±

Richmond Dining-Out scene

4,602 posts in this topic

Posted

I think it was in 1969 when prohibition finally ended in Virginia (I joke, but barely - 1933 marked repeal, but Virginia continued strong restrictions til Liquor-by-the-Drink legislation passed at last in 1969).

Good restaurants were few and far between (except for posh private clubs) prior to '69. There were night clubs, but one had to take his own booze and keep it tightly wrapped in a paper bag on the floor and order set-ups of ice, soda, and non-alcoholic liquids (beer was permissable). Most Virginians thought wine with dinner was something only those "weird Europeans" partook of.

From then to now is like day and night. I thought this might be an interesting forum to discuss the burgeoning restaurant scene in Richmond. MY top 10 picks:

Lemaire at The 5-star Jefferson Hotel at Franklin and Adams streets

The Dining Room at the Berkley Hotel in Shockoe Slip

Foxhead Inn in Manakin/Sabot (Goochland county)

Pomegranate in Shockoe Slip

#1 North Belmont in the Museuem District just "off" Carytown

La Petite France in an obscure industrial section of the west end

Millie's in Tobacco Row

Acacia in Carytown

The Hard Shell in the Slip

Morton's of Chicago in the Slip

Add your own favorites.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Posted

In the list above, Morton's is the only "chain" operation. But it's a damned good steak house. All the others are indigenous to Richmond.

Now, for

the major chains:

Old Original Bookbinders in Tobacco Row (the original is still in

Philadelphia).

The Cheesecake Factory in Short Pump Town Center

Copper Grill Lobster and Steak House in Short Pump TC

Firebird's Rocky Mountain Grill in SPTC

Maggiano's Little Italy in SPTC

Tara Thai in SPTC

Ruth's Chris Steak House at Belgrade on Huguenot Road

Brio Tuscan Grill at Stony Point Fashion Park

Champps in Stony Point FP

Copeland's Cheesecake Bistro in SPFP

Fleming's in SPFP

P.F.Chang's China Bistro in SPFP

Rio Grande Cafe in SPFP

There are lots more chain restaurants, but the above list incorporates the newest ones.

More later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I'll tell you, Bookbinders is incredible. The crab I had there was melt in your mouth fantastic. BTW, Bookbinders in only barely a chain; only located in Richmond and Philly. They have recently opened the Bookbinder's Grille at Huguenot and Alverser dr. in Midlothian which is similar to Ruth Chris's Bottega Bistro.

One of my dad's favorite restaurants is Mama Zu's (sp?)...they cook some wonderful italian. A good chain italian restaurant is Carabba's Grille at Chesterfield Towne Center. The Melting Pot is also a chain that is still verrrry delicious. Strawberry St. Cafe is a great place to stop in and have lunch..they have a unique 'bathtub' salad bar.

Favorite Greek: The Crazy Greek

Favorite Italian: Mama Zu's or Julian's (on broad)

Favorite Mexican: Don Jose at Turner and 360 (it may not seem stellar on the outside but the food and service is spectacular), also Nacho Mama's in Carytown has a great atmosphere.

Can Can at the Carytown Park and Shop is supposedly a great French brasserie.

other notables:

The Baker's Crust in Carytown

Best British Pub would have to be Penny Lane

Best Pizza- Bottom's Up in Shockoe Bottom (which will soon be reopening after the hurricane I hope)

I could add others later....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

The Fan District, of course, is chock full of good eateries and watering holes. One of the most recognized is Davis & Main. Other popular and, IMO, first-class spots are (in no particular order):

Stella's - great Greek

Avalon - upscale casual

Sticky Rice - very hip, indeed

Bacchus - Excellent

Strawberry Street Cafe - famous bathtup salad bar noted by Wrldcoupe4

Joe's Inn - the Grandaddy of Fan restaurant/bars

Kuba Kuba - a fun bodega

Bamboo Cafe - popular bar

The Metro Grill - neat place to meet

Cabo's Corner Bistro - good food and great entertainment

Avenue 805 - good food and noted also for it's "cheap-date Tuesdays"

Mulligan's - popular sports bar

The Nancy Raygun - gothic punk and more

Bogarts Back Room - GREAT place for jazz and very intimate

Buddy's Place - very popular patio

Dogwood Grill and Spirits - excellent, and not cheap

White Dog - cozy, Sinatra sound tracks, excellent food and owned by

Barry, an ex NYC actor who once ran for a City Council seat

Six Burner Restaurant & Bar - a great bistro by owners of Acacia

OK that's my list for today. But there'll be plenty more coming!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I love Davis and Main! I used to take my wife there before we got married all the time! I really love that place and when I can get back there (probably in September), I'm going to check it out again. What fond memories I have of Davis and Main....ho hum....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Aside from the biggie chains in the burbs where waiting for a table can run 2 hours, CAN CAN, the new brasserie in Carytown and LUCKY LOUNGE in the Slip have to keep the crowds in check with velvet ropes.

