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RiverCity March / April 2018

In Search Of:







2 3 2 2 7 W. B R OA D S T.

2 6 0 0 W. M A I N S T.

5 7 2 4 PAT T E R S O N AV E .

10 01 W. G R AC E S T.

1213 -1215 S U MMI T AV E .


William J. Davis, Jr.


Cheryl T. Davis


Paul Pearlman


Steve Cook








Tammy Wersinger


Michael Lay


Ryan Hooley


Joey Wharton


Jimmy Davis



Davy Jones, Ashley Jefferson, Whitney Kiatsuranon, Josh Young EDITORIAL INTERN


In This Issue 03


Supporting Richmond’s Ronald McDonald House Charities

Comfort Foods

BIG PIG 2018





Interview with Brock Scott



Unlikely Spy & Unsung Hero

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March / April 2018






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.

About Our Cover:

When our photographer and digital content manager Joey Wharton heard that our search for great comfort food would be taking us to Café Rustika, he quickly volunteered to capture the images, which he did with both his camera and a fork. Joey’s image of the Jägerschnitzel with a red wine and mushroom sauce mysteriously disappeared shortly after this picture was taken. To learn more about the dish, turn to In Search of Comfort Foods and let us whet your appetite.


Articles and contents of this magazine are not necessarily the opinions or thoughts of RiverCity magazine, Advertising Concepts, Inc. or the publisher.


BIG PIG 2018 Supporting Richmond’s Ronald McDonald House Charities


by Whitney Kiatsuranon

here are few things more difficult than having a sick child in the hospital. But, add to that, having to sleep in a chair, pay for a hotel room or travel back home just to get some rest, and it’s almost unbearable. To help alleviate some of the stress for families of children in two local hospitals, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Richmond provides a variety of free services — from overnight accommodations and daycare for healthy siblings to meals for the whole family. But, offering a “home away from home’’ for these families isn’t cheap. To help the charity continue its vital service, Lunch.Dinner! has teamed up with other area business to present the second annual Big Pig Project on April 21st at the restaurant, 1215 Summit Ave. in Scott’s Addition. The kid- and dog-friendly event, which will be held from noon to 6 p.m., features a barbecue street festival, ceramic pig auction, live country music, local craft market, beer, wine and more. The highlight will be the 50 ceramic pigs, which are sponsored and painted by local businesses, then auctioned off throughout the day. Last year’s pigs went for $200 to $3,000. While admission is free, there is a suggested $5 donation. Proceeds will help support all the programs offered by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Richmond, which cares for families of sick children not only from the U.S. but from countries all over the world. Most of these families are dealing with a child diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, while trying to relocate so they can be closer to a hospital that can best care for the needs of their child. With medical bills and traveling expenses, hotel costs may be out of reach. That’s where the Ronald McDonald House comes in. The Richmond house, located on historic Monument Avenue, features nine bedrooms, four common areas and

a kitchen with double appliances. The home — equipped with toys, an outdoor play space for children and a community support system — can house these families for anywhere from weeks to months without a single expense. In addition to the main house, Ronald McDonald House Charities also offers several additional programs that are free to patients and their families, such as: Ronald McDonald Family Rooms – Located at Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, it offer free, overnight accommodations for families within the walls of the hospital. There are three at VCU and two at St. Mary’s. Ronald McDonald House Sibling Center – Located at the Children’s Pavilion at Children’s Hospital of Richmond (CHoR) at VCU, the center provides a place where families can receive free childcare for their healthy children while accompanying their sick child to doctor’s appointments. Happy Wheels Hospitality Cart – Three hospitality carts, pushed through the pediatric and neonatal units at Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital and ChoR at VCU, offer small comforts such as snacks, beverages and activity kits to families and patients who must spend long hours in the hospital. Lunches with Love – Boxed lunches are prepared by volunteers and delivered daily to the caregivers in the Neonatal Intensive Care and Pediatric Intensive Care Units at St. Mary’s and CHoR at VCU. For more information on Ronald McDonald’s House Charities of Richmond or the Big Pig Project, visit 3


