All the news that’s fit to eat
Casa Del Barco opening soon at Short Pump Town Center – HOUSEpitality Group, the folks behind The Boathouse and Casa Del Barco, will open their second Casa location, bringing the Mexican flavors of their Canal Walk restaurant downtown to Short Pump Town Center. No opening date has been publicly announced, but we hear it will be very soon (in fact we’re headed to preview the soon-to-be-completed space Thursday morning). The 8,400-square-foot restaurant takes over the space formerly occupied by Tara Thai and will feature upscale decor, a private dining area, and an open-air rooftop tequileria where patrons can choose from a menu of 200 tequilas and mezcals. The second location of Casa del Barco will offer a similar menu to the original, featuring Mexican cuisine made with fresh, local ingredients and inventive cocktails. Read our article announcing the location from back in February here.
Blaze Pizza now open in Innsbrook – A fast casual pizza chain’s second Richmond area location is firing up in Glen Allen. Blaze Pizza opened in Innsbrook this past weekend at 4101 Dominion Boulevard in a newly-constructed outparcel building in front of The Shoppes at Innsbrook. The concept offers nine signature pizzas, a build-your-own option, and a selection of salads. Everything is made to order. The company’s first Richmond location is in Midlothian. Read more here.
Richmond’s next brewery will feature all sorts of snacks and entrées – Husband and wife team Michael C. Hild & Laura Dyer Hild own both are at it again. The pair behind $4 million in investments in Manchester (including the forthcoming Butterbean and Hot Diggity Donuts concepts) have announced plans for Dogtown Brewing Co. at 1209 Hull Street. Beyond beer, though (the details of which you can read in our RVA Beer Explorer) you can expect everything from small bites to larger plates–a rarity in the Richmond brewing scene. Expect everything from oysters and soups to pupusas, burgers, and ribs when the new spot opens in late 2018 or early 2019. Richard Hayes has the scoop here.
A rundown of some of Richmond’s best smoked fish – Would you buy smoked fish from a barbecue place attached to an auto shop? Dina Weinstein, writing for Richmond Magazine, says don’t overlook it! She names TD’s Smokehouse in the West End as one of the area’s best spots for the dish, popular at holiday tables. Restaurants such as Southbound, Heritage, and Perly’s are also named among the roundup. I can personally attest that Perly’s fish board is probably one of the best in town. Check it all out here.
All is forgiven at the Library of Virginia if you donate to FeedMore – It happens to the best of us. If you’ve been avoiding the Library of Virginia because you haven’t returned books or other materials, take heart: a donation of canned foods to FeedMore means all will be forgiven, according to their Facebook page. Just bring canned foods, not money, and your fines will vanish into thin air. If only this worked with credit card debt! Get all the details here.
Donate to Pasture’s annual foster care holiday gift drive – Speaking of donations, the good folks at Pasture, led by Michele Jones, are once again collecting items for kids in Central Virginia’s foster care system. Drop off everything from essentials like hats, scarves and gloves to toiletries, toys, and clothes to the restaurant at 416 E. Grace Street by December 17th. All gifts must be new and unwrapped. Details here.
This week’s restaurant reviews
Food News: More January closures, not-so-sweet times at Sugar Shack, and a new Italian joint
The week in food
As we enter the third week of the year, the Richmond restaurant scene is hopping – and ever transient. First up, news that Acacia mid-town is closing its doors at the end of the month. The RTD’s Karri Peifer says the restaurant will finish up the month and then a “new venture” will be announced – at a separate location. Meanwhile, the current building has been sold. Much more to come on this front for sure.
Elsewhere on the restaurant closing front, the rumor that Aloi in Scott’s Addition may be closing its digs became reality with the restaurant announcing the impending closure, also at the end of January, on its social channels.
Finally, as you know by now, Comfort is closing at the end of the month. If you enjoyed, as I did, their summer sandwich popup known as The Paulie, you’ll be happy to know it’s making one more return before the restaurant closes down.
In what may already be the most Richmond story of 2020, there’s plenty of drama at Sugar Shack Donuts this week. Earlier this week, a “now leasing” sign appeared perched atop the donut chain’s flagship location on Lombardy Street – with sources saying only that the shop’s lease was up in July. Then came a viral posting from an alleged former employee who claimed 40 employees were laid off and the owner, Ian Kelley, was facing allegations of sexual assault. We haven’t been able to independently verify the claims made in the viral Facebook post, which you can read for yourself here, but things look less than rosy for Sugar Shack right now.
