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JM S TOCK PROVIS I O N S BU TC HER & G RO C ER Y We are a whole animal butchery committed to our relationships with local farms that raise animals using responsible land stewardship and husbandry. This partnership ensures our customers recieve the highest quality and flavor in every product they take home. JM Stock Provisions: Richmond’s home for the locally grown.








Cheryl T. Davis EDITOR








Taylor Esteves-Pearce SENIOR DESIGNER




Camille Robinson Lauren Serpa Luke Witt CONTRIBUTORS

In This Issue 06




Woman of Many Talents



Food, Fun and Art


IN SEARCH OF: Comfort Foods

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LIVING SPACES In the Arts District

About Our Cover: Virginia Commonwealth University’s Institute for Contemporary Arts — the newest addition to the evergrowing VCU downtown landscape — graces this issue’s cover. Designed by architect Steven Holl, the Institute’s only permanent exhibit will be the building itself.

Zach Brown Davy Jones Angela Weight Kathleen Whitlow Luke Witt ADVERTISING

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. 3




ntrigue and mystery reside at the intersection of Broad and Belvidere. Amongst the clamor of everyday traffic, VCU students and other pedestrians and the overall din of a construction site, one question remains: What is that thing? No, it is not the newest intergalactic vehicle for the latest Star Wars or Star Trek movie. It’s the newest addition to the ever-growing VCU landscape downtown — the Institute for Contemporary Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University (ICA). The building itself is named the Markel Center, recognizing the incredible contributions made by that family. The ICA will be a non-collecting institution. This means that there will be no permanent exhibitions, only rotating ones from a wide range of artists including both those with VCU connections as well as contemporary artists from around the world. Works

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by Luke Witt

of art will span across all mediums — painting, sculpture and photography, plus multimedia, ranging from video to sound to touch. It’s a little unclear as to whether the sense of taste will be part of the artwork but don't be surprised as artists move toward an ever-immersive experience. The only permanent exhibit will be the building itself, designed by architect Steven Holl. Holl’s previous works include the Kiasma in Helsinki, Finland, the Horizontal Skyscraper in Shenzhen, China, and the Cite' de l'Ocean et du Surf museum in Biarritz, France. The New York-based architect was influenced by the location of the museum and its various entry points into the community. These entry points will be reflected within the museum’s entrances and exits. The ICA’s location is viewed as a transitional gateway for the city, linking old and new, urban renewal, the past and future of the city.


To understand the why behind the ICA, we must look back to, perhaps, the city’s oldest art gallery. For decades, the Anderson Gallery, which first opened in 1931, was the hub of artistic activity within VCU, presenting juried shows, graduate presentations, as well as exhibits from well-known international artists. It became a beloved hive for the artistic mind, but with the growth of VCU's arts program, the space became outdated and inadequate. Looking for alternatives became a priority. The space permanently closed in 2015 and ground was broken soon thereafter at the intersection of Broad and Belvidere for the ICA. Maura Scanlon, director of communication, told me that the ICA is “an evolution of the Anderson Gallery” and is “not in competition” with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The VMFA is primarily composed of permanent collections with a couple of visiting exhibits. The ICA will display works of contemporary art within four galleries and a performance space. When will the ICA open? “We're aiming for fall,” Scanlon said. Like the autumn leaves, it appears that the architectural, artistic and cultural landscape in Richmond will be changing. RC 5

Richmond’s Arts and Cultural District

The River City’s Creative Hub


by Steve Cook

he Arts District is a little different than the individual neighborhoods that we’ve been spotlighting in previous issues. The official Richmond Arts & Cultural District (ACD) encompasses portions of several of the city’s neighborhoods, including Jackson Ward, the Fan and Monroe Ward. For years, when someone made mention of an “arts district,” they were generally referring to a few blocks along Broad Street, east of Belvidere. However, with its official designation in 2012, the ACD’s borders extend to the State Capitol going east and from Leigh Street to the Downtown Expressway, going north to south. To the west, the boundary extends just a bit west of Belvidere to encompass the VCU Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), opening this fall. I have to admit that before doing research for this article, I did not even know that we had an officially designated Arts & Cultural District. But at least I’m not alone, as Scott Garka, president of Culture Works, explains, “Many Richmonders don’t know yet that we have an ACD and what it has to offer.” Garka’s non-profit organization 6 RiverCity

is dedicated, he says, “to driving a vibrant community by inspiring, enabling and cultivating world-class arts and culture.” Janet Starke, executive director of Richmond Performing Arts Alliance (formerly Richmond CenterStage Foundation) explains just how the ACD contributes to that culture. “With the concentration of galleries, theaters and museums in the area, we have a strong arts vibe in the district of which to be proud, particularly along the Broad Street corridor.” Indeed, the ACD is a happening place. But it’s more than just a fun place to go. “Arts districts have a significant economic impact on localities, attracting businesses, tourists and local residents to a concentrated part of the city or locality,” says Garka. “Richmond’s Arts and Cultural District drives these impacts.” Lucinda McDermott Piro, an artist and the director of education for Richmond Performing Arts Alliance, says that it’s very important that the city have such a district. “It’s what makes RVA unique.” In regards to her vision for the future of the district, she says, “I would love to see more outdoor venues, or even small spots, where musicians

