Richmond magazine - March 2023

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After years of struggle, Andy Waller took a stand for dignity, community and dayum good jam.



The Richmond region strives to weigh the stewardship of natural resources against the growing need for living space.



We’re ditching utensils and embracing eats that encourage contact: sandwiches. By Bird Cox, Stephanie Ganz, Robey Martin, Eileen Mellon and Genevelyn Steele

Parker Agelasto, director of the o ro t it e io d o er c o o d

family businesses and served a year in World War I as a lieutenant. Annabel first married warehousing executive Elmore D. Hotchkiss Jr., followed by New Jersey real estate businessman Howard Cole. William went first into auto sales and then r eal estate; in 1914, he married Daisy Florence Boykin.

Meanwhile, plans proceeded for the construction of the Forbes dream house on Monument, which was completed in 1914.

When the street was extended, the city paid Forbes $45,000 ($1.2 million today) for the two acres necessary for the right of way. e amount also covered the lowering below grade of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad ( e Belt Line). Most of the other landowners donated their land.

In December 1918, the mansion’s garage erupted into flames.

“The underground gasoline tank almost blew us all to kingdom come,” Forbes chauffeur Sam Richardson remembered.

e pre-dawn fire caused by an overheated stove leveled Forbes’ Garage Mahal and damaged some 15 cars.

e Times-Dispatch reported how firefighters and policemen at great risk led away four horses, a pony and a mule. With the last blindfolded animal out of danger, the roof collapsed.

The uninsured loss totaled some $17,000, about $400,000 today.

More tragedy visited Forbes when daughter Annabel, the mother of two sons and living at the mansion apart from her second husband, succumbed in 1923 to a chronic kidney condition at age 33.

On Aug. 5, 1930, Forbes went to bed, “in his usual health,” a newspaper account described. He rose at 7 a.m. but collapsed in a paralytic seizure brought on by a cerebral hemorrhage. In death at 79 years old, he joined his wife, sons and daughter at Hollywood Cemetery.

Forbes died intestate. The $73,500 le by him ($1.3 million today, the bulk in real estate) received probate in Chancery Court with sons Blanchard (a Sebrof Investment vice president) and William (Sebrof’s president) qualifying as administrators.

Blanchard later le his executive position and for a few years worked in the

o ces of the commissioner of revenue. In 1938, he became the baili for the Civil Justice Court, Part II, though he le the faded splendor of Forbes mansion for 2022 Stuart Ave.

Around this time, the big house, without anyone who either could a ord or wanted to keep the place, got taken apart, giant Corinthian columns and all.

The city rounded off the corners at Roseneath and widened the intersection in anticipation of another monument. e empty land soon a racted an outof-town developer, who sought to put up a two-block, 220-unit apartment building. Rezoning for the construction received strident rejections in 1938 from 100 residents. “Monument Avenue is a high-class residential street,” Guy B. Hazelgrove declared. “It was so planned, and it should remain as planned.”

The rezoning petition received a thumbs-down, and the property went instead into subdivision for single houses. To this day, city assessment records refer to the acreages upon which these places stand as “ e Forbes Tract.”

On July 10, 1996, following contentious debate, a monument honoring athlete and activist Arthur Ashe received dedication at Monument and Roseneath. R

Forbes originally wanted his mansion at 3401 Monument Ave. to face east down the street. The city dissuaded him due to envisioned westward expansion. The home was completed in 1914.


Spend an unforgettable weekend in New Orleans

With mild, sunny weather and festivals galore, spring is one of the best times to visit New Orleans. The madness of Mardi Gras is past, leaving behind a celebratory vibe that never seems to fade from the city — along with quite a few beads leftover from the carnival parties and parades. And now that quick and a ordable direct flights are available from Richmond International Airport, New Orleans is the perfect weekend getaway destination.


New Orleans’ neighborhoods are diverse and distinctive, with options for every type of traveler. Many make a beeline for the French Quarter, home to characteristic inns, budget chains and the elegant Hotel Monteleone (hotelmonteleone. com), worth a visit at the very least to have a cocktail at its famous Carousel Bar. My family and I prefer to escape the Vieux Carré chaos and stay in the nearby Central

Business District, home to newer, glossier options like the Virgin Hotel (virginhotels. com/new-orleans), a super-chic spot with cozy two-chamber rooms, a buzzy rooftop bar and an excellent in-house restaurant, the Commons Club. The elegant Garden District is home to some celebrated boutique hotels including The Chloe ( and Hotel Saint Vincent (, while the trendy Marigny and Bywater districts o er a wealth of a ordable Airbnbs along with the design darling Hotel Peter & Paul (ash. world/hotels/peter-and-paul), housed in a former Catholic church.


There are a few things that New Orleans is known for — and for good reason. If it’s your first time in the city, don’t miss out on classic experiences like scarfing piping-hot beignets at Cafe du Monde (, shrimp and oyster po’boys from Domilise’s (, or a fancy dinner at a classic spot such as Galatoire’s ( or Arnaud’s ( You’ll definitely want to gawk at the debonair mansions of the Garden District and ride the St. Charles

streetcar beneath a canopy of massive, moss-draped oaks. Live music is everywhere, but you won’t regret getting tickets to see the jazz band at Preservation Hall ( — or just head to Frenchmen Street for some bar-hopping any night of the week. And if you’re interested in the city’s voodoo history, a ghost tour is a touristy yet fun way to explore New Orleans after dark.


While you could easily spend a weekend stumbling around the French Quarter’s maze of streets — and many visitors do just that — there’s so much more to New Orleans than this tourist-clogged district.