by Steve Cook


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Photo: Josh Young

young Church Hill resident, who While recognizing the popularity of handstarted his career by building made brooms, he also realized that there E-commerce websites for multimilweren’t many broom makers left. “Their lion-dollar retailers, has gone back in time median age was about 75,” he estimates. for the second phase of his professional life. “Not many young people were taking up the Drew Dayberry has transitioned from comtorch. peting in the high-tech industry of the 21st Armed with that knowledge, the young century to running a startup business that entrepreneur decided to learn the trade. He would’ve been right at home in 18th-centuenlisted a 90-something broom maker in ry America. West Virginia, as well as a couple of craftsIt’s been a fascinating journey for Daybermen in North Carolina, to teach him the bary, who runs Roaring Pines at 2025 Venable sics of the business. Realizing that the the number of broom makers was St. in Church Hill. He grew disillusioned with To Dayberry, making brooms has become declining, Dayberry decided to learn the trade, enlistbuilding E-commerce sites for large comsomewhat of a passion. “We have such a ing the help of an elderly West Virginia broom maker. panies, so he started working with smaller long history of broom making in AmeriAmerican manufacturers. In 2013, he decided to take ca,” he says, explaining that the good ol’ American the best of those products and start his own business broom is made of broomcorn, once a major agricultural product grown throughout much of the United selling American-made goods online. States, especially in the Midwest. Today, most of the With a background in retail, the budding businessbroomcorn (not corn at all, but rather sorghum) he man set out to open his own brick-and-mortar store uses comes from Texas and northern Mexico. about two years ago, so he could offer customers a variety of high-quality products. “Brooms impressed me “The brooms that are generally sold in the big-box the most,” he says. His interest could have been sparked stores have a little broomcorn on the outside but conby the fact that his handmade American brooms were tain filler grass on the inside,” he explains. That’s the in such huge demand that “they kept disappearing,” he stuff that falls out when you try to sweep. explains. “A lot of people want brooms.” While continuing to further his broom-making

March / April 2018

Photo: Josh Young

Wanting to create the social atmosphere once found in general stores, Dayberry decided to add a coffee bar. Now, in addition to quality espressos, you can buy classic drinks, such as egg creams, creamsicles and root beers over crushed ice from the old-fashioned soda fountain.

education, Dayberry has learned the art of making decorative, traditional and Appalachian-style brooms. In order to increase his personal production, he’s recently purchased a stitching machine from the elderly broom maker in West Virginia. A really good handmade broom can sell for around $20. Some are a little less; more decorative brooms can go for up to $50. You have to see these brooms for yourself. They’re not the machine-made polypropylene brooms that you often find in larger stores. Those brooms, Dayberry says, “are garbage at the end of the day.” His goal for 2018 is to help educate consumers and to get more of the genuine handmade brooms into the bigger retail outlets. While his brooms are a hot commodity, there’s a lot more to be found at Roaring Pines, which he named as a nod to a line in a song from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbitt.* This quaint little general store also carries dust pans, wooly mops, galvanized mop buckets, canvas totes, mason jars, a variety of cleaning agents … and the list goes on. A more extensive list can be found at

Dayberry’s little shop on the corner has one more item that brings in the customers — coffee. Wanting to create a social atmosphere that mirrors the general stores of a bygone era, he decided to add a coffee bar. In addition to quality espressos, you can buy drinks from the old-fashioned soda fountain. “We take pride in creating new beverages,” he says. “We haven’t abandoned the classics, though; we still serve up egg creams, creamsicles and root beers over crushed ice.” It all comes together beautifully. Roaring Pines is certainly a nice enough name for the place, but if your top two products are coffee and brooms, Strawbucks might be even better.

* In case you’re wondering, here’s Tolkien’s poetry that gave the store its name: The pines were roaring on the height, The wind was moaning in the night. The fire was red, it flaming spread; The trees like torches blazed with light.

Byrd Theatre circa 1950 5


Loving the Search Backstage with Brock Scott of Little Tybee by Davy Jones

Music sits at a fascinating intersection, connecting the calculable world of physics and the boundless realm of the human imagination. And you’d be hard pressed to find a band that embodies that intersection as impressively as Atlanta-based Little Tybee. The dynamic indie-folk sextet drifts between styles with ease, merging technical skill and feeling en route to a distinctive, multi-layered sound marked by violin and a rare eight-string electric guitar. Having released four full-length albums since their start in 2009, the group is off on a nautically themed tour, anchored by new song “Lost in the Field,” with a stop here in Richmond at the Camel on Monday, March 12. I recently spoke with frontman Brock Scott about the band’s plans for this latest run of shows, his knack for defying categorization, and the root of his drive for musical exploration. 6 RiverCity

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What have your prior experiences playing Richmond been like? We’ve played the Camel in the past; we’ve played the Broadberry; played Gallery5; the Yerb, back in the day – that was our first spot that we played. And we’re good friends with [Richmond band] Night Idea. They’re actually on this bill with us and The Reign of Kindo… Every time we play there, the crowd gets bigger, and I think it’s a very musically tuned audience in Richmond. There’s a lot of great music that comes out of there. How has being based in Atlanta benefitted the band? There’s a strong music scene — a lot of underground musicians. Some of the best songwriters I know are around here. Unfortunately, there’s a lot more to the music industry than just talent. You need to know how marketing works and how to run a business... You can have one viral video that reaches 200,000 people in a week, or you can tour for six months and maybe only play for 40,000 people. It’s a matter of identifying the tools that are available and seeing where you fit in the market and then finding your voice. Atlanta has allowed us the financial space to be able to explore that without [it being] an all-or-nothing thing. We’ve figured out what works for us — a niche — and [have focused] on that, and I think Atlanta cradles that type of exploration.