“A walk through the ACD on one of our First Friday evenings provides a glimpse into the robust arts and culture available to Richmonders and tourists alike in the District, and in the region overall. Many more galleries, additional theaters, restaurants and boutique businesses are continuing the growth of this thriving part of the city and additional development is in the works.” — Scott Garka, president of Culture Works

or performers could perform for free, paid by the city because they would indeed be a draw.” To continue to grow and develop the district, Piro says there are things the city can and should do, like make housing and studio space available and affordable in the downtown area. “Once a city starts to push its artists out with unaffordable housing, then you lose the heartbeat of an arts district,” she adds. Garka, too, wants to see continued development within the district. “For example, when visitors to Richmond attend events at the Convention Center, when they walk outside and begin to head west, the area immediately adjacent to the Convention Center appears very different than the thriving area of galleries, theaters, restaurants and more that are a walkable distance just west of there,’’ he says. “I’d like to see the full ACD become developed in a way that feels safe and attractive to visitors and residents.” If visionaries such as Piro and Garka have their way, the ACD will only become more vibrant and attractive to residents and to tourists. However, even now, there’s much to see and do. “First Fridays has been instrumental in bringing visitors from the

greater Richmond region and from further away, to the district on the first Friday of each month,” Garka explains. “A walk through the ACD on one of these evenings provides a glimpse into the robust arts and culture available to Richmonders and tourists alike in the District, and in the region overall. In recent years, many more galleries, additional theaters, restaurants and boutique businesses are continuing the growth of this thriving part of the city and additional development is in the works.” Part of that development, as the Arts District becomes ever more attractive, includes the creation of more residential properties. The Deco at CNB is a prime example of that. Read more about this impressive new apartment community in our “Living Spaces” feature on page 23. If you haven’t yet discovered Richmond’s Arts & Cultural District, it’s high time you plan a little excursion. You don’t have to wait until the next First Friday, but that is when the ACD truly comes alive. Whenever you visit, here are just a few of the stops along the way that we would recommend. 7

Visual and Performing Arts


1708 GALLERY – 319 W. Broad St.;

CHARM SCHOOL – 311 W. Broad St.;

1708 Gallery is committed to providing opportunities for artistic innovation for emerging and established artists.

There’s art in them thar ice cream cones. This is not your typical ice cream parlor. But you’ll have to see that for yourselves.

ADA GALLERY – 228 W. Broad St.;

ADA is an artist-run contemporary art gallery. COALITION THEATER – 8 W. Broad St.;

They take their comedy seriously at Coalition Theater, with live improvisational comedy every week. They also offer a variety of improv classes. DOMINION ARTS CENTER – 600 E. Grace St.; This beautiful facility offers three theaters, including the fully renovated and restored historic Carpenter Theatre, which is the cornerstone of the Center. It also houses the 200-seat Gottwald Playhouse, providing an intimate space to enjoy top regional and local talent, and Rhythm Hall, a multi-purpose space that is used to showcase local performing artists and an array of activities, concerts and community gatherings. Attached to Rhythm Hall, Showcase Gallery has 1,500 square feet of space for visual art shows—painting, sculpture and more—that can be coordinated with local arts events.

JULEP’S NEW SOUTHERN CUISINE – 420 E. Grace St.; The tastes of the South combine with Julep’s elegant atmosphere and the charm of its historic building to create an extraordinary dining experience. MAPLE & PINE RESTAURANT – 201 W. Broad St.; An exciting culinary discovery awaits at this newcomer to the city’s dining scene, located in the Quirk Hotel. MA X’S ON BROAD – 305 Brook Road (corner of Broad and

Adams streets); This quaint, elegant eatery offers a wide array of Belgian- and French-inspired entrées, with a heavy emphasis on seafood and their fantastic steak frites. PASTURE – 416 E. Grace St.;

Locavore Southern fare and craft beers with a small-plates emphasis in an airy, minimalist setting.

GALLERY5 – 200 W. Marshall St.;


Gallery5 is an award-winning, community-motivated visual and performing arts center that has become a premier venue for local and regional audiences.