MARCH / 2023 56
Touring the Garden District
Hotel Monteleone
Cafe du Monde

Meet Mike Pyle, Co-Host of HGTV’s hit show Inside Out. Mike will be presenting on the Fresh Ideas Stage on Saturday, March 4th at 11am and 3pm.

Stroll through the feature gardens presented by Schultz Lawnscapes and Ashland Berry Farm.

Shop The Marketplace for a variety of items, from tasty treats to unique home décor.

Meet with hundreds of experts in landscaping, remodeling, kitchen & bath, home décor, flooring and more.

Informative and valuable presentations on the Fresh Ideas Stage including interactive dog training presentations from Dog Training Elite. See show website for stage schedule.

And more.

March 3-5, 2023 Richmond Raceway Complex
SHOW HIGHLIGHTS Visit for more information. Thank you to our Sponsors: * Exhibitor List Subject to Change Visit for most up to date list. 4
Exhibitor List
S PE C IAL ADVERTI S IN G S E C TIO N Exhibitor Booth 13TEN Renovations 547 50Floor 442 '58 Foundations 641 A-1 Concrete Leveling 511 A-1 Door Company 444 ABC PetWear 1140MP Absolute Exterior Concepts 914 Absolute Stone Design 514 Active Medicare Solutions 303 ADT Security Services 533 Agriberry Farm & CSA LLC 1034 Aid Our Veterans 1018 Aikey Kitchen and Bath 310 Aikey's Home Improvements, LLC. 421 Air Solutions 522 Air-Pro Mechanical 431 Alpha Exterior Solutions, LLC 222 American Siding Inc. 609 Apple Door Systems, Inc 507 Ashland Berry Farm 1017, 1117 Ashley Elevator/Area Access 543 Atkinson Insurance Agency 330 Atlantic Marketing of Maryland 443 Bath Fitter 430 Beltone Hearing Aids 936 Better Garden Tools 332 Beyond By Aerus 631 Blue Sky Blinds, Shades & Shutters 129 C&F Mortgage Corporation 305 Cabinets To Go 643 Campfire Woodworks 1042 Capital Remodeling 133, 709 Capital Repair Services 218 Carefree Boat Club 749 Castle "The Window People" 645 Champion Windows & Exteriors 815 Chim Chimney Chimney Cleaning 323 Chocolate Moonshine 1039 City of Richmond Department of Utilities 743 Classic Granite and Marble 939 CleanVent Dryer Exhaust Specialists 243 Closet Factory - Richmond VA 808 Closets of Virginia 118 Convert Solar 101 Creative Conservation Co., Inc. 229A Cutco Cutlery 532 Dark Run Jerky 1026 Deck Creations of Richmond, LLC 418 Dog Training ELite Richmond 820 Drive Electric RVA 1133 East Coast Honey 1045MP Edward Jones 818 First Painting, LLC 228 Five Star Pickles & Sausage 342 Floor Coverings International 606 Forever Sticky 727 Fortress Floors Virginia 647 Fred Astaire Dance Studio Richmond 733 Garage Force 736 Generator Supercenter 231 Girl Scouts, Troop #5318 1022 GripStic - First 2 Market Products 141 Hanover Exteriors LLC 713 Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling 113
* Exhibitor List Subject to Change Visit for most up to date list. 5 SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION Homefix Custom Remodeling 119 Hound Paint Co. 104 Human Touch 1125 IGY6 Curbing 927 In Stock Today Cabinets Richmond 530 Incredible HVAC & Incredible Cleaning Services 227 Ion Solar 619 James River Exteriors 737 JDS Bath 236 Jeanine Michele Enterprises 127 JES Foundation Repair 219 Kitchen Tune-Up 816 Lammar Marie's Gourmet Popcorn 1052MP Laser Marble LLC 810 LeafFilter North LLC 611 LeafGuard 329 Leonard Buildings 701 Lot Scapes 513 LuckyDog Electrical Service 814 Luxury Shower & Glass 731 Maid Right of Richmond 528 Mattress Savvy 537 Mia Bella's - Calvary Hill LLC 1041 Mija's Designs 1049MP Milligan Custom Cabinetry 407 Miracle Method Surface Refinishing 518 Mitchell Homes, Inc. 422 Mosquito Authority 143 Mr. Fix-It 114 Nature Hill NV 613 Neat Sweep Ltd. 131 New Image Cleaning Service 710 Norwex 633 Old Dominion Floor Company 920 One Day Bath 812 Pampered Chef 429 PaperPie with Some 1050MP Paramount Builders / Virginia Shower & Bath 409 Patio Enclosures 942 Pella Window & Door Co. 627 PermaSeal USA 929 Polished & Potted Inc. 1044 Pressure Works Inc. 834 Pro Renovations 241 Profashion 822 Professional Remodeling Organization of Central Virginia 842 ProLift Garage Doors Of Richmond 725 Redfern Enterprises Ltd 746 Refresh Cabinets, LLC 829 Remodel USA 1011 Renewal by Andersen - Richmond Window 237, 931 Retex Roofing, LLC 828 Richmond Magazine 911 Roof Maxx of West of Richmond/RVA Roofing Services 229 Rooftop Chimney Sweeps 1112 RVA Cabinetry 711 RVA Choice Kitchen & Bath 307 RVA Pro Painters 318 S&S Electrical 340 Scentsy 705 SchultzLawnscapes 1019 Scott Ellis Painting 427 Security Systems Inc 740 Senior Healthcare Services/Dickens and Dickens 720 Shade & Louver 211 Shanco Companies 637 ShelfGenie 626 Shutter Company 621 Smallwood Renovations, LLC 539 Smith Strong, PLC 723 Snappy Services, LLC 745 Snipes Solar 921 Spinnaker Resorts 910 Star Glow Products 732 Stone Craft LLC 1033 Sundecks of Richmond 738 Superior Sleep 519 Tastefully Simple 1040 The Country Loft 1139MP The Drying Company 337 The Good Feet Store 809 The Home Doctor Exterior 140 The Neighborhood Harvest 123 The Village Shed Store 841 ThermaCool LLC 712 230 Thompson Creek Window Company 838 Thug Busters 1043MP T-Mobile USA, Inc. 940 TNR Group 136 Tori's Company LLC 642 Traeger Grills 322 Trinity Renovations Inc./Legacy Amish Furniture 311 Tuff Shed Inc 916 Tupperware 1036 Turnkey Porch Enclosures formally Sunspace of Richmond 835 U.S. Jaclean, Inc. 319 Union Church Millworks 741 University Painters 721 UPCYCLED FOR HOPE 1051MP VA811 744 Vacation Village Resorts 108 Vector Security 138 Virginia Cooperative Ext / Master Gardener 1241 Virginia Credit Union 730 Virginia Energy Solutions 327 Virginia Exterior Products Corporation 306 Virginia Outdoor Lighting 930 Virginia Power Solutions 649 Virginia Railing and Gates 549 Wealth Innovations LLC 722 White Glove Plumbing-Heating-Air 240 Window Depot USA of Richmond 437 Woodfin - Your Home Team 501 Wyndham Vacation Resorts Inc. 137 Zerorez 439 Zone Garage of Central Va. 331 Zuna Solar 706