Would it be accurate to say your music has its own sense of exploration, given the way you incorporate genres? We’ve got this wizard of a guitarist who is innovating at every turn. Josh [Martin] is unique in that he’s [exhibiting] technicality, but he’s pairing it with musicality. They’re techniques that are generally associated with the metal and prog worlds, and we tap into that. It’s strange, we see [that at] a lot of our shows. We have a lot of metal fans and prog fans. And I come from a singer-songwriter, more folky soul background, and we’ve always just kind of made it work… There [are] all these blogs set up — you have Pitchfork and Stereogum and Consequence of Sound — and people like to be able to categorize things and to be able to put them into a box. There’s a whole industry around it. Other people make money off of musicians and the fact that they can put them in that box. So, if you can create your own box, it’s powerful… That’s where my mindset has been since our inception. That’s why we always have a visual artistic pairing with everything we do. I went to Atlanta College of Art and Savannah College of Art and Design, studied sculpture, and I’ve worked in the film industry, and I understand the power of visuals. If you [combine them with] music, it can be very impactful. 7

What do you have planned for the upcoming tour? I did a sailing trip in Greece a few months ago, and I filmed a music video. There’s this guy who was on the boat with me, and then two other people, and I filmed the whole experience. It was three weeks. In the video, there’s this captain, and he has two crew members, and he goes to sleep one day, and they disappear from the boat. When he wakes up, he realizes the boat is sailing by itself… Basically, that captain is coming with us on tour. We have a merch table that’s a [cutout] set of a boat, and the captain’s inside of it, and I’ve created a video for every single show on the tour. The captain is sailing to all these different islands, and each island is a different city on the tour, and we’re his crew… I have a street team in every single city on the tour, and I’m mailing them figurines [of the missing crew members], and then they hide them, and there’s going to be a photo scavenger hunt. If people find the figurines and bring them to the show and give them to the captain, he rewards them with a VIP package. 8 RiverCity

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Davy Jones’ Event Picks Editors Note: We asked Davy Jones to recommend a couple of upcoming not-to-be-missed musical performances.

Where does your sense of musical adventure come from? Photo: Mark Seliger

My parents didn’t really listen to a whole lot of music, but the music that they did have was more blues and folksy. A lot of Dylan, a lot of Leon Redbone, the Neville Brothers, the Beatles, stuff like that. I feel like when you’re younger, and you listen to music, there’s a lot more emotional attachment. It’s like a physical-emotional attachment. I don’t know if it was just for me, but [when] you listen to the way a symphony resolves from a

April 4: Bettye LaVette at The Tin Pan

8982 Quiocassin Road; 804-447-8189; Bettye LaVette will take to the stage at the Tin Pan just days after the March 30th release of her 10th studio album, a collection of Bob Dylan covers entitled Things Have Changed. Though the album marks the soul singer’s first release on a major label in 50 years, she’s maintained an adventurous approach to recording by delving into the British rock songbook (2010’s Interpretations), highlighting the work of brilliant women songwriters (2005’s I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise), and employing Southern rock outfit Drive-By Truckers as a backing band (2007’s The Scene of the Crime). Things Have Changed includes renditions of timeless Dylan cuts like “It Ain’t Me Babe,” “The Times They Are a-Changin’” and “Mama, You Been on My Mind.” minor and then makes its way back to the major in the full way, it almost brings tears to your eyes. It’s like when you’re younger and on a roller coaster. It goes up and over the hill, and you feel it in your stomach. But as you get older, that sensation disappears a bit. I feel like people who are really into discovering new music — that is part of the drive. It’s almost a drug. The way that people find that resolve is always evolving. It’s endless, and you can find it in the past. Ten years from now, I can look back to the past and get it from things I don’t now. But as my ear matures, that feeling exists in different places. So, it’s just finding that. And I love the search. It’s almost like a treasure chest when you find it.

April 7: Walker Hayes at The National

708 E Broad St.; (804) 612-1900; Walker Hayes, a Nashville-based country singer originally from Mobile, Alabama, has quite a way with words. The Gold-certified “You Broke Up With Me” gave him his first hit for the recently revived Monument Records, showcasing his nimble writing. The same playful tone can be found elsewhere on his 2017 album boom., especially on “Shut Up Kenny,” which seeks emotional shelter from country legend Kenny Chesney’s own sharp songwriting. Hayes will hit the National’s stage as the opener in support of Kelsea Ballerini’s “Unapologetically” tour, which celebrates Ballerini’s sophomore full-length recording of the same name. 9