St.; FB: PerlysRichmond This venerable city landmark is back and better than ever, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Think lox and bagels, matzo ball soup and amazing Reubens, plus cream sodas and cocktails.

QUIRK GALLERY – 207 W. Broad St.;

Quirk features exhibitions of innovative work by both established and emerging artists. The Quirk shop offers a thoughtfully selected inventory of unique, practical and decorative items. THE NOVEMBER THEATRE AT VIRGINIA REP – 114 W.

Broad St.; The Sara Belle and Neil November Theatre opened as the Empire Theatre on Dec. 24, 1911. Virgnia Rep stages a variety of dramas, comedies and musicals in this historic venue. VCU INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART (opening

Fall 2017) – 818 W. Broad St.; This non-collecting museum will showcase a fresh slate of changing, innovative exhibitions, performances, films and special programs.

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RAPPAHANNOCK – 320 E. Grace St.;

Fresh farm-to-table oysters, along with other delicacies such as wood-grilled scallops and yellow fin tuna, are served with select craft beers, fine wines and creative signature cocktails. SAISON – 23 W. Marshall St.;

Saison serves modern, locally sourced Southern and Latin American fusion fare, plus draft beer and creative cocktails.


A Woman of Considerable Talents


an District resident Lauren Serpa is a woman of many talents and they all tend to center around her love of music and entertaining. Lauren was the photographer who captured the images for a story we did on Reggie Pace, a member of the popular No BS Brass Band in our January/February issue of River City Magazine. I met up with Lauren in a Fan-area restaurant one evening to talk about her photography. That’s when I discovered that there was virtually no end to this young woman’s talents. She loves photographing concerts, but her love for music goes way beyond that. Lauren also teaches music at Spring Run Elementary School in Midlothian. The native of North Dakota, who describes herself as a “military brat,” said that she developed a love for music when she began playing the flute in the school band at the age of 10. And about 10 years ago, her mother gave her a point-and-shoot camera. Combining her love of music and her new-found love for photography, she began capturing images of local bands. But wait; there’s more. Lauren is also into improvisational comedy. How did that come about? About five years ago, Lauren explained, after enjoying some of the performances by the Richmond Comedy Coalition, she was tempted by the idea of giving improv a try. “It looked terrifying but also really fun,” she said. “I decided to take a class, thinking if this is terrifying and I hate it, I won’t come back again.”

by Steve Cook

As it so happened, she didn’t hate it. “Every lesson involved hysterical laughter,” she said. After completing the oneyear class, Lauren auditioned and became a regular in the Coalition’s house team, where she now appears every other Saturday. That was four years ago. She also performs in the Coalition’s Improvised Musical, where the performers take a suggestion from the audience and then immediately create a 45-minute musical that ends with the entire troupe doing a rousing closing number. Speaking of rousing numbers, Lauren has also recorded with several local musicians, playing the flute. She can be heard on Natalie Prass’ self-titled debut album, and she sang on Matthew E. White’s Big Inner album. Lauren is the oldest of four children and although her family is scattered along the east coast of the United States, they remain close. “My mom was the glue that held the family together,” she said. “After she passed away about five years ago [from cancer], we each found our own ways to stay close.” I asked her which of her careers she likes best. “I really love all the things I do, but photography is my biggest therapy.” To assist her in that therapy, we’ve asked Lauren to be one of the regular photographers for this magazine. Now, if she can just find the time. 9

Markiss Blowfish THE VOICE OF THE MARKET by Davy Jones


y wife and I have been going to the South of the James Farmers Market in Forest Hill Park for years to pick up produce and other goods, and while Mrs. Yoder's Kitchen donuts (a regular vendor at the market) are powerful motivators, I most look forward to the warm, bluesy welcome offered by Mark Branch, who performs under the name Markiss Blowfish. I chatted with Branch recently in his Manchester home, and I asked how his stage name came about. “So my name is Mark, and I didn’t want to use Marcus, so I said ‘kiss.’ And the ‘Blowfish’ came from [the fact that] I’m a Pisces, and I play the harmonica. Blowfish.” With his booming voice, signature straw cowboy hat and decorated guitars (he insists they prefer to be called his “wives”), Branch, who drives a school bus during the week, has become a fixture at South of the James on weekends. He’s impossible to miss on your way in: “You got to come through me, and you’ve got to come through me to get out,” Branch joked. He’s especially hard for kids to miss. My two-year-old daughter loves dancing along to Branch’s music, and she’s not alone. “Kids are locked into me. When I talk to those kids, I mingle with everybody. I don’t brush anybody off,’’ Branch said. “You’re involved [or] I get you involved.” In that sense, he’s paying forward a gift given to him by his music-loving parents. Branch grew up a New Yorker, and his Jamaican mother passed down a love of reggae. His father, a Chesterfield, Va. native, had an ear for classical music. Branch’s taste in music is wide-ranging, though he was focused on jazz during his time in the