On the openings front, The Angry Mussels, which takes over the former Kitchen on Cary space at 1331 E. Cary Street in Shockoe Slip, is now open and serving up authentic Italian cuisine, including a few menu samples such as linguini with clam sauce, Italian sausage and broccoli, steak saltimbocca, and other traditional dishes. Get more details here.
Food News: The decade that changed Richmond dining, farewell to Comfort, and the scoop on Scoop
The week in food
Welcome to our all-new Food News Roundup to start of the New Year! We hope you enjoy this more conversational roundup of the area’s food news, restaurant happenings, and other culinary headlines. Let’s get right to it, shall we?
Perhaps the week’s most shared news is the word that Comfort, the pioneering restaurant owned by Jason Alley and Michele Jones in the Arts District is closing at the end of the month after 17 years in business. Comfort, which served up hearty and delicious comfort food as the name might suggest, was one of those special establishments that helped put Richmond on the map when it came to dining. In recent years, the restaurant shifted to a model where all profits benefitted local food bank FeedMore. You still have the rest of the month to pop in and bid Comfort adieu and wish Jason and Michele luck on their next adventure in the culinary consulting world.
The 2010s were no doubt the decade that made Richmond a food city and brought us international acclaim, thanks to a bevy of innovative restaurants and chefs. Karri Peifer at the RTD has a nice recap that hits all the major points in our journey to becoming a foodie destination here; Style Weekly has a great look back at 2019 in food over here.
I guess we could call this section the rumor roundup, but word on the streets is Aloi in Scott’s Addition will serve its last plate at the end of the month as well. We can’t yet independently verify this claim, but you can read the chatter on Reddit here.
How cool is this? Scoop ice cream shop on Strawberry Street in the Fan has been sold to someone pretty familiar with the venue. Former Video Fan video rental shop owner Paula Demmert has scooped up the shop from founder Morgan Botwinick for an undisclosed sum. She said the experience felt like coming home.
Word to the wise, if you’re going to open up a restaurant, first off – get a license from the Health Department. Second, store your food properly and clean your equipment! Here’s a look at what can happen when these two basic rules aren’t followed. But wait, there’s more! The owner is supposedly looking to expand his holdings with a new (hopefully properly-licensed?) restaurant in the new Scott’s View towers in Scott’s Addition.
- Brewer’s Waffles (Richmond Magazine)
- Nama (Style Weekly) – Editor’s note: Oof, this is cringe-worthy, but not for the restaurant featured.
- Poor Boys (Richmond Times-Dispatch and Style Weekly)
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Weekly Food News: Bateau set to open on the Canal Walk, Swan Dive closes up shop, and Crab Cake Week
This week, a look into what led to the closure of Swan Dive in The Fan, news on Richmond’s first Crab Cake Week and related activities, and a look at Bateau, which opens on the Canal Walk downtown this Saturday.
All the news that’s fit to eat
Bateau on the Canal Walk set to open this weekend – A new restaurant opens its doors on Richmond’s Canal Walk downtown this Saturday. Bateau, from husband and wife team Harry Watkins and Arvat McClaine will offer a unique coffee and wine experience that pairs with a food menu featuring locally-sourced ingredients. The restaurant will also tell the story of the Canal’s history with bateaus (French for boat). It sounds like it will be a unique and inviting place (and the pictures show a gorgeous interior). Bateau is located at 301 Virginia Street. Here’s a look inside from Richmond Magazine’s Eileen Mellon.
Swan Dive, closed for several weeks, officially announces closure, sale – If you’ve been wondering about the shuttered Swan Dive space on N. Davis Avenue, your suspicions have been confirmed. The restaurant, owned by Kevin Roberts (formerly of The Black Sheep), opened about a year ago. The restaurant has been sold to a yet-to-be-named new owner. In a Facebook post, Roberts and his wife Rachelle said the restaurant didn’t get the TLC it deserved as they focused on family and their other restaurant, Perly’s Restaurant & Delicatessen downtown. More from the RTD’s Karri Peifer here.
Crab Cake Week is coming to Richmond, and The Savory Grain is kicking it off with a special event – Richmond will hold host to the very first Crab Cake Week coming up June 1st through the 9th. The idea is to promote sustainably-sourced seafood and highlight the role Chesapeake Bay blue crabs play in Virginia’s culture and economy. Participating restaurants will donate 10% of sales to Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. The Savory Grain is also hosting an all-you-can-eat crab pickin’ June 3rd to coincide with the week. Learn more about all the goings on right here.
This week’s restaurant reviews
No new local reviews to share!