Mary Bowser

Unlikely Spy & Unsung Hero by Denise Anquenette Born into slavery, Mary was owned by John Van Lew, a prominent History lessons and Hollywood have retold Richmond businessman. She was one of many slaves owned by the the Civil War countless times, over-provid- family, but from an early age, it was clear that she would be treated differently. Unlike the other slaves owned by the Van ing us with a pre-conceived Lew family, Mary was baptized at the elite, St. John’s church — a white church, not attended or accesnotion and imagery of what hesible to slaves. While it is not understood why she received special consideration over the other slaves, roes, bravery and defeat looked it was understood that Mary was to be a companion like during that time. What for the Van Lew’s daughter, Elizabeth. Before his passing, John Van Lew made known many of those narratives have his wish that none of the slaves were to be freed. forgotten are the people whose However, his wife and Elizabeth, who became an abolitionist, granted freedom to their slaves, keepcourage and valor were inteing them on as servants. While this pseudo-freedom may not have been recognized legally, it allowed gral, yet imperceptible to the An artist’s conception of how Union Mary to experience an independence that other outcome of that conflict. One spy Mary Bowser might have appeared slaves could not fathom at that time. It was against during the years of the Civil War. the law for a slave to learn to read. Yet, Mary was name that has been preserved literate — able to both read and write. Eventually, Elizabeth sent her to Pennsylvania to attend the Quaker School for Negroes. for generations to come is Mary Bowser. 10 RiverCity

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As part of a missionary assignment, Mary traveled to Liberia, an area being settled by freed American slaves. The details of her travels and experiences there are unknown. However, after years abroad, she returned to work at the Van Lew mansion in Virginia, where she met and wed her husband, Wilson Bowser. Within days of her marriage, the Civil War started. Elizabeth, who had organized a network of spies to aid Union soldiers, helped Mary infiltrate the White House of the Confederacy to gather intelligence. Posing as a servant, Mary’s proximity to Confederate plans and her access to documents proved to be a valuable source of information. Her biggest asset was the presumption of those around her that she was illiterate and incapable of understanding the many letters and conversations to which she was privy. To be seen and remain invisible was a skill perfected by many slaves and servants, and it often meant their survival. For Mary, it meant not only her own freedom but that of all slaves and the lives of thousands of Union soldiers. Mary’s contributions to Elizabeth’s spy ring did not go unnoticed. Thomas McNiven, a baker and spy that delivered baked goods to the Confederate White House, remembered that she would always come out to his wagon “to drop information.” It is believed that it was Mary who revealed the terms Opposite, top: The former White House of the Confederacy as it appeared circa 1901. This page, top to bottom: Abolitionist Elizabeth Van Lew, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and an architectural drawing of the first floor of the Confederate White House.

the Confederates were offering President Lincoln’s men to end the war. Elizabeth also lauded Mary’s work as a spy, stating that every morning she had new information. It was said that Mary had a photographic memory and could glance at a document and remember it word for word. Only Mary will ever know if that was truth or legend. Acting as a humble, ordinary, servant by day and risking her life to gather evidence and relay information to Elizabeth each night was no easy feat. Once the Union declared victory and the war ended, Mary took up the perilous work of educating former slaves, teaching them to read and write. Even though slavery had ended, many southerners still disapproved of anyone teaching former slaves to read. So, it was at great risk to herself that Mary remained in the South, teaching children during the day and adults at night, as well as Sunday school. For her own safety and those around her, she continued to rely on her spy tactics. She used various aliases to conceal her identity when traveling and speaking on her role in helping to bring down the Confederacy. Eventually, the woman known as Mary Bowser faded from public view, confusing her true identity with aliases, travel and relocation. While not confirmed, it is believed that Mary may have moved to the Caribbean after remarrying in her later years. For her own protection and safety, her writings and exchanges as a spy were destroyed by the Federal government, along with those of the other Union spies. After vanishing from public life, it is quite likely that she lived the remainder of her life as she did her youth — present but unnoticed, quietly helping where she was needed most. 11


420 E. Grace St.; 804-377-3968; If you’re into Southern comfort foods, then you need to get into Julep’s. The place is filled with an Old Richmond charm and atmosphere from the staff to the menu to the historic building. The menu offers a variety of comfort foods choices, such as the Rockfish, served with lump crab, smashed new potatoes, broccoli puree, sunchokes, turnip, leek veloute, pole beans and pepper jam.

Photo: Dave Masucci

Photo: Josh Young

Lunch. Supper!

1213-1215 Summit Ave.; 804-353-0111; It seems like every time I visit Scott’s addition I find some new local gem that Richmond has to offer. This time, it was a classic Southern Smokehouse- Lunch. Supper! This popular dining spot has been crafting fresh and delicious comfort food since 2012, and it’s worth checking out on your next venture into Scott’s Addition. A full bar with all of the essential local breweries on tap, as well as amazing food and hospitality, this place will transport you into the heart of the South in one delicious meal. Their Braised Short Ribs made fresh on site and served with garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus provide all the comfort one might seek on a chilly late-winter evening.