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Army as a young man: The Crusaders, Stanley Turrentine, Miles Davis, Chick Corea. His horizons expanded after his time in the service was up and he, his kids and his father moved down to Virginia. “I’m listening to classical, I listen to blues, I listen to rock, I listen to reggae, I listen to world music, I listen to it all,” he explained. “I didn’t really get into blues [until] when I got down here and started playing the harmonica. I guess my father was trying to figure out, ‘What am I going to do with this boy?’ so he bought me a harmonica.” In 2002, after a year with the instrument, the music coursing through Branch’s veins started to overflow. “I was playing harmonica,” Branch said, “but I was also writing songs. Not a whole lot, but harmonica can’t play the whole song.” He joined a songwriting group called VOCAL (Virginia Organization of Composers and Lyricists), and got a guitar — his first “wife,” Beverly. “It took me a couple years to learn,” Branch remembered, “because nobody was going to teach me, and [lessons were] going to cost too much, so everything – even the harmonica — was selftaught.” It didn’t take long for Branch and Beverly to make the transition to playing for others to enjoy. “I said, ‘Man, I have all this music, but I’m not doing anything with it.’ So I started busking down at Shockoe Slip. Not the Bottom, because it was too loud. I started busking there on Friday, and I said, ‘Damn! I’m making good money! I’m going to come down here every Friday and Saturday night for a couple of hours, from nine till about 11 o’clock.’”

He and Beverly held court there for six years while seeking out other gigs. He considered playing at the 17th Street Farmers Market, but found it too loud, and was referred to South of the James. He’s been there for nine years now — a period that’s seen the market grow significantly. “They might have had only 10, 15 vendors when I started with them. As the years went by, we started to grow, and my income grew. Everybody wanted to see me there every Saturday morning. When they hear the voice, they say ‘Oh, the market is open!’” While Beverly was damaged and rests peacefully at home, he uses her successors — also named and decorated — to play original compositions that usher shoppers in with driving rhythms and passionate singing. Branch told me that he now has three “wives.” Betty Lou is his “main squeeze” but he also has Sweet Doreen and Shirley Blue. He said he chooses which guitar to use, “depending upon how they feel.” In addition to his original music, he does play some covers and he speaks about the music he absorbs with infectious enthusiasm. “I just worked on one by Ray Charles,” he mentioned. “‘Isn’t It Wonderful.’ That’s a beautiful song, but I blues’d it up. You probably wouldn’t even tell [that] it was his song. I do Johnny Cash, I do Hank Williams, a lot of Muddy Waters. I do a little John Lee Hooker. I listen to certain songs and I say, ‘Oh man, that’s a nice song. Let me learn this song — the lyrics to it. Let me see what I can do with it.’” Whether he’s playing a cover or an original tune, there’s joy in simply walking along with his voice in tow, just as there is in lingering long enough to dig into whole songs. I asked Branch what he enjoyed most about playing at the farmers market. “The atmosphere is nice. You come as is and you bring all,” Branch said. “You bring your mama, your grandmother, your girlfriend. You bring the dogs, you bring whatever you can. You come down there, you shop till you drop, and you see that everybody’s happy.” While he’s been on a break during the colder months, you can find him there again in April. I asked Branch if he ever missed New York. “Just for the food,” he replied. It strikes me now that if I were to move away from Richmond, I would dearly miss the food from the South of the James Farmers Market — especially those donuts — and I would miss the way Markiss Blowfish made me feel while I was walking toward Mrs. Yoder’s truck. RC 11



t is the first Friday of the month and you’re moving east on Broad Street. You’re hungry, you’re thirsty, and you’re dying for a little culture. Fortunately, you just crossed Belvidere and right up until you clear 8th Street all three of your wishes are about to be granted. This is First Fridays in the River City. First Fridays Art Walk is a monthly event that has become a Richmond tradition. Although there is no exact area of the walk, the Art District is generally agreed to hover around the outskirts of Jackson Ward and along Broad Street, with a rotating number of galleries participating in the event. Despite the inconclusive starting 12 RiverCity

line to the art walk, you will certainly know when you are there. Musicians, performers and artists fill the sidewalks as art walkers hop from gallery to restaurant to shops. There is no denying that Richmond is an art city. VCU boasts the best public university graduate school art program in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report, and 11 of the school’s disciplines are listed in the top 15 of their category in the nation. With such a hub planted in the center of our city, it’s no wonder that the magnitude of artists in the city is so large and why a monthly art walk has gained such traction in the Richmond culture. Rebecca Blakeslee, a recent graduate from

