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Giant Pizza Invades the Fan with Opening of Benny Ventano’s

Big pizza is the name of this game.

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Continental Divide went by the wayside and now there is a new pizza place in its spot on Main Street. For those from Blacksburg, they’ll be familiar with what Benny Ventano’s brings to the table. What the bring to the table is massive pizza as in 28″ of pizza goodness or a Virginia Slice which is cut from that massive pizza resulting as you would guess a massive slice.

That’s pretty much all they do, pizza. Five bucks will get you a slice and $38 a whole pizza.

This is the 20th location of a Benny. They’re all named a variation of Benny. The one in Blacksburg is Benny Marzano’s. As for the Fan’s Benny Ventano’s there is a reason for the name.

Building upon the original Benedito’s persona, “Ventano’s” represents the patient, disciplined side of Benny. Ventano loosely means fan, relating to Richmond’s Fan District, and plays of venti, meaning twenty, as this is our 20thBenny’s location. What does this have to do with patience? Well, Richmond was going to be our 5th location, and then 8th, 13th, 16th …. but it was never meant to be… until now!

We look forward to our opening this Winter 2019, so we can finally bring our 28″ pizza to the great capitol of the greatest state in the country!

To give you an idea of how big a Virginia Slice is check out the Instagram photos below.

 

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She was delivered with all 10 pepperonis weighing in at a healthy count of calories #fresh #newborn #futurehokie @beckssbrown #bennysza

A post shared by Benny Marzano’s (@thevirginiaslice) on

 

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Sorry Ty Outlaw, if your roommate buys a slice we are going to charge you too #logic #copisadukefan #gohokies #sweet16

A post shared by Benny Marzano’s (@thevirginiaslice) on

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Stoney: City to “cautiously move” into Phase 1 of reopening plan on Friday, May 29th

On Thursday, Mayor Stoney announced that the City of Richmond will cautiously move into Phase 1 of Forward Virginia, the state’s reopening plan. Masks will be required in all indoor spaces and restaurants will be asked to voluntarily connect patrons’ information for contact tracing purposes.

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On Thursday, Mayor Stoney announced that the City of Richmond will cautiously move into Phase 1 of Forward Virginia, the state’s reopening plan.

“When I look at the picture in totality, given the added tools at our disposal, the current trends in our local data and my faith in Richmonders to look out for one another, I believe that Richmond can cautiously move into Phase 1 on Friday, May 29,” said Mayor Stoney at Thursday’s press conference.

During the first delay that the City of Richmond requested, the Stoney administration and Richmond City Health District expanded testing efforts, implemented a contact tracing effort, ensured every COVID-19 positive Richmonder will be able to isolate safely and securely with supported isolation, and advocated for a statewide mask requirement.

The city initially requested a modified Phase 1 reopening that maintained restrictions on places of worship and personal care and grooming services, as mass gatherings and close personal contact for extended periods of time both significantly increase chance of community spread.

Because the governor denied the city’s modified plan for reopening, Richmond will move into Phase 1 of Forward Virginia, the state’s reopening plan, with strong recommendations reflecting the mayor’s proposed modifications. Local guidance and helpful links to state guidance are available here. The state has yet to provide guidance on what Phases 2 and 3 will include.

The mayor detailed a number of best practices for residents and business owners to ensure that the city moves into Phase 1 cautiously. The best practices emerged from conversations between the Stoney administration and members of the business community, faith leadership, and health professionals.

  1. All residents who are medically able to should wear a face-covering that covers the mouth and nose when in public spaces. The wearing of a face covering does not negate the need for 6-foot social distancing.
  2. Faith communities should continue to meet virtually if possible. If in-person meetings are absolutely necessary, the mayor strongly recommends faith groups meet outside while practicing strict social distancing and enforcing the face-covering requirement.
  3. Food and drink establishments that choose to offer outdoor service at half capacity are asked to request a name and contact information of patrons who dine in for contact tracing purposes. This practice is voluntary for both patrons and restaurants. However, collecting this small amount of information for each dine-in party will go far in assisting the Richmond City Health District in tracing and containing outbreaks. Guidance on this practice is available here.

The mayor made two requests of the state: to continue to assist the city in further expanding testing capacity and in providing adequate face-coverings and hand sanitizer throughout the capital city.

“Quite frankly, we’re going to need more support from the state for our residents and our businesses to reopen safely and sustainably,” the mayor noted in his appeal. “I make these recommendations and requests of the state because, as has been my mantra this entire pandemic. Reopening should be slow and steady.”

