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Richmond Region Tourism launches BLK RVA campaign to highlight Richmond’s black experience

“Black business, Black culture, and Black creative expression continue to flourish in this region, making it more vibrant than ever before,” says advisory board chair Enjoli Moon. “The Black experience in Richmond is rooted, yet rising—this is a place where we connect with our past, celebrate the present, and look toward a bright future.”

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Richmond Region Tourism and The Black Experience Initiative, an advisory board of community members focused on developing unique ways to attract tourism while highlighting Richmond’s Black culture, have launched BLK RVA. The new tourism campaign highlights and celebrates the Black cultural experience in the Richmond region.

Richmond Region Tourism, the advisory board, and Ryano Graphics have dedicated the past two years to develop the initiative that fosters tourism and patronage of Black businesses in Richmond. BLK RVA encompasses four pillars: Arts and Entertainment, Food and Drink, History, and Community.

“Black business, Black culture, and Black creative expression continue to flourish in this region, making it more vibrant than ever before,” says advisory board chair Enjoli Moon. “The Black experience in Richmond is rooted, yet rising—this is a place where we connect with our past, celebrate the present, and look toward a bright future.”

Ryano Graphics, owned by Visual Strategist Shannon Bass, joined the Richmond Region Tourism team to provide the graphic and web design, videography and digital strategy that brings the campaign to life. The team includes Janna M. Hall, Andre Johnson, and Antonio “Knoxx,” all of whom are Richmond residents who understand the importance of making the Black experience a cornerstone of Richmond area tourism.

The campaign comes in time to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Africans to Virginia in 1619. In fact, 1 in 4 African Americans in the United States have roots in Richmond, Va. Creating the opportunity for others to connect with this history and Richmond’s Black community is the crux of BLK RVA.

“The Richmond region is a vibrant, multicultural hub,” said Katherine O’Donnell, executive vice president of Richmond Region Tourism. “We are very grateful for all the community volunteers and leaders who came together to create the BLK RVA campaign.”

BLK RVA provides opportunities for residents and tourists to support Black-owned businesses through in-person patronage and online engagement while telling important stories of the historical landmarks that make the Richmond Region what it is today.

Current BLK RVA partners include:

  • Afrikana Independent Film Festival
  • Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia
  • Chesterfield County Economic Development
  • Elegba Folklore Society
  • Hanover County
  • Henrico County
  • JMI
  • Library of Virginia
  • Mama J’s Kitchen
  • Preservation Virginia
  • PWT, LLC
  • Richmond Black Restaurant Experience
  • Richmond National Battlefield Park and Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site
  • Samantha Willis, Writer, journalist, co-creator of the Unmasking Series
  • Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church
  • The American Civil War Museum
  • The Valentine
  • Town of Ashland
  • Untold RVA
  • Venture Richmond
  • Virginia Africana Associates
  • Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
  • Virginia Museum of History & Culture
  • Virginia State University
  • Virginia Tourism Corporation

To learn more about the BLK RVA campaign, go to www.visitblkrva.com.

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Venture Richmond teams up with city for “Picnic in a Parklet” program to assist businesses during reopening phases

“We acknowledge the difficulty Richmond businesses face when trying to safely reopen and want to do what we can to make that easier on them,” said Max Hepp-Buchanan, Director of Riverfront and Downtown Placemaking for Venture Richmond. “Parklets have the potential to offer an attractive, comfortable space for customers to physically-distance adjacent to the business, which may be needed for a smoother reopening. We look forward to working with any business in the city that submits a request.”

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Venture Richmond has announced a new initiative, “Picnic in a Parklet,” a program designed to assist Richmond restaurants and other businesses with Phase 2 and 3 of Forward Virginia. Through this new partnership with the City of Richmond, business owners can receive design and permitting assistance for their requests for more outdoor space, particularly parklets.

Parklets are outdoor patio spaces constructed in the on-street parking lane of the street in front of a business that can function as an area for customers to gather and/or take to-go orders and eat outside in a physically-distanced environment. Parklets are, by definition, public space; but, restaurants can offer lightly packaged to-go orders for people who simply want to dine in the parklet in front of the restaurant.

