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Jamaica House Set to Reopen in New Location Next Tuesday

Jamaica House Restaurant is a fast-casual restaurant near VCU’s Monroe Park Campus that has been serving traditional Jamaican cuisine to go in a fun atmosphere since 1994.

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A long-time restaurant serving authentic, scratch-made Jamaican cuisine in the VCU area for decades has moved down the block to a larger, more inviting space with more seating and an expanded menu. Jamaica House Restaurant, a staple of the Monroe Park Campus and Downtown Richmond since 1994, is reopening its doors Tuesday, September 8th.

The restaurant’s new 2,100-square-foot home at 416 W. Broad Street evokes the quaint charm and character of the original location, with major improvements including additional seating for up to 40 people, a larger takeout window, and a bar.

“Moving into this fantastic new space gave us a great opportunity to try some new things and expand our offerings a bit,” said Carana Ives, owner of Jamaica House. “Not only do we have more seating and an expanded kitchen, but we’re now able to add some customer favorites from Carena’s Jamaican Grille and try a few new traditional dishes as well. It was also a chance to create a long-overdue, comfortable dine-in experience that we really lacked in our former home.”

The interior of the space, designed by Richmond-based Campfire & Co., is bright, fun, and fresh with colorful textures and tones as well as island-inspired fixtures and upholstery, giving the restaurant a relaxed, approachable feel. “We were excited to help Carena and (son) Randolph create a new space and updated brand for Jamaica House that transports guests and celebrates Jamaican culture and the art of authentic, slow cooking,” said Lauren Stewart, Co-Founder, Campfire & Co.

Staples of Jamaica House, including the restaurant’s famous curry goat, jerk chicken, and oxtails, remain, alongside new menu additions inspired by Ives’ sister restaurant, Carena’s Jamaican Grille in South Richmond. New dishes include Appleton Rum-glazed baby back ribs, fresh salmon in a creamy coconut sauce, spicy jerk wings, and a chickpea and butternut squash bowl over fresh spinach and rice.

The general contractor on the project was Chris Pollack with UrbanCore Construction, and Sarah McInerney with Walter Parks Architects led the design. Boulevard Creative developed the restaurant’s new website, which will launch later this week.

Jamaica House is located at 416 W. Broad Street and is open every day from 11:00 AM until 9:00 PM. Online ordering and curbside takeout are available.

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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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Community

Grow RVA Gives More Details on Thursday Market at Forest Hill Park

The South of the James Farmers Market will be hosted Thursday evenings in Forest Hill Park, 4pm – 7pm, starting May 6, 2021 and running through October.

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From the South of the James Farmers Market Facebook

We have missed you Forest Hill and are so excited to announce our return to the Park this spring!

The South of the James Farmers Market will be hosted Thursday evenings in Forest Hill Park, 4pm – 7pm, starting May 6, 2021 and running through October.

This truly neighborhood market will provide a weekday vending opportunity for our farmers, culinary artists and artists, restaurant chefs to shop, and the community to gather. Food trucks and other added values, music, programs etc. will add to the charm of this boutique market shopping experience. Many of your favorites will be returning, and we have some stellar new additions!

A liaison group has been created by GrowRVA with the neighborhood associations, vested community partners, and government officials to streamline information, concerns and questions monthly. Our website will be revamped this spring and following us on our GrowRVA or South of the James Farmers Market sites will keep you up to date!

Covid protocols and safety issues have caused many changes to our business plan and model. We are still in the middle of a pandemic, take safety precautions extremely seriously, and feel very fortunate to be open. We will be diligent in enforcing all policies.

2021 is about moving forward sustainably, creating multiple financial opportunities for the small businesses we represent, and hopefully bringing back a true sense of market community in RVA.

Thank you, Richmond VA Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities, VA Government officials, Richmond Police Department and friends of GrowRVA for your continued collaboration!

Looking forward to an awesome season! ❤️

Enjoy today!
Karen and Doug Grisevich
GrowRVA.com

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Downtown

Schools can opt for remote learning during inclement weather

Virginia lawmakers insisted there will still be snow days for public school students, though the General Assembly recently passed legislation allowing unscheduled remote learning during inclement weather. 