All-things-outside expert

Landscape design insights from Mike Pyle of HGTV’s “Inside Out”

Mike Pyle, landscape designer and co-host of HGTV's "Inside Out,” will bring his expertise, enthusiasm and eye to the Richmond Home and Garden Show. Pyle, who has been in the landscape industry for more than 20 years, specializes in all areas of landscape, from design and construction to outdoor furnishings and fire pits.

Meet with Pyle on the Fresh Ideas Stage Saturday, March 4 (two presentations, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.) when he’ll share insights to help you dream up your next landscape design project and maximize the full creative potential of your outdoor space.

Pyle spent years in Palm Springs, Calif. running his own landscape construction company, building beautiful, functional outdoor spaces for clients. Now in Orange County, Calif., Mike

owns a landscape design firm where he manages a team of designers and projects spanning from Southern California to Eastern Idaho.

For the past two years, he has cohosted HGTV’s "Inside Out," where he works with clients on home renovations, balancing their priorities and budgets to create stunning, livable spaces. Along with co-host Carmine Sabatella, the renovation duo transform homes inside out, with Carmine handling everything from the walls in, and Mike leading all things outside.

The duo has worked on well-loved Craftsman homes with accessory dwelling units to smaller fixer-uppers

Pyle and his wife, Lizzy, just celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary and have two daughters: Stevie, who’s 2 years old, and Elle who's 3 months. They also have a French bulldog is named Steeler after his favorite

Don’t Miss This Extraordinary Backyard

Ashland Berry Farm brings a complete 30-by-40 backyard inside the Richmond Home and Garden show.

Retail manager Jodie Roberts and owner Ken Gustafson, who will both be on hand to answer questions, have created a far-from-typical backyard at the show.

Be sure to see how they’ve installed a putting green, created a waterfall from boulders, and put in a patio, outdoor lights and music. And then they finished the space off with palm trees, tropical plants and other flowers. You’ll be transported to a backyard oasis!

football team, according to HGTV website question-and-answer interviews.

He understands the ins and outs of renovation personally. He and his wife completed a renovation of their home last year. 'We tore the house down to the studs, both inside and out. I’m so happy we finally get to enjoy the fruits of our labor,' he shared with writer Rebecca Norris.

'I'm a fan of tackling the inside and outside all at once,” Pyle says. 'You will typically save on costs and time.' With that said, Pyle points out that if your goal is to follow suit, 'You definitely need a contractor that is versed in prioritizing trades in order so that things are done in order and you're not damaging previous work.'

For example, he says that you shouldn’t install plant material or grass if the house still needs to be painted or stuccoed. 'This will result in damaged and or painted plants and grass,' he advises.

Pyle also has his own HGTV fellow celebrity favorite. 'I just love Brian Kleinschmidt from 100 Day Dream Home. He’s such an amazing, positive guy and so much fun to work with.'


The versatile Village Shed Store

Turn your yard into a sanctuary with a pre-built structure and outdoor furniture

Diana Joyner, co-owner of the Village Shed Store, plans to bring a lot of yard eye candy to the Richmond Home and Garden Show — a pergola, a pavilion, a shed with a porch, a chicken coop and a dog kennel.

Plus, Joyner said, they have a line of outdoor furniture that they plan to bring plenty of so show attendees can sit and stay for a while. While you visit their exhibition space at the show, also enter to win two outdoor chairs!

The sheds that her company carry can be turned into offices, workout rooms or artist studios, and they often can marry well with homeowner association guidelines because they can be customized, Joyner says.

Village Shed Store opened for

business in August 2008 to deliver quality-built Amish sheds and pet structures for an affordable price and exceptional customer service. Lonnie Joyner noticed there were few wellbuilt sheds in the area, and customers were experiencing long wait-times for delivery. Joyner saw an opportunity to bring a large selection of quality-

built sheds to the area at an affordable price in comparison to the competitors. Today, Village Shed Store has one of the largest inventories of sheds with many sizes and colors to choose from that are professionally delivered by our certified drivers. Their inventory includes garages, gazebos, dog kennels and chicken coops. As an added service, Village Shed Store offers free delivery within 50 miles and free site visits to assist the customer in selecting the right shed to meet their needs for years to come. Joyner is certified in the building trade and has access to products that will meet requirements of many local architectural review board guidelines.