“Transforming our use of public space innovatively and sustainably requires partnerships just like this one,” said Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. “By linking the business and design communities, this program will expand the city’s growing network of creatively designed public spaces.”

Business-owners who are interested in temporarily converting an on-street parking space adjacent to their storefront into a parklet will be connected with Venture Richmond to better assess their needs. If a parklet will be helpful and appropriate, Venture Richmond will work with the American Institute of Architects Richmond Chapter (AIA Richmond) to connect businesses with a certified architect for pro-bono parklet design services. Venture Richmond will assist the applicant through the steps needed to obtain a permit from the City of Richmond.

“We acknowledge the difficulty Richmond businesses face when trying to safely reopen and want to do what we can to make that easier on them,” said Max Hepp-Buchanan, Director of Riverfront and Downtown Placemaking for Venture Richmond. “Parklets have the potential to offer an attractive, comfortable space for customers to physically-distance adjacent to the business, which may be needed for a smoother reopening. We look forward to working with any business in the city that submits a request.”

Unless otherwise specified or revoked, parklet permits are valid for three years. All requests within Richmond City limits will be considered.

Requests for parklets can be submitted through the RVA Strong website. General information about parklets can be found here, and more information about the City of Richmond’s Parklet Program can be found here.

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Former staff from Julep’s, Pasture, Comfort launch Richmond’s first “ghost kitchen”

Their business, Dunharrow Concepts, launched its first restaurant concept on Thursday, June 25th with a limited menu. Garden Party is a strictly vegetarian and vegan concept featuring indulgent snacks, sandwiches, and salads. 

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Jon Martin, formerly of Julep’s and Pasture, and Liz Clifford, formerly of Comfort, have opened Richmond’s first ghost kitchen.

A ghost kitchen is a delivery-only restaurant that allows the parent business to operate multiple concepts from one commercial kitchen.

Their business, Dunharrow Concepts, launched its first restaurant concept on Thursday, June 25th with a limited menu. Garden Party is a strictly vegetarian and vegan concept featuring indulgent snacks, sandwiches, and salads.

With no brick and mortar, Clifford and Martin can keep the focus on the food.

“We’ve spent our entire professional careers feeding people,” Clifford said. “The ghost kitchen concept allows us to keep overhead low. We don’t have to worry about the expenses that come with running a traditional restaurant including designing, maintaining, and staffing a physical space.”

Dunharrow Concepts operates out of Hatch Kitchen RVA, a food and beverage incubator and commercial kitchen located at Clopton Siteworks in Manchester. They have partnered with UberEats with plans to add other delivery services in the coming weeks.

The husband-wife duo, who moved from DC two years ago, is passionate about ensuring those with food restrictions don’t have to miss out on experiencing a good meal.

“Cooking for vegans with a nut allergy makes you push boundaries,” says Clifford. “With all ordering online, items can be easily customized to accommodate most dietary restrictions and food preferences.”

Menu items range from a BBQ Tofu Bahn Mi, crispy green beans, a Tex Mex Salad to homemade fudgy brownies.

Next month, Clifford and Martin plan to launch two additional concepts, Fat Kid Sandwiches which will feature overstuffed subs and clubs, and Victory Garden which focuses on made-to-order salads.

For more information on Dunharrow Concepts and Garden Party, visit gardenpartyrva.com or follow @gardenpartyrva on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Carytown Panera closes permanently, joins Stony Point location’s announced closure last week

The Carytown Panera has shuttered permanently, according to Richmond BizSense. The announcement follows another last week indicating the Stony Point location will be shut down for good, too.

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The Carytown Panera has shuttered permanently, according to Richmond BizSense. The announcement follows another last week indicating the Stony Point location will be shut down for good, too.

From Richmond BizSense:

Another local outpost of Panera Bread has hit the chopping block, this time in Carytown.

The restaurant chain’s location at 10 N. Nansemond St. in the Carytown Place shopping center is permanently closed. The closure follows that of the Panera outpost in Stony Point Fashion Park.

It’s unclear when or why the Carytown Panera permanently closed. The restaurant didn’t alert Maryland Financial Investors, which manages the center, about the closing, property manager Scott Cherry said.

“We found out about it the same way the community did,” Cherry said.

Continue reading here.

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