by Zach Brown

the VCU School of the Arts Department of Painting and Printmaking, moved from North Carolina to attend the school. “One of the things that drew me to this city is the strong community of artists, as people in Richmond appreciate all kinds of art,” she tells me. It was the Art Walk that cemented her love for the River City. “The First Friday Art Walk is one of my favorite events,” she continues. “When I go out to these galleries, I get to see the work of former professors, classmates, and both local and foreign artists, which really inspires me and my own art practice.” Leading galleries such as 1708, ADA, and Gallery 5 have become staples of not just First Fridays, but the whole economy. In the last decade, downtown Broad Street has

seen the rise of establishments, restaurants and retailers that has caused a drastic facelift to the area. One of those establishments, Quirk Hotel, has made waves by housing one of Richmond’s first rooftop bars. Quirk Gallery, the trailblazer for the hotel, has been promoting Richmond’s art scene since 2005, where they have displayed pieces from around the world and from right here in Richmond. The same is true of dozens of galleries and forums that participate in the Art Walk. So, if you ever want to experience the true nature of Richmond’s art-inspired spirit, make sure to keep your calendars cleared on the first Friday of the month because downtown Broad Street is calling you. 13

City Markets by Kathleen Whitlow


ichmond is known to foodies as a dream destination for its restaurants, but it’s also home to a plethora of specialty markets that carry sought-after ingredients and fresh, pre-made, items. Some of these markets are known to local Richmonders, but some are hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. Get your reusable grocery bags ready and let’s go shopping.


1007 Lafayette St.; 804-358-0020; Stella’s Grocery, in the heart of the Near West End, is home to some of the best pre-made items in the city. The market sells to-go items from Stella’s restaurant, which is directly across the street. Items include popular staples, such as their pastichio (a bechamel topped baked pasta), as well as other fresh dishes of fish, hummus, desserts, salads and more. The grocer also carries a variety of wine and beer, as well as a great selection of items to prepare your own homemade Greek dish. Stella’s Grocery also creates beautiful pre-set menus of to-go dinners for the holidays.


201 N Lombardy St.; 804-355-4172 FB – Lombardy Market Locally owned and operated for nearly 35 years, Lombardy Market is a favorite of area residents. The market is known for its fresh deli sandwiches, produce (including Hanover tomatoes) and specialty grocery items. Lombardy is also famous for its great selection of wine as well as craft beers. Lombardy Market also boasts the best deviled eggs in the city, along with a variety of fresh baked goods and chicken and tuna salads.


1531 West Main St.; 804-257-4300; With locations in both Richmond and Charlottesville, JM Stock Provisions sells the highest quality of local, grass-fed beef and pasture-raised meats. The folks at this popular retailer have made it their primary goal to form lasting and strong relationships with Virginia farmers, so they can make products available to customers on a daily basis. Their passion lies in creating a community of educated customers. In the store, you will also find a great selection of wine, beer, cheese, prepared items and a fine selection of other items to complement or complete any meal. Offerings from the shop include what they call the “whole damn animal,” meaning they offer a “wide variety of cuts to match anyone's taste and needs.” That wide variety includes Virginia grown, 100 percent grass-fed beef, pastured pork from Autumn Olive Farms, pastured lamb from Meadow's Pride, as well as homemade sausages and charcuterie.


2306 Jefferson Ave.; 804-716-7233; With the variety of locally made products available at Union Market on Union Hill, shopping there offers somewhat the experience you might get shopping at one of the city’s farmers markets. Hunter Robertson, co-owner, told me that the store carries breads from several area bakers, including Billy Bread. You can also shop for sushi and other prepared items from Sticky Rice Restaurant in the Fan as well as delicacies from the Mediterranean Bakery in the West End. The market also offers an excellent selection of local craft beers and Virginia wines. The adjoining restaurant serves sandwiches, soups, salads and charcuteries, and, at the bar, enjoy beer, wine and Kombucha. Check their Facebook page for info on live entertainment on the patio. Oh yeah, they do sell groceries, too.


In Search Of: Comfort Foods Legend Brewing Co.

321 W. 7th St. 804-232-3446

What began as a small tasting room and pub back in 1994, has grown into a full size 180-seat restaurant with a 200-seat deck and small beer garden. The warm, friendly pub atmosphere is still the same. Come enjoy one of Legend’s “throwback entrees,” their legendary Mac & Cheese, featuring creamy alfredo, red onion, cheddar jack cheese, bowtie pasta, finished in the oven and topped with grilled or fried chicken.