A real, hot, wonderful unique place that was practically swept away by Gaston was HAVANA 59 in Shockoe Bottom. It was so popular immediately after opening that they had to add, first, one story, then another with a palm tree bedecked patio. You could sit near the bar with a deck of cards and swear you were Ernest Hemmingway. Its Cuban/Carribbean menu offered great cuisine. Thankfully, it is scheduled to reopen soon.

THE TOBACCO COMPANY in The Slip, a true Richmond legend and showplace, still packs 'em in after 25 years. Three levels (actually four, if you count the swinging club in the basement) offer excellent food and libations, and the place, especially the 1st floor bar, is always packed from Happy Hour to closing.

MR. BOJANGLES is a large 3-level restaurant/bar/club downtown between The Marriott and The Coliseum. It was spawned by the success of:

CROAKER' SPOT at 2nd and Leigh in Jackson Ward where you'll find perfect soul food and fish dishes.

CAPITAL ALE HOUSE, on Main between 6th and 7th, was the first in the region to have an ice strip running the length of its bar to keep the brews cool. It's so popular that a second Capital All House has opened in suburban Innsbrook.

The best views and brews in town are at LEGEND BREWING CO. across the James from downtown on West 7th street. Their deck, on a bluff above the river, affords spectacular vistas of the downtown skyline. The newly married, colorful Beergnome runs this fun place.

That's all for now. More to come.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Some of you may wonder about our reference to "The Slip". It is an area of Old Richmond that used to border the Turning Basin of the old city's canal system. Its boundaries are roughly (some may disagree) between Main on the north, 15th on the east, the present canal on the south and 12th on the west. Shockoe is an Indian word translating to "stone". The east-west axis of Shockoe Slip is East Cary street. What's called The Slip, a piazza with a horse-drinking fountain, would correspond to 13th street if it were numbered and ran south from Cary street to docks on the Turning Basin - thus "slip".

Once a bustling market area, it declined in the early 20th Century, but the wonderful old commercial buildings lining it streets, though mostly boarded up, remained.

In the 1970s, two enterprising young men, with financial aid from other entrepreneurs, saw the potential and converted an old trading building into Sam Miller's Cafe. Thankfully, liquor laws had been recently relaxed, and it boomed. That was the beginning of what is now a district of 20+ upscale bars and restaurants with a scattering of (not nearly enough!) galleries and retail shops.

Shockoe Bottom picks up where the Slip ends at 15th street and continues east to about 21st, and extends north to Broad street. At its height, before last September's visit from Gaston, it had about 40 bars catering to college prepies and yuppies, and several excellent restaurants. Most of the storm-damaged ones are currently being rebuilt. Numerous, and by that I mean MANY, apartments and condos have been created from existing old commercial stock and new construction.

More of what's east of the Bottom later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

My favorite Italian restaurants - in no particular order:

LA GROTTA in The Slip

AZZURRO at River Road Shopping Center near the U of R

MAMMA 'ZU in Oregon Hill . Warning: don't cross your waitress!!!!

EDO'S SQUID on Harrison street in VCU's Monroe campus (a spin-off from Mamma 'Zu several blocks away

FRANCO'S RISTORANTE at 9031 W. Broad (kinda hard to find, but worth the hunt). The owners are opening a tres chic room called SENSI very soon in Tobacco Row

ANGELA'S RISTORANTE at 425 North Ridge Road (not far off Parham Rd)

SAL FEDERICO'S at 1808 Staples Road (just south of West Broad). This is the Grandaddy of Italian restaurants in Richmond. It was originally called CAPRI and was downtown at Grace and Foushee

AMICI in Carytown

MAGGIANO'S LITTLE ITALY in Short Pump Town Center (listed above in upscale chains)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Looks like actor Morgan Freeman is planning to open up a restaurant in Richmond soon....

from the Charlotte Observer on a new restaurant they are opening there:

The brick-walled club looks the part: impromptu, gritty and untamed. Furnishings are spare; nothing looks costly except the sound equipment; noises bounce; and everything is scribble-doodled with black markers. That's how the owners, actor Morgan Freeman and Clarksdale attorney Bill Luckett, wanted it: Juke Classic.