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Café Rustika

414 E. Main St.; 804-225-8811; How cool is it that our search for comfort foods in the River City can lead us to German comfort foods. That’s what we delightfully discovered at Café Rustika. We were served the Jagerschnitzel Platter with spätzle and sauerkraut. Our schnitzel was a pork loin cutlet, hammered out thin, breaded and fried. (Veal and Chicken are also available!) The spätzle is housemade egg noodles sautéed in butter, and the sauerkraut consists of pickled cabbage with onion, bacon and juniper. The meal was served with a basket of brötchen, or German-style rolls, which are made in house every day. They’re toasted before serving, so that they have a hard, crunchy crust but a soft, warm crumb. Our tasty dish was complemented with a half liter of Pilsner Urquell, the world’s first pilsner, which is available on draught. (from an official golden Pilsner Urquell tap faucet, which helps create the perfect pour). What better way to wash down a perfect meal than with a perfect pour?

Photo: Joey Wharton

Poe’s Pub

2706 E Main St.; 804-648-2120; Facebook - PoesPub1 Located right on the edge of Shockoe Bottom, Poe’s Pub has been faithfully serving up classic comfort food to a stream of loyal customers for a quarter century. The place is warm and familiar, with memorabilia of times past covering the walls. It’s the place to go with friends for a taste of American comfort food and a few drinks. Their Meatloaf Plate piled high and served with broccoli and mashed potatoes provides an exceptional bang for your buck. Everything is made in-house, including the coconut cream pie that you simply must save some room for.

Photo: Josh Young 13

Pad Thai Restaurant

8460 Meadowbridge Rd., Mechanicsville; 804-559-0062 One happy Yelp reviewer said it best: “It’s a hole in the wall for sure, but I’d put the food up against any other Thai in Richmond.” You might even wonder if you’ve found the right place – unassuming building and gravel parking lot. The travel posters inside the small building begin building your confidence, as does the friendly family staff. But one bite of the food, reasonably priced and oh-so-authentic, removes all doubt that you have, indeed, come to just the right place – one you’ll come back to. The Tom Kha Gai soup starts your Thai meal off perfectly, with tender morsels of chicken in a delicious coconut milk broth, with lime dressing, lemongrass and ginger-like galangal.

Iron Horse Restaurant

100 S. Railroad Ave., Ashland; 804-752-6410; For two decades, Iron Horse has served fine food and drink beside the railroad tracks in Ashland. Their seasonal, Southern modern American menu includes fresh regional seafood, hand-cut steaks and chef-inspired nightly specials. Iron Horse provides several dining options, including lunch servings and sandwiches, dinner entrées, lighter fare and freshly made desserts, from the upscale-casual bistro on one side of the restaurant and the neighborhood pub atmosphere on the other. Settle into the Iron Horse to watch the trains go by as you enjoy their pumpkin soup, garnished with pumpkin seed, pomegranate-smoked paprika oil and a fried sage leaf. Like any quality seasonal menu, soup selection varies with availability of ingredients. 14 RiverCity

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6229-A River Road, River Road Shopping Center, Richmond, VA 23229 • 804-288-7482 • 15

tastebudz by Steve Cook

New Mexican. New pizza. Cool new bar.

Is there anything old in River City, besides me, I mean? Hey we have a treat for you. First, read the column and then you can have your treat. First the column:

do with a white elephant? I’m not going to tell you. When this cool restaurant opens at 2035 W. Broad Street sometime in April, you can go in and find out. What I will tell you is that I have a good feeling about Pies and Pints. It’s a small chain out of West Virginia that specializes in what I hear is some truly amazing pizza along with a great selection of craft beers. I’m told that there will be 36 taps on tap. I think I’m going to really enjoy the separate beer garden in the back of the building. A patio is also planned. LALO GOES DOWNTOWN: Perhaps you already know how much I love Lalo’s Cocina at 2617 W. Broad Street. The food is authentic. The bar is fantastic. And the service is very friendly. I always wondered how Lalo managed to find such lovely servers. But since he’s lost weight and grown a beard, he looks like a movie star. Maybe that’s how. Anyway, Eduardo “Lalo” Macias and his brother Victor have just opened a new Cocina downtown. This one they’re calling Chicanos Cocina Bar & Grill and it’s smack dab in the heart of Downtown Richmond at 523 E. Main. The menu is virtually the same as at the original place. The bar is not as big, but they’re still serving some of the best Margarita’s in town. If you live, work or do anything else Downtown, check out the new place. It’s a beautiful little spot for lunch. But, stick around after work, enjoy a great Happy Hour and have dinner. Just a little heads up: Lalo’s homemade chorizo is amazing.