Capital Ale House

623 E. Main St. 804-780-2537

The amazing selection of exceptional beers is what brings folks in to Capital Ale House, but the friendly service and delicious food bring them back. The Classic Triple-Decker Club is composed of three slices of toasted Texas toast combined with deli-sliced smoked turkey and ham. The club is perfectly layered with cheddar and Havarti cheese, fresh tomato, and crisp lettuce. To make the layers complete it’s finished with freshly made savory bacon and the house Tomato Aioli. The sandwich is quartered and stacked with its perfect partner, salty and delicious french fries.

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In Search Of: Comfort Foods


1213-1215 Summit Ave.; 804-353-0111; These two side-by-side restaurants share the same management team, similar menus and a cozy, warm atmosphere. Virtually everything coming out of the kitchen could be considered comfort foods. One of our favorites is the Brisket, Pork, and Buffalo Meatloaf, which is house ground, seasoned, wrapped in bacon and topped with a tomato, honey, bourbon glaze, served over mashed potatoes and bacon-parmesan Brussel sprouts

Hanover Tavern

13181 Hanover Courthouse Rd.; Opinions vary on how shrimp and grits became so popular, but the dish’s origin is rarely in dispute: it hails from the Lowcountry of South Carolina and Georgia, combining the Southern tradition of grits — those rough-ground corn grains, simmered to make a soft, porridge-like dish — with shrimp. Gullah slaves would catch shrimp in the Lowcountry marshes, adding them to their grits. Charlestonians often ate it for breakfast during shrimp season, sometimes using the small, immature creek shrimp for their sweeter flavors. Hanover Tavern takes you to the coast with their version of Shrimp and Grits, serving jumbo shrimp over local Byrd’s Mill stone-ground white cheddar grits in a light sherry cream sauce with bacon. 17

An American Pub With an Irish Influence

Join us every Sunday. It all starts at 11AM with a great brunch menu.

For nearly 25 years, Poe’s Pub has been a friendly neighborhood hangout for the folks in Church Hill, Shockoe Bottom, and Beyond.

Restaurant & Bar Hours: Mon.– Thu. 11:30AM – 11:00PM Fri.– Sat. 11:30AM – Midnight Sun. 11:30AM – 10:00PM

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

Bluegrass/Americana Music Every Sunday Night!

Isn’t it time you made Poe’s Pub your neighborhood hangout… 2706 E. Main Street

(Where Church Hill meets Shockoe Bottom)

648-2120 •

4024-C Cox Rd, Glen Allen • 804-747-8294 14221 Hull Street Rd, Chesterfield • 804-223-8182

Fresh, Healthy, and Deliciously Different


BUY ONE GET ONE CHICKEN ROLL-UP ENTRÉE Not valid with any other offers. Expires 04/28/17

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by Elena Marinaccio and Steve Cook

We welcome a new Taste Bud to this issue...Elena Marinaccio, our new managing editor. And more big news: she and I are now doing TasteBudz Minutes, heard Wednesdays through Fridays on radio stations Hank 93.1, The Wolf 98.9 and BBT 107.3.

HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE: One of the year’s most anticipated events is the Virginia Wine Expo, to be held at the Richmond Convention Center March 8 through 12. The Expo features so many great events that take place at cool venues around town. Check their website (below) for full details. The main event is the the Walk-Around Grand Tastings on Saturday and Sunday. You’ll be able to taste not only some great Virginia wines, but the wines of the 2017 International Guest Region, Spain and Portgual, and National Guest Region, Sonoma County, California. The Walk-Around takes place at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. At this all-inclusive event, more than 650 bottles of wine will be available to taste. For tickets and additional information, visit (SC)

URBAN ROOST: It’s also referred to as “the compound,” by the waitresses at Lunch.Supper! (1213-1215 Summit Ave.) and it’s continuing to grow. I’m talking about the huge lot behind the conjoined restaurants. Owner Rick Lyons has introduced a beer garden and—the really big news—a full-service event hall to complement their booming catering business. “We do a lot of weddings,” Lyons told me at my early morning visit to the brand new venue. ”And we just had so many requests for catering we decided to build out this whole space for it.” The concept for the 2,300 sq. ft. former home of a motorcycle mechanic shop: bringing the cozy barn feel—replete with reclaimed Virginia wood picnic tables, soft-yellow string lights threaded along the ceiling and three massive fireplaces with wood A SNEAK PEEK AT THE URBAN ROOST mantles handmade by Lyons himself—into the city. Lyons also built out an attached catering kitchen to handle the to-go and in-house catering orders, which includes a completely customizable choice of housemade farm-to-table favorites. “We’ve done everything from whole hogs to sliced prime rib and everything in between,” Lyons told me. “We make sure that we’re over the top with our catering. That’s one thing we pride ourselves on.” (EM)