Freeman's from 35 miles off, in Charleston, Miss. He and Luckett met over legal matters and discovered a mutual love of blues. They partnered on this place four years ago and on Madidi restaurant over on Delta Avenue. They're getting ready to open a similar operation in Richmond, Va.

article

Here's a link to their Madidi's restaurant: here

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Coupe, more info, please. I am unable to log in to CLT observer because that won't accept my password - same with RTD when I tried them. I really hate these "log-in" pages.

Nonetheless, I am an admirer of Morgan Freeman and would love to know where he is placing his Madidi in Richmond. Maybe it's at Riverside. Please, God. Don't let it be in the Burbs!.

With all the professional film and show people who may soon be roaming the city's streets looking for grub, I think Freeman's name would surely draw them in. :lol:

Judging by the menu, prices are a little below Richmond standards for up-scale dining. I'm sure they will be adjusted upward from Mississippi.

*****Coupe. I've finaly learned, with help from a friend, how to access Charlotte paper, so read the full article. :)

Edited by burt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Looks like actor Morgan Freeman is planning to open up a restaurant in Richmond soon....

from the Charlotte Observer on a new restaurant they are opening there:

article

Here's a link to their Madidi's restaurant: here

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The Charlotte article has edited out the line about Madidi opening an operation in Richmond.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I e-mailed the Madidi restaurant in Clarksdale, M(what the Hell is the abbreviation for Mississippi?) asking about opening in Richmond, but got no reply. :angry:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Here's a little restaurant news:

A New Orleans style cajun place is opening in the Bottom where Awful Arthur formerly held sway. It's at 18th and Franklin and is called JACQUEOMO'S (boy, that's a run of interior vowels!) They're waiting for their liquor license and, apparently will offer blues and jazz along with Louisiana cuisine in a very trendy and colorful setting.

A couple of new Japanese spots have opened: OSAKA (2nd location) in River Road II Shopping Center north of the James at the Huguenot Bridge approach. Also, NADA JAPAN SEAFOOD in the old Mandolin restaurant on West Main in the colorful Uptown district. This NADA is an expansion of its Newport News operation.

GYPSY CAFE AT THE MATRIX ROOM (yep, that's its full name) has taken over the old Cafine's at 4th and Grace offering Latin food, music and scantily clad servers (reportedly out-doing Hooters).

:lol::lol:

Edited by burt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

hmmm i might have to check out this gypsy cafe :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

hmmm i might have to check out this gypsy cafe :)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

And while you're out on the town, Coupe, be sure to drop into Velvet, the Gentlemen's Club on the s/e corner of 15th and Main. To declaim its wholesomeness, Velvet displays a 2-story full color painting of Princess Diana on its Main Street facade! :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

More restaurant items: In The Bottom, JULEP'S at 18th and Franklin in the oldest remaining commercial building in Richmond, serves up excellent new Southern cuisine.

A few doors south on 18th is TONIC, an untra chic cocktail lounge and restaurant.

HAVE A NICE DAY CAFE and TIKI BOB'S CANTINA at oposite ends of 18th street pack in the 20/30-somethings.

ROSIE CONNOLLY'S PUB, on the ground floor of the old Railway YMCA building on 17th, is a popular watering hole with pub grub and more. It is rumored that the elegant space above Rosie's is being fitted up for fine dining by the former operator of a farmhouse style restaurant in Providence Forge (seems to me WHITE was in the name).

Across an alley from ROSIES is the famous HAVANA 59, still shuttered after Gaston's devastation.

CAFE GUTENBERG across 17th street at The Farmers Market has recovered from 8 feet of water on its lower level, and is once again dispensing coffee, tea, wine, tapas, finer fare, laptop connections, reading materials, poetry readings and geniality on both floors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Just read some nice things about another Bottom spot. It's called LITTLE OCHI at #4 N. 18th and is a Jamaican restaurant with white table clothes and lounge upstairs. Apparently quite small and very reasonable with entree prices topping out at $12. Goat, jerky and sorrel tea to die for!! :)

Edited by burt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Back to The Slip! Though we've discussed the aforementioned DINING ROOM AT THE BERKLEY, TOBACCO COMPANY, LA GROTTA, POMEGRANATE and MORTON'S, there are plenty of other 1st tier dining options:

KOBE JAPANESE STEAK AND SUSHI north of Cary on 13th. Habachi tables and sushi bar on two very attractive levels.