Village Sheds also can move your shed, even if it was purchased from a different builder. They have all of the heavy equipment needed to move your shed, garage, and other small structures. Their careful, professional and friendly delivery team will assist with timely services, without any harm to your yard or structure.


First, Waller helped launch Safe Space Market, which organizes community pop-up events highlighting LGBTQ+ and underrepresented small businesses.

More recently, Waller started Trans Jam Events to highlight and bring together queer and trans people, including youth. TransJam’s second Dragstravaganza event in February, for example, was a family- and kid-friendly festival featuring a drag story hour and maker’s market. Proceeds support groups such as He She Ze and We, a local nonprofit offering support and resources for families with nonbinary and trans children. “I want to support organizations ... that care for and support trans people and families, because I never had that growing up,” Waller says. “It certainly would have made a difference to me.”

Fast-talking, with a lively manner and a mind that bounces from idea to inspiration to connection, Waller was raised in a military family. Like many so-called Army brats, they lived many places as a youth, including an uncomfortable period of time a ending a strict Southern Baptist church where Waller had to wear a skirt. “I struggled with that and with LGBTQ thoughts and feelings,” Waller recalls.

In 1996, Waller’s family moved to Richmond. Soon after, their parents split up. Fortunately, a friend’s home across the street was a welcoming and encouraging refuge for the young Waller.

“My mom was the one who fed all the kids on the block,” recalls that friend, Lindsay Larkin. Family traditions o en involved food. One was canning and pickling fresh produce, using a worn collection of recipes passed down by Larkin’s great-grandmother.

A policy analyst at the United Network for Organ Sharing, Larkin remembers Waller from their years at J.R. Tucker High School in the late 1990s, long before support systems like gay-straight alliance groups were established. Despite

regular bullying and teasing, “I don’t think Andy ever wavered from who they are,” Larkin says. Eventually Waller dropped out of school and held various retail jobs and worked at the Richmond SPCA.

In 2015, the longtime friends were both working nonprofit jobs (Larkin worked for the Medical Society of Virginia at the time) when Waller suggested they come up with a side gig.

“What do we know how to do?” Waller recalls asking.

“I can make jam,” Larkin answered. The duo turned to her great-grandmother’s book of recipes.

A er some experimenting, the pair

Efforts to repress or eliminate what physicians know as gender-affirming care ranges widely across a spectrum from legal to criminal. This year, the ACLU has determined that 184 pieces of legislation across the country are anti-trans. In Virginia, 13 such bills are pending, including several that would make it illegal for minors to be prescribed medications to delay puberty.

Under Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Virginia’s Education Department updated its “model policy” for the treatment of transgender students in elementary and middle schools in September 2022. The new policy states that parents must be informed if students ask to use different pronouns or in other ways diverge from traditional gender roles. It also says students must be called by the pronouns in their school record unless legal documentation of a change is submi ed; teachers cannot be forced to use different pronouns for students, no ma er how much the students or parents would prefer they do so.

A decade or so ago, everything felt different around such issues, recalls James Millner, program director for Diversity Richmond, an LGBTQ+ affirming nonprofit, began advocating for issues impacting the gay and queer community in the early 1990s.

made a strawberry jam with a touch of balsamic vinegar, which they dubbed Strawberry Zeal Forever in honor of The Beatles. The business name arose just as whimsically, this time inspired by lyrics from a Flo Rida tune: “I just was like, ‘Hot damn, this is my jam!’” says Waller.

Soon after, the duo started selling jams at Lakeside Farmers Market.

A few years later, Waller, who at the time had yet to transition, took a job with a small state agency — largely because former Gov. Ralph Northam had set out policies protecting the rights of transgender state workers.

“It felt like we were riding this wave,” Millner says, citing forward momentum with the legalization of same-sex marriage paired with the cultural impact of shows like “Queer Eye” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and the high visibility of successful celebrity trans people such as Chaz Bono and Laverne Cox.

What happened? “The folks that disagreed with all this, they got scared,” Millner says. “They started to fear that our lives were being treated as a normal part of society.”

GLAAD, a national gay-rights organization, recorded 141 protests or a acks against drag shows or events in 47 states last year. These ranged from picketing to

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want to support organizations ... that care for and support trans people

bles a ship stranded in the James River below downtown Richmond. e source of the unifying fill is unknown. Parker Agelasto, a former Richmond city councilman and the director of the nonprofit Capital Region Land Conservancy, speculates that it came from excavations for the James River and Kanawha Canal. He shakes his head, asking, “Can you imagine pu ing all that stu in the river today?”

Agelasto has learned the evolution of Mayo’s Island and its varied uses over the past 200 years — industrial, baseball, boating, industrial again, mili-

tary and entertainment — because the conservancy is purchasing most of the island and blanketing the property with a protective conservation easement. e purchase will exclude property west of the bridge where now gather food trucks and vendors that serve the fisher folk and passersby.

“We’re going to move 7 acres of asphalt off Mayo,” Agelasto says. “We’ll restore hydrology. Currently there’s no permeability for rain or even flood waters. All that,” he says while swiping one hand o another, “shoots right o into the river.”

anks to partners like the James River Association, suitable trees will arise amid

meadows to form riparian barriers.

“Mayo has fresh water flooding downriver, and it’s also subject to sea-level rise in the tidal portion,” he adds. “One of the things ge ing looked at are opportunities to address sea level rise and habitat migration.”