WHAT IS THAT WHITE ELEPHANT DOING IN MY PIZZA PLACE: So, what does a pizza and beer restaurant named Pies and Pints have to 16 RiverCity

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NEW AND COOL ON CARY: The Jasper has opened at 3113 W. Cary. I stopped in the other night. The place was packed. While there’s more to this cool bar/restaurant than the cocktails, they’re reason enough to check The Jasper out. The bar is a collaborative effort between Kevin Liu, Mattias Hagglund and Thomas Leggett. If you’ve ever had a cocktail in Richmond, you probably know those names. And, indeed, you’re going to

find some very creative cocktails at the Jasper, and at decent prices. In fact, they advertise “Full pours, honest prices.” They even offer $5 house wines. Or, how about a nitro bourbon and ginger for $8. While the food is on the lighter fare side, they do serve my all-time favorite – French onion dip with potato chips. That combination is all that one would really need to have a cool party, along with a refreshing beverage or two that is. The Jasper is open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week (that’s all of ‘em).

Photo: Joey Wharton

GUTEN APETIT: Hey, did you know we now have a real German restaurant in town? Actually, it’s kind of been here for a decade. I’m talking about Café Rustika (formerly known as Café Rustica) at 414 E. Main Street. Owner/chef Sam George made the conversion just a few weeks ago, but, he tells me that he’s always had some German dishes on a menu that featured European fare. “Lots of folks would call, asking for German food,” he says. Sam adds that the nice thing about German cuisine is that most guests don’t have preconceived notions about what it tastes like beyond sauerkraut and brats. Sam describes Café Rustika as a cozy spot. “You can bring your first date or bring your folks.” Speaking of the folks, he says his mother bakes all the bread. Take a look at some of that bread as well as a platter full of delicious German foods in our “In Search of Comfort Foods” Feature in this issue.

FRUGAL FOODIE: We’re introducing a new feature to TasteBudz – Frugal Foodie. Each issue, we’ll provide you with a great dining bargain around town. For starters, I enjoyed an excellent steak dinner one recent Monday evening at Baker’s Crust. Every Monday, they do a steak and smashed cauliflower dinner for $7. A portion of the proceeds goes to a local charity. The steak was very good, moist and tender, and at seven bucks, how can you go wrong? BTW – This deal is good at the Carytown location (3553 W. Cary St. – next to Kroger) and in the Short Pump Town Center location (11800 W. Broad St.)

AND NOW, YOUR TREAT: I guess you could call this a doggie treat. Here’s the scoop. We’re asking for your help in our upcoming search for the city’s best hot dogs, which will appear in our May/June issue. You know you have your favorite hot dog spot. Tell us what it is and you could maybe wine a gift certificate to a local restaurant. Here’s how: Go to, fill out and submit the form and then settle back and just hope we pick your entry. It’ll all be very random, which is kind of the way this column is anyway. Weiners will be announced in the May/June issue of River City.

ONE MORE THING: We want your restaurant news. Share your news or even your great dining experience with our millions (or so) readers. Email us at

Photo: Joey Wharton

Read Tastebudz Online each week at RichmondNavigator. com. If you have any restaurant news or recommendations, email us at 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 |

WITH OVER 100 BEERS ON TAP! 18 RiverCity

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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

Expires 6/1/18.

Happy Hour Guide Southern Kitchen

The Local

Calling itself “The Mouth of the South,” this bright, friendly restaurant offers the finest in Southern cuisine, as well as one of Shockoe Slip’s happiest Happy Hours.

Nestled in the heart of VCU’s campus, this little Irish pub offers traditional Irish apps and entrees.

1726 E. Main St.; 804-729-4141;

Tuesday through Friday 3 to 6 p.m. Wines, by the glass – $5 (regularly priced at $5 to $6) Beer, domestic and craft – $3 Appetizers – ½ priced One More Thing: The appetizers here are amazing. At half-price, these are some of the best deals in town and include (Happy Hour prices in parentheses): Fried oysters ($7.50), fried okra ($3), Mouth of the South Shrimp ($6), Southern rolls – three handmade rolls filled with collards, fried cabbage and chicken ($5), Wing basket ($6), fried dill pickle ($3).

Ironclad Pizza and Sports Bar 924 McDonough St.; 804-233-2400;

This fun and friendly neighborhood hangout in Manchester specializes in fantastic pizzas, subs and burgers. Virtually wall-to-wall TVs.

1106 West Main St.; 804-358-1862;

Monday through Sunday 3 to 9 p.m. Wine – $2 off Shooter, house choice – $5 (all day) Walk the dog (PBR and rail shot) – $5 (all day) One More Thing: They serve brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Croaker’s Spot

1020 Hull St.; 804-269-0464; This is indeed the spot for seafood-focused soul food and cornbread. Monday through Friday 3 to 7 p.m. Wine – $4 Cocktails, select – $5

Monday through Sunday 2 to 8 p.m.

Beer, bottles – $3.50

Busch beer – $2

Beer, local drafts – $3

Bud Light – $2.50 Shock Top – $3.50

One More Thing: Ask about their appetizer specials.

Rails – $3.50 One More Thing: Enjoy their pizza buffet for lunch Monday through Friday – $7.99

Laura Lee’s

If you are a restaurant or beverage manager, please send your Happy Hour specials to Our Happy Hour Guide is provided as a service to our readers. This is not an advertisement, nor is any compensation involved. All happy hour listings are subject to change. Please drink responsibly.

