steak) and fish (fish), served with homemade salsa verde.
Wednesday through Saturday 4 to 6 p.m. Small plates - $5 Wine, select – On occasion, the restaurant will be offering by-the-glass special pricing on wines that typically are only available by the bottle. One More Thing: Check the website for their weekly changing, multi-course menu driven by the best products from the farmers, fishermen and foragers of Virginia.
The Cookie Factory Lofts
Richmond’s Sweet Living Experience
Rendering by Commonwealth Architects
by Denise Anquenette
ichmond has seen a plethora of new living communities etched into and inspired by the city’s historical backdrop. When it comes to making something old new again, it’s no surprise that the Cookie Factory Lofts is one of the most intriguing living spaces in town. Built in 1927, this factory started as Southern Biscuit Works. As business grew over the decades, so did the building. Additional stories were added to accommodate the growing demands of the baking business. In time, the name changed, too. The company was renamed Famous Foods of Virginia, also known as F.F.V.
November / December 2017
This factory, once the baker of the famous Girl Scout Cookies, used to roll out thousands of delicious treats, including ice cream sandwiches, cookies and crackers. Located at the edge of The Fan, Scott’s Addition and the VCU district, this renovated factory stands six stories tall. Its illuminated sign and design are a beacon of Richmond’s historical legacy and its charming authentic architectural design. Today, the building is 32,000 sq. ft. and houses 178 units for rent. Living at the Cookie Factory Lofts is no cookie-cutter experience. The apartments have been built into the historical structure of the building,
resulting in 60 distinct floor plans for residents to choose from. The design has a classic elegance due to the large, paned windows and 15-foot ceilings. The bamboo cabinets, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances add a modern touch. Some of the perks of making a home at the Cookie Factory Lofts are that internet access and cable are included in the monthly rent. For the security and convenience of residents, the building and parking are secure. For an additional monthly fee, residents can also have underground parking. Unit sizes and prices vary from $925 for studio apartments to $2,500 for three bedrooms. There are commu-
nity spaces throughout the property. Residents can enjoy the gym, a pool and a community room for entertaining. The Cookie Factory Lofts is also a pet-friendly community for small pets and select dog breeds. What makes living in the Cookie Factory Lofts awesome is the location. Situated between Scott’s Addition—Richmond’s brewery hub— and The Fan, residents are within walking distance of a variety of exciting dining options that are unique to the area. This includes Richmond’s premier breweries and local eateries that range from coffee shops and carry out to fine dining. Carytown, with its eclectic shops and restaurants is within a short driving distance. The property sits next to the Children’s Museum of Richmond and the Science Museum of Virginia and is close to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. If you’re in the mood for cinema, there’s a movie theater nearby. When you need to venture out of the city, highway access to I-95 and the Downtown Expressway is just a few minutes away. So, while the sweet smell of baked treats doesn’t waft through the area as it did decades ago, the legacy of FFV remains. The striking beauty of the building – with its signature sign and water tower, the huge, paned windows, and concrete structure – not only adds to the attraction of the area but is also a stylish, modern, sweet living experience for many. RichmondNavigator.com 21