Models indicate that rising sea levels in the coming half-century will inundate nearby marshlands, such as along the Presquile National Wildlife Refuge in Henrico and Jones Neck in Chesterfield. Surviving wildlife needs places to go.

Folding the island into the city’s riverfront parks has been a regular feature of assorted projects and plans going

MONICA ESCAMILLA r er e to director of the o ro t it e io d o er c o o d

However, a new player is on the scene to help coordinate efforts. “The Office of Sustainability is new; the team is not,” says Laura omas, Richmond’s director of sustainability, whose office became o cial less than five months ago. She’s a Henrico native who le a sustainability post in Largo, Florida, last year to come home. “There are people who’ve been working in the organization for years, along with the community.”

Thomas sees her office as a hub for connecting and convening the players throughout the region to accelerate action and reduce redundancy. “Floodwaters do not respect jurisdictional

boundaries,” she says. “I’d like to see us prevent cross-purpose logjams. We can’t continue to work in silos if we want to e ectively address [environmental] issues. It’s dicult when these entities each have their own momentum, their own goals, to achieve that kind of collective direction without those dedicated conversations.”

While having an effective regional body to oversee important environmental challenges is helpful, having a variety of voices around a table is also necessary and perhaps more e ective, omas says. “We tend to listen to the loudest voices in the room, and the ones most ready to take action don’t always bring in the individu-

In addition to forming the O ce of Sustainability, the city undertook a Climate Vulnerability and Risk Assessment in 2019 that evaluated “heat and flooding risks to Richmond communities, built assets, and natural features.” The results were used to draft the RVAGreen 2050 initiative, with goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 45% by 2030, reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and assisting especially underserved communities in adapting to Richmond’s increasing heat, precipitation and flooding (

In a similar vein, the city’s public utilities department promotes RVAH2O for maintaining safe water, improving drainage and increasing the percentage captures of the combined sewer overflow (

als who’ve been doing the work for years and years,” she says. “If we continue to have those conversations and take away the silos but we have the same people at the same table, we’re also not going to advance ourselves in a way that is beneficial to our communities.”

In Suburbia

Over in Henrico County’s Varina district, a decades-long effort by residents to maintain the scenic and historic aspects of their community received a powerful setback in late January. e county Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to rezone 253 acres of former farmland at the northeast corner of Pocahontas Parkway and Route 5 (New Market Road) for Chesterfield-based East West Communities, the builders of the Brandermill and Woodlake developments, among others.

e developers are envisioning Arcadia, a large project divided by Willson

Laura Thomas, director of the Office of Sustainability for the city of Richmond

The Gang Opens Stanley, s

The former Robin Inn becomes a South Jersey/Philadelphia-style sandwich shop

If there are two things sacred to Philadelphians, it’s football and hoagies. In the City of Brotherly Love, don’t dare talk smack about the Eagles or try to serve sandwiches on anything but a hard split roll.

The story goes that the term “hoagie” originated at the city’s Hog Island shipyard. Italian immigrant workers there could be seen eating overstuffed cold-cut sandwiches for lunch dubbed “hoggies.” The Philly accent shi ed that pronunciation to “hoagie.” Decades later, hoagies remain an iconic culinary contribution from the area.

“Subs in New York, hoagies in Philly, it’s all essentially the same thing, but these subtle differences about it and the voracity of people in Philly … you need to respect that, and that kind of became my obsession,” says onetime Philadelphian James Kohler, former co-owner of Brenner Pass and Black Lodge and former beverage manager at Saison.

Years later, Kohler’s daily hoagie habit has become a restaurant concept. In early March, Kohler and co-owner Mike Epps will pay homage to Philly and South Jersey classics at Stanley’s. Located at 2601 Park Ave., the sandwich shop will take over the former Robin Inn space in the Fan.

Before opening, Kohler and partner Mike Epps, co-owner of Cobra Burger, trekked

north for further edible R&D, paying the godfathers of hoagies a visit in hopes of capturing the nostalgic, no-frills magic of those sandwich institutions and replicating it here in Richmond.

“It’s the best food city in America,” declares Kohler of Philadelphia. “It’s this amazing melting pot, but in this kind of no-bulls---, no-nonsense way. There’s a lot of a itude, but there’s a lot of pride.”

During their trip, the Stanley’s duo called on all the hoagie heavy hi ers, ordering a seeded Italian from Cosmi’s Deli, founded in 1932; visiting the iconic cash-only John’s Roast Pork; grabbing a slice of tomato pie from fifthgeneration Sarcone’s Bakery, in business more than a century; devouring cheesesteaks from respected newbie Apollo’s Pizzeria; and hi ing up Reading Terminal for roast pork and beef from Tommy DiNic’s.

“They’re not really menus that need to change … and that’s what makes spots like that great,” Kohler says.

Hoping to achieve longevity similar to the humble hoagie establishments they admire, Kohler and Epps knew they needed to find a space that felt seasoned and se led, channeling a li le South Jersey — an ambiance that cannot be created, only discovered. It presented itself to them one day as they drove down Park Avenue.

“I walked in immediately and was like, I love the space,” Kohler says of the former Robin Inn, which was shu ered last June a er nearly 60 years in the Fan.

Family-owned and -operated, the Italian eatery with its neon signs reading “The Robin Inn” (which is headed for The Valentine museum) and “Pizza Spaghe i Lasagne,” was helmed by the late Manuel and Carol Loupassi, and later their daughter Niki. Manuel bought the Robin Inn in the 1960s, seven years a er immigrating from Greece, and Niki took over ownership in 1996. When the time came to find a new tenant, they were very particular.