3410 Semmes Ave.; 804-233-9672; Laura Lee’s is an updated take on the American fern bar, with a focus on great food – from the Roosevelt’s own Kendra Feather. Monday through Thursday 4 to 6 p.m. Wines – draft - $1 off Beers – draft - $1 off One More Thing: Kids (14 and under) eat free before 6 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays (one free meal from the kids’ menu with each adult entrée or sandwich purchase). 19


Some of the best views of the city skyline can be had atop The Terraces at Manchester luxury apartment complex.

The Secret Society of



by Ashley Jefferson

here’s a secret society in Richmond that most people don’t know about, but many people see every day. In this society, celebrities come to enjoy tasty foods, yogi’s host their weekly Vinyasa classes, and Millennials open up the first of their many businesses. The community is the new epicenter of Richmond’s music, fashion and foodie scene and is completely open to the public. But just after you finish your first workout session at Island Yoga Fitness, enjoy your tasty treat from Soul Ice or spend a weekend afternoon enjoying the art at Art Works, you will quickly feel more like family than a friend. This area is none other than Manchester. And it is worth becoming next weekend’s local destination.

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March / April 2018

To the naked eye, Manchester may appear to be full of vacant properties, industrialized buildings and old-fashioned architecture. But if you look a little deeper, you’ll see that those vacant properties are pregnant with the excitement of flashy new businesses — those seemingly industrial buildings now house some of the areas most luxurious apartments, and the old architecture is beautifully historic. Manchester is a city unto itself, and the people who live there absolutely love it. Keisha Cummings, a Manchester Community Advocate, has lived in the area for five years and has seen the area grow into what it is today. According to Cummings, the neighborhood is absolutely beautiful and close to everything Richmond has to offer.

Photo: Terraces at Manchester


“Manchester is a hidden community inside of Richmond,” explains Cummings. “I loved it when I first moved here because it was close to Shockoe Bottom. I had a beautiful apartment just across the [14th Street] bridge that nobody knew about.” Cummings currently lives in the Terraces at Manchester — a 10-story, luxury apartment building that boasts resort style amenities such as a saltwater pool, a rooftop dog park and a sky lounge. Additionally, residents of the 2-year-old structure can enjoy some of Richmond’s best views of the city, including the waterfront view of the James River. And if by chance, Cummings ever grew tired of spending time in her affluent accommodations, she can lace up her sneakers (or throw on her heels) and walk over to Legend Brewing Company to grab a beer, Camden’s Dogtown Market for light bites and wine, or Ironclad Pizza Grill for delicious late night pizza and sandwiches. It is worth noting that Ironclad also offers some excellent vegetarian selections as well. “Manchester has everything I need,” say’s Cummings. “It’s like the best place to be.” Cummings is not alone in her views. Shelly Madyun-Burnett, another Manchester resident, agrees with her. “Manchester is a wonderful neighborhood. Not only are we within close proximity of everything, the area is also very diverse, filled with families and Baby Boomers.” says Madyun-Burnett. “I feel very secure here. Some of my neighbors even feel comfortable enough to leave their car doors open.”

Photo: Legend Brewing Company

Photo: Terraces at Manchester 21

Photo: Terraces at Manchester

Photo: Croaker’s Spot

Madyun-Burnett isn’t just a resident of Manchester; she’s also the manager of the area’s top restaurant, Croaker’s Spot. This award-winning seafood and soul food restaurant is the cornerstone of the Manchester community and, arguably, one of the key reasons of why the neighborhood has been on a constant upswing. In 2010, Croaker’s Spot moved from their home in Jackson Ward to a much larger location in Manchester. And with the move, the restaurant brought along with it their clientele. “Croaker’s Spot helped to create an extra piece of diversity. It wasn’t just black people coming to the area. It welcomed people of all races into the area,” says Madyun-Burnett. “They came together and were unified, not just by the food but also by the people. And they also love the history and the background of the Croaker’s Spot.” They also managed to collect a few awards and famous friends along the way. In 2011, the restaurant won the coveted Steve Harvey Hoodie Award which brought along with it national notoriety. Soon after the win, celebrities from all walks of entertainment and politics began filling the seats with their family and friends waiting to be served their helping of Croaker’s Spot Famous Fish Boats. Celebrities, including NBA Superstar Charles Oakley, singer Tamar Braxton, former Vice-President Joe Biden, civil rights activist Jesse Jackson and actress Phylicia Rashad, have been spotted in the dining room. Some, more than once. 22 RiverCity