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By Sarah Elson

Virginia lawmakers insisted there will still be snow days for public school students, though the General Assembly recently passed legislation allowing unscheduled remote learning during inclement weather.

“I have heard this bill referred to as ‘the killer of snow day dreams,’” said Alan Seibert, superintendent of Salem City Schools, during a subcommittee meeting. “That’s not the case.”

Lawmakers passed two identical bills stating school divisions can opt for virtual learning during severe weather conditions and emergency situations that result in the cancellation of in-person classes.

Remote learning or distance education is when the instructor and student are separated by location and do not physically meet.

“I would like to emphasize that this is not a bill to eliminate snow days but simply provide some flexibility to school systems,” said Del. Joseph McNamara, R-Roanoke, who introduced House Bill 1790. Sen. David Suetterlein, R-Roanoke, introduced Senate Bill 1132, an identical bill. The bills had strong support in both chambers, though they each moved through the Senate with unanimous support.

 “As you know this pandemic has made us think outside the box and some benefit has come from this thinking,” said Mark Miear, superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools in the New River Valley, during the House subcommittee meeting.

Public schools must offer 180 days or 990 hours of instruction each year or receive a reduction in state aid, according to Virginia law. School districts typically build in extra snow days for inclement weather. If those days are used up, schools must make up days to meet the required instruction time. The bills also allow schools to make up missed instruction by scheduling a remote learning day.

Both bills state that no school division can use more than 10 unscheduled remote learning days in a school year unless the superintendent of public instruction grants an extension.

 “I’m really glad that the state is allowing this type of [learning] to happen in the 21st century, because it’ll allow us to be able to have days that actually count toward that 990 hours,” said Max Smith, assistant director of operations at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School in Richmond.

Miear said unscheduled remote learning days will allow the school district to set an end date for the school year and schedule summer programs. Some districts can miss 17-20 days for inclement weather, Miear said. The updated policy will allow for instruction to be “more consistent.”

Moving to online learning during inclement weather will not make up for lost education, Owen Hughes, a permanent substitute teacher at Elmont Elementary School in Ashland, stated in a text message.

“Remote teaching only truly takes place when there is remote learning,” Hughes stated. “This means that if students are disengaged and not learning, teachers aren’t teaching they’re just talking and staying busy.”

Smith said that it will be easy to implement remote learning days because Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School has been teaching students through virtual learning. The school provided some students with laptops and hotspots if they needed them.

“Now if we hadn’t had an infrastructure in place, it might be really difficult to be able to pull off one of these unscheduled instructional days from the legislation, but we already have the infrastructure in place,” Smith said.

Hughes is concerned some students will not have access to a working internet connection during inclement weather. The General Assembly this session funded the expansion of rural broadband internet access, though it will take a while to implement the infrastructure.

Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico, sponsored a related bill. SB 1303 will require both online and in-person learning to become available to students by July 1. The student’s parent or guardian would decide on the learning modality. The bill expires in August 2022.

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Business

IHOP, Michaels, CAVA, and &Pizza among new retailers now open at Willow Lawn

A number of new restaurants and retailers have recently opened their doors at Willow Lawn.

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A number of new retailers and restaurants have recently opened their doors at Willow Lawn.

Pancake house IHOP opened March 5 in a 4,094 square-foot space between Alpha Comics and European Wax. 60 new positions were hired for the restaurant, which seats 150 customers inside and 32 on an outside patio.

The arts and crafts store Michaels opened at Willow Lawn on February 27. Michaels is in a 17,477 square-foot space near Gold’s Gym and Ross Dress for Less.

Other new additions at Willow Lawn include CAVA, which opened in January 2021, and &Pizza, which opened its first Richmond location at the shopping center in September 2020.

In addition to IHOP and Michaels, Willow Lawn features a variety of retail, dining, and services including Kroger, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Alpha Comics & Games, Lucky Road, and Pho 95 Hai Ky Mi Gia.

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