“They wanted something that felt like them a li le bit. I told them, ‘I’m going to try to keep this as much like this as I can,’ ” Kohler says. “It is what a neighborhood restaurant looks like. You can’t buy the feel of this.”

Inside Stanley’s, the dining room is a time capsule do ed with framed family pictures, including shots of Kohler’s grandfather, the restaurant’s namesake, and his twin brother, Norm, along with photos of historic spots in

MARCH / 2023 80
Stanley’s owners James Kohler [left] and Mike Epps

Philadelphia. Phase two of the eatery will bring a refresh to a handful of rooms split off from the main dining area, with the owners contemplating a hangout with pool tables and a basement bar.

Kohler and Epps say they are excited to introduce the space to Richmonders, especially those who may be experiencing it for the first time.

“Mike was sending me pics from places he would go that had the good stuff, and it was like, … ‘Can we do that, and have it also be a bar and my favorite aspects of every part of Philly?’ ” Kohler says.

The tight lineup of deli offerings doesn’t stray far from the canon: the menu lists cold or hot Italians, a chicken cutlet with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe, eggplant cutlet, roast pork and, of course, a cheesesteak. The latter is offered with Cheese Whiz or Cooper Sharp White cheese and features shaved rib-eye cooked with smoked beef tallow and onions. The namesake house cheesesteak is joined by pickled sweet and hot peppers.

Fundamental to a hoagie, the oversized, crusty-on-theoutside and so -and-chewy-on-the-inside long rolls are being sourced from an undisclosed source that is “not in Richmond,” and Stanley’s will serve deli meats from New Jersey-based Thumann’s. Close friend and Philadelphia native Zach Tro a has been on speed dial for any questions and to offer a seal of approval on authenticity.

“For me, this sort of food is like stripping the best parts of the meal down to the basic degree,” says Epps, a Richmond-area native. “You can still create this extreme layered

experience with this super basic dish. That’s the stuff I chase now.”

Another authentic Philly dish at Stanley’s: Tomato pie — and it ain’t your Southern, Duke’s-spiked version from Grandma. A beloved regional specialty, spongy, focaccia-esque bread is baked in a sheet pan, cut into squares, blitzed with a sprinkle of cheese and sold by the slice at room temperature.

In the Stanley’s kitchen is Marc Rhodes, former executive chef at Saison, and Metzger Bar & Butchery’s longtime chef de cuisine, Carson Bledsoe. Behind the bar, expect to spot Kohler, in addition to a few familiar faces yet to be revealed.

The cocktail menu will be a mix of staples, along with the boozy, Philly-bred Fish House Punch featuring cognac, rum and brandy. A small, curated list of Italian wines, dra beer and cider round out the libations.

“I said to Mike, ‘Did we ironically just create “The Bear,” but in Richmond,’” Kohler says, referring to the restaurant dramedy show. “Everyone here is painfully good at their job, and now we’re all working at the sandwich place.”

But a sandwich place can also be a special place. A neighborhood hangout, a judgment-free zone, a casual refuge where less is more.

“There’s nothing esoteric about Stanley’s; you don’t have to explain it,” Kohler says. “I’ve desperately been trying to chase finding the Richmond ‘Cheers,’ and I really do want to help create that if I can, and I think there’s an opportunity for that here.”

The McKoko sandwich from Stanley’s

Global Grabs

A passport to signature sandwiches around the world

Jambon Buerre, Can Can Cafe (800 E. Broad St.)

Bread and butter are simple pleasures that will never go out of style. The French favorites shine in the jambon beurre, a quintessential Parisian principal. The star is the crusty baguette — it should pass the knock test — layered with a soft blanket of butter and slices of cooked ham. Located inside the Library of Virginia, Can Can Cafe is a weekday extension of the Carytown brasserie.

Mi, Pho Saigon (10190 W. Broad St., Glen Allen)

This sandwich rose to popularity in the streets of Saigon following the end of French colonial rule, when the Vietnamese were finally free to use the baguette as they pleased, adding meats, crispy veggies, cilantro, jalapeno, mayo and pate. This banh mi comes with a side of broth, o ering a little dunk-and-dip action.

Bocata Arepa Bar (10170 W. Broad St., Glen Allen)

You may need fork reinforcement for this one. A Venezuelan staple, this hefty cornmeal cake is stu ed then fried, its fillings ranging from eggs and cheese to avocado, beans and plantains. Originating from indigenous tribes in Colombia and Venezuela, the word arepa is derived from “erepa,” which means maize. Order the Diablito, featuring deviled ham and white cheese and described by co-owner Eduin Serrudo as a “very Venezuelan” dish.

Breaded and pan-fried cutlets span many cultures, but the schnitzel has become a beloved sandwich in both Jewish and German cuisine, brought from Europe to Israel by Ashkenazi Jews. At Perly’s, the Shapiro Schnitzel is laden with shredded lettuce, bread-andbutter-pickled cauliflower, and skhug, a bright and spicy Middle Eastern hot sauce, all on toasted challah.

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Banh Schnitzel, Perly’s (111 E. Grace St.) Arepa,

Sandwiches are one of the greatest culinary commonalities. Wherever you go in the world, each place has its own interpretation. And while vessels and contents vary, they all offer a hand-held dose of history and culture.

Cuban, La Bodega (104 N. 18th St.)

Grilled and pressed, this salty, crunchy sandwich earned its name as the chosen lunch for thousands of Cuban cigar workers and immigrants in Tampa, Florida, but is actually thought to have first been introduced more than 500 years ago by the Taino tribe in Cuba. Pork comes roasted mojo style — braised in a juice of sour oranges, garlic, oregano and cumin until tender — then topped with slivers of ham and Swiss cheese, thin-sliced pickles, and mustard.