HANNA SUSHI smack dab in the middle of things on Cary street. This was the pioneer Japanese restaurant in The Slip.

PEKING PAVILLION on Cary at 13th. Excellent Chinese of all persuasions in a very attractive setting.

FUSION on 12th south of Cary offers jazz and blues with it eclectic selections.

BARLOWE'S TERRACE in the atrium at The Omni Hotel. Nice bar and good eating.

RICHBRAU BREWING CO. - a very popular bi-level microbrewery and restaurant on Cary.

SAM MILLER'S on Cary - Great seafood and stunning setting. Though this was the name of the restaurant that started things in The Slip, it's now in an old building across Cary and a few doors west.

SINE (pronounced Shi-nay) IRISH PUB AND RESTAURANT - at Virginia Street on Cary, this is as authentic as an Irish bar has a right to be. Very popular, and a very crowded patio in season.

THE TAP HOUSE GRILL on Cary between Sam Miller's and Richbrau. In fact, I think it is an adjunct of Richbrau. Very good.

Now, moving down to the 1400 block of East Cary, we enter the Michelle Williams Empire of food emporiums:

Previously mentioned THE HARD SHELL and LUCKY LOUNGE, there are also EUROPA, high class tapas and Spanish dishes; and the soon to open CHA CHA'S CANTINA, Mexico with the Williams' flair.

On 15th at Cary is the big, crowded sports themed BUFFALO WILD WINGS GRILL + BAR, and down 15th at Dock Street is the newly opened STOOLPIGEONS.

End of today's report.

:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

A bit of clarification to those not familiar with Richmond: The Shockoe Slip Area centers around EAST Cary street and is not to be confused with CARYTOWN about two miles away on WEST Cary street.

More on Carytown's restaurant offerings later. B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I guess I'll add my favorites, its a slow day...

Kuba kuba

821 cafe

Ipinema (sp?)

Edo Squid

The Hill Caf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Thanks for contributing, Brent. I've been feeling so lonely on this thread.

I'd be willing to bet you mean the Ipanema Cafe on Grace at VCU, and not the Ipanema Grill on Gayton Road.

How about the 3rd Street diner? It's a 24 hour operation sans roaches! :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

That's the one, the Grace Street place.

I've never cared much for 3rd Street. the Smithfiled ham sandwich is good, but that roach infested burger at 4th Street, it can't be beat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

That's the one, the Grace Street place.

I've never cared much for 3rd Street.  the Smithfiled ham sandwich is good, but that roach infested burger at 4th Street, it can't be beat.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Ummmmm. Yummy. Is it served live or grilled? :rofl:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Let's move on to more appealing venues - FAR more appealing!

CARYTOWN - What a unique, fascinating, eclectic strip! It runs for about 8 blocks beginning in the 2800 block of WEST Cary (at The Boulevard) and ends at I-195 (about 3500 block) leading into Cary Street Road where posh Windsor Farms and some of the City's most expensive real estate are located. It abuts the Museum District to the North and Byrd Park and Maymont are a few blocks south.

This busy strip has numerous boutique style shops and practically no chain operations. The beautiful Byrd Theater, one of few remaining movie palaces with a single screen and Wurlitzer organ, offers second-run films and occasional stage concerts. Long lines are the norm on weekend nights.

Many restaurants line the street, and I'll lead off with my personal favorite:

THE TRACK (almost directly across the street from The BYRD.)

And then, there are:

ACACIA, AMICI, CAN CAN, BAKER'S CRUST and NACHO MAMA'S mentioned earlier.

Others:

COPPOLA'S, a very trendy coffee/sandwich type place that, alas, is being priced out of Carytown. (They will be relocating in an area called UPTOWN on West Main Street.)

NEW YORK DELI. The aroma on entering is scrumptious.

BABE'S an alternative lifestyle (the politically correct term for gay friendly) establishment offering bands, beer, cocktails and fun for its mostly female clientele.

MOM's SIAM - authentic Thai. Note: I believe there are two or three other Thai restaurants in Carytown, but regrettably, I cannot confirm it. Maybe some readers can fill in on this.

INDOCHINE - Excellent French influenced Vietnamese dishes.

LIMANI for great seafood.

FAROUK'S HOUSE OF INDIA has been in its present location for decades.

DOUBLE T's REAL SMOKED BARBECUE - a knowledgeable friend swears by this place.

Your comments, suggestions and additions please.

:)

Edited by burt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

burt there is another Thai restaurant perhaps called the Thai House? and a new one is underway as well. Lot of thai for Carytown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

±