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Fill Up on Bivalves at OystoberFest

I don’t know who the organizers bribed but the weather forecast for OystoberFest is looking phenomenal. Get out there and festival it up.

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The weather is looking perfect for an outdoor festival and OystoberFest is happening on Saturday, so it’s a match made in heaven. Head over to St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church (3602 Hawthorne Avenue) to get on those oysters.

Central Virginia’s biggest Oyster Festival – Grilled, Po’ Boy and of course RAW Oysters are the main event. Beer, brats, wine and live music all day starting at noon and carrying on until 6 PM. There’s a KidsZone and some kid-friendly food options for the little ones to enjoy while the adults slurp adult beverages and oysters.  The festival is free to attend ($2 suggested donation).

Chuck is shucking. – Photo provided by OystoberFest

It’s also a great time to break out the bicycles. This year safe and secure BIKE VALET returns as a part of their Virginia Green commitment. The bike corral will be fenced and monitored so you don’t have to worry about your Trek taking an unplanned trek.  Not only all that but each bike earns you $2 worth of free tickets. Don’t try and carry 10 bikes to get extra tickets, it’ll end badly and you’ll still only get $2 of free tickets for the bike you’re riding.

Ride your bike and get two bucks.

All the details including beverage and food lineup and can be found at OystoberFest.com.

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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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Business

Two acre winery, restaurant set to open today in Scott’s Addition

Today, urban winery Brambly Park will make its debut in Scott’s Addition, the neighborhood known for its breweries and warehouses. The establishment flanks the railroad tracks in the historic neighborhood and will feature an event space, restaurant, a large park-like area, and a 3,000 sq ft covered and heated patio.

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Today, urban winery Brambly Park will make its debut in Scott’s Addition, the neighborhood known for its breweries and warehouses. The establishment flanks the railroad tracks in the historic neighborhood and will feature an event space, restaurant, a large park-like area, and a 3,000 sq ft covered and heated patio.

The venture is led by the same duo behind the Hofheimer Building and The HofGarden rooftop. Restaurateur Bobby Kruger and his business partner, real estate developer, Carter Snipes conceived the idea after seeing the property and realizing the potential to create a one of a kind park in a former industrial area.

“We saw the property with its pine trees and grass hill and immediately knew this could be something different for Scott’s Addition,” said Snipes.

Their team includes Winemaker Ben Nichols, who previously worked for Red Hook Winery in Brooklyn and Executive Chef Wyatt Swaney, who previously worked at Aloi in Scott’s Addition. Kruger, a seasoned Richmond restaurant veteran, really wanted to bring a winery concept with a broader more laid back appeal to Scott’s Addition.

“We knew from the start we wanted to be wine-focused,” explained Kruger, “but the key was to have an avant-garde winemaker in order for the concept to really shine. When we met Ben it quickly became apparent that we had found someone that excelled at sourcing high-quality unfinished products and turning it into exceptional wine.”

The Wine

The first batch of Brambly Park’s own vintage won’t come out until harvest season so Kruger traveled to Oregon, California, and several vineyards in Virginia to find winemakers who could help craft the first labels and blends.

Virginia favorite Michael Shaps of Wineworks Virginia quickly signed up to produce a dry Rose’ for the venture. Wooden Valley Vineyard, an 85-year old family estate in

California, produced the Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Walnut City Wineworks, in Oregon, joined on to produce Riesling and Pinot Noir.

“We’ll work with these partner vineyards and others to bring in grapes and juice for wine that will be produced at Brambly Park under our Scott’s Addition Reserve label,” said Kruger. “After harvest season, we’ll grow beyond the initial six labels with the Virginia grapes our winemaker has sourced for our small batch series. We are excited to showcase these growers and vintners and their amazing products.

The Food

The menu will feature foods that traditionally pair well with wine, with a focus on Italian cuisine. Housemade pasta, charcuterie, cheese, and a variety of baked items are emphasized on both the restaurant menu and the park menu, with the restaurant menu having a larger selection of entrees and the park menu having a larger selection of small plates.

“We have this great interior space and also a large property that lends itself to outdoor dining so we wanted to lean into the versatility of this location and the different ways people would want to enjoy their time at Brambly Park.”

The Park

The property is located in the far northwest corner of Scott’s Addition on almost two acres nestled against the railroad at 1708 Belleville Street. It features a small grass hill and a charming wooded picnic area and is surrounded by wild-growing bramble bushes from which the name was inspired. A large steel pavilion was added to the existing building and designed to resemble a railroad station platform. The inside is decorated with rustic furniture, reclaimed wood, and vintage railroad signage. There over 100 tables spread out across the spacious property, as well as a large parking lot.

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Business

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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