This wide two-hander Mexican sandwich comes loaded with beans, cabbage, jalapeno, mayo, tomato, avocado, onion, cheese and your meat of choice on a flu y telera bun, reminiscent of a brioche. My go-to torta is the al pastor, but the namesake El Chido is a meat lover’s dream with a chicken cutlet, chorizo, ham and hot dog. Expect to box up half of this sizable edible creation for later.

Shawarma, Scott’s Shawarma (1400 Roseneath Road, 5401 Glenside Drive)

Originating in the Ottoman Empire, shawarma translates to “turning” in Arabic. The wrapped dish reigns supreme at Scott’s Shawarma, with Executive Chef Mahmoud Farah — a native of Palestine who gained his chops in New York — helming the rotating spits of beef, chicken and lamb. Destined for pita or markook — a paper-thin Middle Eastern flatbread — the meats are joined by zippy pickled beets, crunchy cukes, salad and tahini sauce.

With Whiz or without, that is the question. As a product of the City of Brotherly Love, I feel a pressure to choose, but as the food editor, I plead the Fifth. Every Friday, Fat Kid Sandwiches hosts a Cheesesteak Emporium, a three-hour window where hoagie heads can get a foot-long or 6-inch roll brimming with chopped rib-eye, fried onions and an extra heaping of white American cheese.

Torta, El Chido (7568 W. Broad St., 6715 Staples Mill Road) Philly Cheesesteak, Fat Kid Sandwiches (400/414 Hull St.)

Let,s Be Frank

Hot dogs are having a resurgence, and we’re here for it

e etymology of the term “hot dog” is murky. It goes a li le something like this: The scene is a baseball stadium in the early 1900s. American sports columnist Tad Dorgan is listening to vendors tout their hot dachshund sausages and decides this visual is his next cartoon for The New York Journal. But there’s a hiccup: Dorgan can’t spell. Liberties are taken, and in his tubular meat depiction the words “hot dog” are born. While the origins of the actual wiener are decidedly German, Americans (and Richmonders) have fully embraced the frankfurter, bedazzling it with almost anything.

At Fat Kid Sandwiches, a split-top bun contains a he y one-hander banh mi roller dog with thin carrot shavings, pickled mushrooms and a sparky red curry peanut sauce. Joey’s Hot Dogs’ Hot Italian is a fancy and neatly assembled sausage. You could dog and drive with this one, adorned with overtly beefed chili, finely diced onion and a gentle swipe of mustard.

A real knife-and-forker, Perly’s Chazerai beef giant comes with a schmear of egg salad tucked into the crevice of a poppy seed roll piled precariously high with Fresno chile relish, and a crispy


Must-have condiments made in Virginia by Bird Cox

fried pickle. The Big Mac Dog from Horne Dogs straddles the line of hamburger and hotdog with shreds of lettuce, chopped pickles and onions, Thousand Island dressing, and sliced cheese. Eazzy Burger’s Locote is a frank vibing with street corn, creating mayo- and queso-laden bites sporadically popping with chile crunch.

No wiener tour would be complete without the Alpine Dog from Black Lodge. Dog madness awaits with buns full of weenies covered in peppers, fried onions, fondue and speck.

AR’s Hot Southern Honey

Spicy honey hits a high note on breakfast sandwiches, grilled cheeses, roasted veggie paninis and pretty much anything with poultry — not to mention that it makes a killer PB&H.

Duke’s Mayonnaise

The Richmondmade classic adds a touch of tanginess wherever it appears, adding the decisive schmear to BLTs and even peanut butter.

Fast, sloppy and best to go are the local bargain dogs. City Dogs takes you right down memory lane (and maybe those memories include a late night or two? A hot dog never tells) with the Richmond Original and its orange-ish chili, bright yellow mustard, haphazardly chopped onions and everywhere portability, all for under $3. Ray’s Dog House is no frills, all flat-top, and every topping is free — which is “have it your way” heaven. A suggestion from the window of the parking lot dog stand in Jackson Ward is a he y dash of Old Bay, onions, peppers and spicy chili.

Twisted Carrot Farms

Twisted Carrot pickles radishes, turnips and carrots that will level you up. Pick up their sage-laced herbed mustard and wild greens pesto, too; both are great on crusty bread with meat or cheese.

Wild Earth


Snag Wild Earth’s beautiful eggplant caponata to add to a caprese, some jalapeno chow-chow for a turkey and Swiss, and a jar of bok choy kimchi to make a supreme banh mi.

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Above: The Big Mac Dog (left) and the Hot Dog King from Horne Dogs

No Wheat, No Meat

An ode to gluten-free and veg-friendly sandwich offerings

Ilove turkey sandwiches. I love them to the point that my lunch only varies by the type of turkey sandwich that I’m eating: turkey Reuben, turkey Italian, turkey-havarti-apple, my “special beach sandwich” (turkey, mozzarella, tomatoes and olive tapenade). I get down with all post-Thanksgiving sandwich revelry. But I have celiac disease, and I was a vegetarian for 14 years, so the turkey sandwiches I have eaten have o en contained neither turkey nor what most people consider bread.

Richmond astounds me with its massive array of vegetarian and gluten-free sandwich options, surpassing metropolises from New York to San Francisco.

you’re vegetarian, grab their veggie muffule a panino stuffed with zucchini, havarti, fennel, radish, peppers and onions and laced with lemon-dill vinaigre e and aioli.