“When public health is on the line, blindly pushing forward is not an option. Decisions must be thoughtful, and they must be based in our collective knowledge of and love for our city.”

See more reopening guidance for local businesses here: www.rvastrong.org/reopeningguidance.

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Community

Underground Kitchen’s New Food Relief Nonprofit Surpasses 10K Meals Distributed

The food relief operation currently has nine chefs and two bakers working in church kitchens to produce homemade soup and bread, soon to include family-style pot pies, pastas, and casserole dishes to help sustain families for several days.

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Great news from the folks at Underground Kitchen.

In less than two months, the UGK Community First Project – officially registered as 501(c)(3) nonprofit in early May – has provided more than 10,000 nourishing meals to people throughout metro Richmond, primarily to those who are food insecure or whose jobs put them at high risk of exposure during the COVID-19 crisis. The Community First Project was formed by Michael Sparks and Kate Houck, the CEO and COO respectively of Underground Kitchen, an acclaimed Richmond, Va.-based experiential, roving dinner series that’s now on hold until it is safe to resume operation.

The UGK Community First Project initially launched on March 16, 2020, right after Underground Kitchen paused its dinner series in response to the COVID-19 crisis. “We saw an immediate need in our community created by the crisis – both for healthy meals to be delivered to those in need, as well as for those in the food industry to have access to work in a safe environment to support their families,” says Houck.

The first 175 meals were delivered to individuals impacted by the crisis and front-line health workers in the community the week of March 23, 2020. By May 11, 2020 that number had increased to 2,000 meals for the week, distributed to food insecure communities, those who are home-bound or quarantined, front-line health workers, first responders, families and care-givers and others throughout Richmond.

UGK Community First has scaled up its response to help through the generous support of Episcopal Diocese of Virginia member churches in metro Richmond. The food relief operation currently has nine chefs and two bakers working in church kitchens to produce homemade soup and bread, soon to include family-style pot pies, pastas, and casserole dishes to help sustain families for several days.

“We are conscious of the continued impact of COVD-19 and are committed to doing what we can to address the need for meals in the community for the duration of its influence,” says Houck.

“However, we have also seen that, regardless of the agencies that already exist in the region, there continues to be a deep need for healthy, unprocessed, consistently delivered meals even in the best of times. Therefore, we see UGK Community First continuing long after this crisis passes, with a focus on distributing meals to families and children who live in a constant food insecure environment, as well as supplementing other programs who are doing the same,” she adds.

In addition to the Episcopal churches, over the past several weeks, Underground Kitchen has worked with a coalition of community partners, donors, and volunteers including: Better2gether RVA, CARITAS, GoochlandCares, La Casa de la Salud RVA, the Armstrong Renaissance community, Virginia Supportive Housing, and CultureWorks Richmond (through the COVID-19 Arts and Culture Relief Fund).

UGK Community First has also supplied meals to: St. Mary’s Hospital, Memorial Regional Medical Center, Richmond Community Hospital (all part of Bon Secours), McGuire VA Medical Center, Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Richmond, Richmond Ambulance Authority, and The Doorways.

For more information about the UGK Community First Project food relief operation, please visit theundergroundkitchen.org.

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Community

1,500 From-scratch Biscuits Fueling the Frontlines

The “Give a Biscuit” project by Salt & Forge donated 1,500 biscuits day and night shifts to area hospitals, emergency rooms, ICUs, and COVID units.

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Salt & Forge brought some joy — and biscuits — to area hospitals during Nurses’ Week (May 6-12). Pulling together resources and connections, Salt & Forge was able to secure funding to prepare and deliver over 1,500 biscuits.

The “Give a Biscuit” project was born out of necessity. How could the restaurant keep its staff employed while closures across the country put many on unemployment? How could the restaurant support their community and uplift those in the trenches, responsible for caring for Richmond’s vulnerable? This project was an answer for both.

The “Give a Biscuit” project was made possible by donations from SAVE RVA Restaurants, Richmond Academy of Medicine, FLAG RVA, and the generosity of Salt & Forge customers. Customers had the option to add a $5 “Give a Biscuit” to their orders, thus supplying one biscuit to a frontline healthcare worker.

With the funds, Salt & Forge was able to deliver fresh-made biscuits to both day and night shifts in all area hospitals, emergency rooms, ICUs, and COVID units including HCA, Bon Secours, VCU Health, and McGuire Veterans Hospital.

The “Give a Biscuit” project is still in operation. David Hahn, owner, says, “as long as there are healthcare workers putting themselves on the frontline every day, we are going to feed them.” They have already received commitments from other groups to help feed caregivers beyond Nurses Week.

 

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