GOING NUTS ABOUT THE FOOD: The Richmond Flying Squirrels have proven since just about day one that you don’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy heading out to the Diamond. In fact, you might want to go just for the food. Whitney and I had the chance to meet with Josh Barban,the team’s head chef and director of food and beverage, recently. Josh had prepared a few of the delicacies that fans will be enjoying this year. My favorite was the West Coast Dog. This ain’t your average hot dog. It’s topped with jalapeno-mango barbecue sauce, pico de gallo, tortilla strips and chipotle mayonnaise. Much like a Hunter Strickland fastball, this dog has a little heat to it. The item that Josh was most excited about was a spin (maybe I should say a “curve”) on your everyday mac and cheese. This baseball-shaped dish features battered, deep-fried macaroni and cheese, with smoked beef brisket mixed in and topped with a moonshine sauce. Josh says that it’s a “complete Southern meal all in one.” (SC)



GRACIAS MACIAS: One of my favorite hangouts in town is Lalo’s


Cocina Bar & Grill at 2617 W. Broad. Not only are the food and drink exceptional, but the biggest draw is Lalo Macias, the owner and his brother Victor, who is the manager. They have the perfect restaurant personalities. The two brothers have recently announced that they’re teaming up as partners to open a new Mexican eatery at the corner of 6th and Main Streets. Victor tells me that they are hoping to open Chicano’s Cocina Bar & Grill in time for Cinco de Mayo. The two are working on the menu now. Lalo is also about to unveil a new menu at his place. One item that will be featured is the shrimp and spinach appetizer, which also includes Lalo’s homemade chorizo. If it’s not on the menu by the time you read this, just ask for it. You’ll love it. (SC)

owner of The Franklin Inn has just announced plans for a new restaurant at 201 N. Belmont. He’s calling the restaurant “The Stables.” There’s definitely going to be an equine theme in the place, says Steve. That’s his nod to the history of the building. “It was originally a late 1800s carriage house and had once served as the stables for the Richmond Police Department. Referring to the open kitchen at one end of the bar, Steve says,“Some of the best seats in town will be right across from our chef, Evan Campbell.” Evan, who has worked at the Trophy Room in Boston and Café Catura, here, is currently working on a menu that will feature new-American cuisine. (SC)

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Chesterfield’s best kept secret... V for Sisit Us u Brun nday ch!

Raise the Bar

Ask about our Banquet Room: Able to accommodate up to 50 people our banquet facility is perfect for Rehearsal Dinners, Birthdays and Anniversaries, Business and Retirement dinners, Holiday Parties, Breakfast Meetings and large Lunch or Dinner parties. HOURS: Mon–Thurs, 11am-10pm • Fri–Sat, 11am-11pm • Sun: 10am-2pm SUNDAY BRUNCH: 10 am-2 pm • HAPPY HOUR: Monday-Friday, 3-6 pm

804-930-1034 • 3530 Festival Park Plaza, Chester, VA 23831

20 RiverCity 804-780-ALES

HAPPY HOUR GUIDE Amuse Restaurant

804-340-1580; 200 North Boulevard VMFA.Museum/visit/dining/ Nestled upstairs in one of the country’s finest museums, you will find a restaurant that some would say is a piece of art in itself. From the food to the drinks, you won’t be disappointed.


804-353-0111; 1213-15 Summit Ave.; Supper, which sits right next door to its sister restaurant, Lunch, serves the “best meal of the day,” regardless of when you arrive, including breakfast (in Lunch). Get it?

DAILY 3 P.M. TO 7 P.M. DAILY 2:30 TO 4:30 P.M.; THURSDAY AND FRIDAY UNTIL 6 P.M. Draft beer and wine $1 off Beer and traditional cocktails – $2 off

Classic beers $1 off

Rail liquor $3.50

ONE MORE THING: Jazz on Thurdays, downstairs in the Best Café, ONE MORE THING: On Wednesday nights carafes of wine are offered at discounted prices. which is open until 9 p.m. Happy hour goes until 7:30 p.m.


My Noodle & Bar

804-308-1613; 1600 Monument Avenue; The only restaurant on Richmond’s historic Monument Avenue, My Noodle is quaintly tucked in the basement of Stuart Court apartments, where you will find a rare gem of a restaurant featuring treehouses, swings and an overall fun environment.

DAILY 4 TO 7 P.M. Drafts – $4 House wine – $5

High balls – $4 Select appetizers – $5.50

ONE MORE THING: Enjoy home delivery of great Thai food as well as beer and wine (with food orders) to residents within a threemile radius of the restaurant.