Garne ’s is unmissable for gluten-free and veg folks, with a sandwich menu that rolls out like “Star Wars” credits, and gluten-free bread and Tofurkey available for any selection. I get the Belle, which comes fa ened with zippy coleslaw, Swiss and bacon atop a pile of turkey. From the hot sandwich list, the Scribe features Garne ’s house-pickled mushrooms, Gruyere and caramelized onions. Also on the panini tip, the bu ernut squash, kale, caramelized onion and lemon-thyme aioli beauty from Stella’s Grocery. Cafe Zata spikes classic sammies (glutenfree optional) with horseradish, pepper gourmaise and mango sauce, with outstanding chips made in-house. See what I mean about Richmond’s commitment to creativity and quality for all diets and sandwich fans?

Buttermilk and Honey’s Smashville vegan fried chicken sandwich

One of the most vibrant stripes in the Richmond rainbow of gluten-free and vegetarian sandwiches is Bu ermilk and Honey, home to the Smashville: a spicy fried “chicken” sandwich with slaw and pickles that is gluten-free, vegetarian and so good that you might cry a li le, especially given the rarity of GF/veg fried “chicken” options. I felt moved to get up and thank the entire kitchen staff when I ate there. Another mind-blowing gluten-free fried chicken sandwich awaits at Pinky’s, bedecked with pickled Fresno chiles, Asiago and honey. It slays. If

And, of course, there are those No. 1 stunners that Richmond vegetarians have loved for ages: the fried artichoke sub at 821 Cafe and the cheese Colombo at Coppola’s Deli (with or without eggplant), which is now available gluten-free, too. If you’ve had one of these, you’re smiling right now. They’re legendary. Even without turkey.



Since its restoration in the 1930s, Colonial Williamsburg has had an outsized influence on interior design in Richmond. Homeowners from Varina to the near West End and beyond have furnished their homes in the formal traditional style presented there. In 2023, designers are giving traditional a new spin: it’s less formal, more colorful and totally today. Williamsburg’s 2023 Designer in Residence, Heather Chadduck Hillegas, could teach a master class on breaking traditional style out of its box — incorporating rich color and pattern to create relaxed yet stunningly beautiful spaces. Step through the doorway of the circa 1695 Nelson-Galt house on Page 60 with Paula Peters Chambers for a look at Hillegas’ delightful redesign.

Sometimes it takes a kindred spirit to help a house reclaim its status as a home. Kim Faison says she felt an affinity for the 1857 Italianate house she recently restored in Church Hill from the moment she walked through the door — despite its derelict condition. Elizabeth Cogar talks with the antique dealer, who filled the house with pieces from her collections of Continental and English antiques, on Page 52.

Whether you’re in need of a carpenter, electrician or housekeeping service, or just want to know the best place to shop for a midcentury modern co ee table, you’ll find the results of our annual Readers’ Favorites Survey, on Page 68, a helpful guide. It’s the ultimate word-of-mouth resource for all things home related in RVA.

Like your favorite painting, a quirky antique cupboard, primitive table or mahogany chest can add a one-of-a-kind element of charm, sophistication and style to your room. Antiques are chic again. Kim Catley explores the benefits of buying vintage on Page 36.

Even though the spring equinox is more than a month away at this writing, I’ve been daydreaming about the gorgeous gardens and houses across the state opening their doors to visitors during Historic Garden Week in April. On Page 44, Susan Higgins presents a look at the Richmond-area tours featured on the 90th anniversary of this statewide salute to spring.

Landscape designer Mike Pyle of HGTV’s “Inside Out” speaks with Kyra Molinaro about his appearances at the Richmond Home + Garden Show on Page 92. We also take a look at the resurgence of interest in the idyllic cottage style embraced by cottagecore fans on Page 48.


In the January/ February article on the PRO Contractor Awards, we inadvertently ran a photo on Page 50 of a project by Custom Kitchens under the Organizational Remodeling Project category in place of thisphoto of Kathy Corbet’s work.


Find beautiful photos of local homes, expert design tips and advice, and much more at

From top: Kate Thompson; QPH PHoto 22 mar-apr 2023
CHECK OUT R•HOME ON CBS 6 DURING ‘VIRGINIA THIS MORNING ’! Tune in for our home and garden tips on the following Wednesdays: March 8, April 12 and 26 Find us at R•Home magazine on Facebook and @rhomemag on Instagram. Susan W. Morgan THINK SPRING! 

apprentice for 10 years.”

The resulting aesthetic is a warm combination of shades of blue and taupe, delightful antique furnishings with patina and lively new textiles and wallcoverings. “It’s an old house with early things in an updated setting,” she says.

There are three traditional formal rooms on the first floor, but not the stu y kind. Antique painted tables, tall case clocks, corner chairs and comfy sofas, well-worn rugs, three coal fireplaces that have been

converted to gas, a primitive dining room table from Norway, Italian tables that she loves — “they add flair and curve” — all make for a space to casually welcome guests and family. She defines her style as “Continental … European,” and adds, “I like a mix of primitives from di erent countries and what brings them all together is their age.”

Adjacent to her state-of-theart kitchen is the morning room, brightened by south-facing windows and overlooking a tidy gar -

den. The room is Faison’s favorite. “I’ve always wanted to do upholstered walls,” she says, and at last s he was able to make it happen with Thibaut fabric and padding that give the room a luxurious and hushed ambience.

Every room features tiles –Dutch Delft and French faience in particular – found in her travels. “I’ve sold and collected tiles for years … picked up a box of tiles here and a box of tiles there. … I’m crazy about pottery, and I’ve always loved blue

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