March / April 2018

Photo: Croaker’s Spot

Photo: Terraces at Manchester

But Croaker’s Spot didn’t do all the work on its own. Several other community activists and business owners have also helped in creating the new and energetic spirit of Manchester. AJ Brewer, owner of Brewer’s Cafe, opened the neighborhoods first coffee shop, offering a healthy selection of java, bites and pastries, plus a daily happy hour that boasts delicious whisky and bourbon drinks. Not to mention, the cafe is also tech friendly, allowing its patrons to order online and through the Brewer’s app. “I opened up my business in Manchester because this was my home,” says Brewer. “I grew up here.” Just like Croaker’s Spot, Brewer’s Cafe has also received its fair share of accolades. Travel + Leisure magazine listed Brewer’s as having the best sandwich in Virginia, while Business Insider magazine named Brewer’s as having the best coffee. These notable mentions are great for any business to receive, especially one that’s just entered its sophomore year of operations. But coffee and sandwiches aren’t all Brewer is concerned about. He also has a few other things brewing. “I want to build a neighborhood up. That to me is so

powerful. I want to give the neighborhood more than what I am capable of getting from it.” Brewer’s offers a public Mac computer for its patrons to use. And outside is a coat rack with coats available for those in need. Last Easter, Brewer hosted Parker’s Easter Egg Roll in honor of his son Parker, which featured face painting, egg painting and hundreds of Easter Eggs ready to be found. Later that summer, he hosted the Manchester Manifest, which brought people from all over the community together to celebrate local foods, artists and businesses. But the highlight of the spring/summer season was First Fridays, another Brewer’s Cafe sponsored event that area residents still wait for with great anticipation. “Every First Friday, we bring out about 1,000 people to 12th street,” explains Brewer. “We block off the street between Bainbridge and Porter, open up our whiskey bar outside, have several bands, DJ’s and vendors and invite everyone to have a good time right here in the neighborhood.” And people do come. Many are from outside of the Manchester area. And as more and more people learn about this secret society, the area won’t be much of a secret for long. “New businesses are opening up every day,” says Brewer. “Not only did I get to watch the growth of Manchester, I’m glad to be a part of it.” And Manchester is glad that he, and all of its residents, are a part of it as well. Photos: Brewer’s Cafe 23

Photo: Terraces at Manchester


Riverfront Living at its Best by Steve Cook

s there any urban view more beautiful than the Richmond downtown skyline with the James River in the foreground? Some of the best views can be had in Manchester, which is quickly becoming to many the place to call home. One of the most popular properties that area residents are choosing to hang their hats is The Terraces at Manchester, a 10-story luxury apartment tower located right in the heart of the city’s Historic Manchester district. Each of the 148 apartments offers a “breathtaking panoramic view” of the city skyline, says Amy Simmons, assistant property manager at the Terraces. But the Terraces at Manchester offers much more than stunning views. Residents enjoy a host of amenities, including a 24-hour fitness center, a saltwater pool and sundeck with gas grills and a fire pit. There’s also a rooftop dog park and sky 24 RiverCity

March / April 2018

lounge, a clubhouse with lounge areas and an entertaining kitchen. And for your security and convenience, there’s garage parking. Step inside and discover high end finishes like stainless steel appliances, stylish lighting and faucets, oversized mirrors, granite counMany units feature panaramic tertops and large windows, which views of the Richmond skyline. provide an abundance of natural light. Step outside to your own private terrace that extends the entire length of your living space. “We offer over 20 different floor plans and can easily meet any preferences,” Simmons says. Apartment choices include a mix of one- and two-bedroom units, ranging from 500 square feet to 1,100 square feet, as well as four penthouses that average 1,600 Photo: Terraces at Manchester square feet. Location is, obviously, another perk. “Our dynamic location is perfect for anyone who is looking to kick back and enjoy everything at their

Featuring high end finishes, large glass windows and doors that let in plenty of light, and spacious balconies, The Terraces deliver a tasteful elegance with fabulous views.

Photo: Terraces at Manchester

fingertips,” says Simmons. “Enjoy local restaurants and breweries within walking distance, such as Legend Brewing Co. for a beer with friends. Start your morning at Brewer’s Café with a much-needed cup of coffee, or head over to Camden’s Dogtown Market for a delicious lunch.” And let’s not forget the river. The Terraces even offers storage for kayaks. So get ready for an adventurous ride through the River City’s famous rapids.

“[The Terraces’] location is perfect for anyone looking to kick back and enjoy everything at their fingertips,” says Simmons, noting the proximity of popular food and drink establishments such as Legend Brewing Co., Brewer’s Café and Camden’s Dogtown Market.

Among the amenities at The Terraces are a saltwater pool and a sundeck with a firepit.

Photo: Terraces at Manchester

Indoors and out, The Terraces at Manchester, managed by Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, has much to offer: spectacular views, luxurious amenities and a great location. Simmons succinctly sums it up, “The Terraces is Richmond’s exceptional riverfront living at its best! For more information and to check current availability visit Photo: Terraces at Manchester 25

River City Mar/Apr 2018  
River City Mar/Apr 2018