804-353-7678; 1223 West Main Street; Home to one of Richmond’s best keep secret deck-top bars. Enjoy brunch on a warm and sunny Saturday or Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY 3:30 TO 6:30 P.M. Virginia draft beers ½ off Postbellum Punch $6

Featured Wine $5

Big Island Oysters from Virginia $1 each Truffle honey, herbs and parmesan frites $4 Salt and pepper frites $3 Soft pretzel $5 Rosemary smoked peanuts $3 Bourbon candied pecans $3 Pork cracklins $3 Taco of the day $3 Loaded kettle chips $8

804-780-0416; 416 East Grace Street; This cool storefront eatery is famous for serving updated Southern dishes.

MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY 4 TO 7 P.M. All taps $2 off Snacks ½ off

Select glasses of wine $5

ONE MORE THING: Virginia's best farmers and producers are featured on the menu. You’ll find Virginia ham and cheeses, fresh fish and shellfish, meat, and vegetables on their seasonal menu.

Star-Lite Dining and Lounge

2600 W. Main St.; 804-254-2667; Combine a laid back tavern atmosphere with loyal locals, great burgers, fantastic onion rings and the “Triple Happiness” Happy Hour , mix well and you’ll have the Star-Lite.

MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY 3 TO 7 P.M. All of the following are $3 each: House liquor Draft beer Cheese fries Draft wine

Bavarian pretzel with cheese Beer-battered onion rings Mozzarella balls ONE MORE THING: Every Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. all burgers are half-priced (with a side)

ONE MORE THING: You will find a variety of local products used throughout their menu, such as Sausage Craft, Rudy’s Mushrooms, 7 Hill Beef and Ashland Milling Co. 21

Satisfy Your Seafood Craving!

Virgi MM t ni a’s Raw tensiv e Ba r MECHANICSVILLE


893-4093 1300 Sycamore Square

22 RiverCity

559-4370 6078 Mechanicsville Turnpike

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


Living Spaces In the HeART of the Arts District by Steve Cook


ith this issue of River City Magazine, we launch a new feature — “Living Spaces.” Folks are discovering that our River City is not just for the “Byrds” and Richmond is becoming the place to live. This new feature will focus on the coolest residential options offered throughout Richmond. As the migration into the city picks up steam, real estate investors will continue to build new apartments and condos. Old houses are being made new again, as many discover the charm of living in the Fan or Church Hill or virtually any other city neighborhood you might care to mention. Many of our older structures, including former offices and warehouses, are being repurposed and transformed into beautiful living spaces. We’ll be exploring the most exciting of these new projects in coming issues.

23 RiverCity

Because we are featuring our vibrant Arts District in our “Neighborhoods” section of this issue, we figured there’s no better place to start exploring living spaces than in the Arts District. One of the most impressive new apartment complexes, right in the heart of this vibrant neighborhood, is the recently opened Deco at CNB, located at 219 E. Broad Street. The “CNB” refers to Central National Bank, which formerly had its home in the 23-story ziggurat-style structure that for many years (since 1929) dominated the city’s skyline. Brian Clay, the property manager for Drucker & Falk, the Deco’s management firm, says that John Eberson, the architect who designed the skyscraper, had been inspired by the Empire State Building. While the building may not attract King Kong, there is no other residence anywhere in the area that can offer the panoramic views of this complex, which was developed for residential use by Douglas Development. Clay says the Deco features, “beautiful luxury apartment homes with a perfect mix of the historical Art Deco and Modern styles.” Indeed, virtually every aspect of this building demonstrates the developer’s focus on creating a luxurious lifestyle. “In every apartment,” says Clay, “you'll find the latest finishes such as quartz countertops, stainless steel backsplashes, stainless steel appliances, custom two-tone cabinetry and travertine-style floors.” The amenities are amazing. “We have a clubroom with pool tables, shuffle board, foosball and entertainment kitchen,” Clay adds. But that’s just the beginning. The complex offers a business center with Wi-Fi and wireless printing, as well as a lounge with an electric fireplace. For those who want to “get physical,” there’s also a state-of-the-art fitness center and a yoga studio with Fitness on Demand, a virtual group fitness program. A rooftop terrace and lounge featuring a bocce ball court will be coming this spring. The facility also provides complimentary bike storage. The Deco offers studio, one- and two-bedroom units. But if this sounds like the lifestyle you desire, bear in mind that there are only about 50 apartments still available. To learn more or to schedule a visit, go to or call the rental office at 804-447-4052. 24

Experience gourmet Northern Italian cuisine.


LUNCH: Mon-Fri 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. | DINNER: Mon-Thu 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

529 E. Broad St., Richmond, Va. • (804) 644-2466 • 25

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