Packed Suitcase | Exploring Richmond’s Food Scene (with pics!)
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Exploring Richmond’s Food Scene (with pics!)

Exploring Richmond’s Food Scene (with pics!)

Legend Brewery- view

Richmond, Virginia is in the midst of a serious foodie revolution. Craft breweries, artisan bakeries, mixology hotspots, independent coffee houses and inspired farm-to-fork eateries are popping up all over Virginia’s capital city, giving this southern gem a surprisingly hipper, Pacific Northwest vibe.

In recent months, publications like Frommer’s and the New York Magazine have touted Richmond’s emerging food-driven culture. It’s also gotten the attention from well-known chefs from around the country: Top Chef alum and popular DC restauranteur Mike Isabella is set to open Graffiato 2 in downtown Richmond later this year.

Exploring Richmond's Food Scene: Heritage- Mattias

Mattias Hägglund mixes up handcrafted vintage cocktails at Heritage

All this is notable for more than just the sake of having really good food to eat. In truth, the popularization of Richmond’s food scene is actually revitalizing some of the rougher parts of the city. Neighborhoods like Church Hill and Broad Street’s Arts District are finding new life because chefs are taking a chance and opening up buzz-worthy culinary destinations in these lesser frequented areas. 

Perhaps the best footnote to Richmond’s culinary story is that the the restauranteurs and chefs are incredibly supportive of each other and dedicated to making Richmond a cooperative of high end food artisans. I think that positivity really does influence the quality of the product, and after spending the past few days in Virginia’s capital, let’s just say that I ate (and drank)… a lot. 

I’ll be putting together a comprehensive “DC Road Trip to Richmond” itinerary, but in the meantime, enjoy these food-pornerific shots of the absolute best things I consumed last weekend in Richmond. 

Crispy ham-cured pork ribs with Alabama white sauce ($11) at Pasture (416 E. Grace St., 804-780-0416)

Pasture- Crispy pork ribs

Nothing says “welcome to the south” like a huge mound of meat you eat with your hands. These ribs from Pasture were glistening, crispy, salty goodness.

Pasture- Me and ribs

Don’t worry, I end up getting a little messy… and loved it!

 

Pimento Cheese dip with ritz crackers ($5)… also at Pasture. 

Pasture- Pimento

Pimento cheese is everywhere in Richmond… but, for me, Pasture’s is the best.

 

The beer sampler ($12) at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery (2408 Ownby Lane, 804-420-2420)

Hardywood- tasting

My favorites were the Hardywood Cream Ale (2nd from the left) and the Raspberry Stout (the last one on the right)

 

House-made charcuterie ($10) at Heritage (1627 W. Main St., 804-353-4060)

Heritage- charcuterie

The charcuterie plate from Heritage looked like a work of art! I loved the flavorful and creative twists like ranch-cured lomo and kimchi bresaola, the tangy-sweet pickles and zingy mustards.

 

A cocktail ($9) at the Roosevelt (623 N. 25th Street, 804-658-1935)

Roosevelt- cocktail

I probably should have tried one of the Roosevelt’s popular bourbon cocktails, but I couldn’t resist “The Cat’s Pajamas”– a boozy floral blend of honeysuckle vodka, cocchi americano and creme de violette.

 

Fried chicken and waffles with local honey and tabasco compound butter ($14) at TJ’s Restaurant at the Jefferson Hotel (101 W. Franklin St., 804-649-4750)

Jefferson- chicken and waffles

Oh, was this good! I barely needed syrup… the ice cream scoop-sized ball of sweet and spicy butter dripping into the waffle’s divots was the perfect topping all by itself.

 

Cappuccino ($3.25) at Lamplighter Roasting Company (Multiple locations… I visited the one at 116 S. Addison St., 804-728-2292)

Lamplighter- cappuccino

I do love a good cup of espresso… especially those with designs on them. This one tasted as good as it looked.
SIDE NOTE: The vegan “Brichta” sandwich ($5.50) was also exceptional… but I began eating it before I remembered to take a picture!

 

The roasted brussels sprouts salad ($8) at Lucy’s (404 N. 2nd St., 804-562-1444)

Lucys- Salad

This light and bright salad, with greens, goat cheese, pears and roasted brussels sprouts was fresh and delicious! This was a daily special, but Lucy’s entire farm to table menu looked amazing.

 

A pint of Brown Ale ($5) from Legend Brewing Co. (321 W. 7th St., 804-232-3446)

Legend Brewing Co - brown ale

Legend Brewing Company is the oldest brewery in Virginia. Not only is the Brown Ale a pleasing nutty, caramel-y brew, but the brewery’s deck offers patrons the best view of downtown Richmond in town.

 

The Polenta bread ($5.75) from Sub Rosa Bakery (620 N. 25th St., 804-788-7672)

Sub Rosa- bread 2

All of the breads and pastries from Sub Rosa are amazing, but the Polenta loaf, made with Virginia “Bloody Butcher” corn, is special in both texture and flavor.

 

A tasting (typically $7) at Blue Bee Cider (212 W. 6th St., 804-231-0280)

Blue Bee Cider

The ciders are innovative and so utterly delicious at Virginia’s only urban cidery. Of the 5 ciders I tried, I truly loved all of them. Some standouts were the Charred Ordinary– an earthy and tart sparkler, and Harvest Ration– a warming still cider that’s mixed with Catoctin Creek brandy.

 

 

Caneles ($.90) at WPA Bakery (2707 E. Marshall St., 804-716-9797)

WPA Bakery- Caneles

I’m a lifelong fan of canales, but the ones at WPA are among the best I’ve had. And, that consistency! Chewy, spongy goodness.

 

The “Dealer’s Choice” cocktail ($11) at the Rogue Gentlemen (618 N. 1st St., 804-477-3456)

Rogue Gentlemen- me and cocktail

For the “Dealer’s Choice,” you provide a general description of what you’re in the mood for, and the talented bartenders whip you up a handcrafted cocktail to match your mood. I said I wanted something “boozy” and “not too sweet” and got a balanced rye-based cocktail with carpano bianco, bitters and other liquors. Fun!

 

The Perfect Egg and Cured Salmon small plate ($9) at Dutch and Company (400 N. 27th St., 804-64-DUTCH)

Dutch and Co- perfect egg

This appetizer with cured salmon, rye-crusted soft cooked egg, braised cabbage and cumin yogurt is so flavorful and light. It’s a crowd favorite– and I can see why!

 

LET ME KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS! I’D LOVE TO HEAR YOUR FAVORITES, AND ANY MUST-TRY DISHES OR RESTAURANTS THAT I MAY HAVE MISSED.

 

**Disclaimer: Some of my meals and beverages were provided complementary. All opinions are my own.**

21 Comments
  • Charlie Adler
    Posted at 11:03h, 18 March Reply

    This is great! I try to include interesting weekend “Foodie” events for DC/NoVA people on the TasteDC ( http://www.tastedc.com ) list and this is a great start..I’ve heard about the great craft beers, and the rejuvenation, but this is a great new perspective..Keep the details coming – Cheers!

    • Christina Ricchiuti
      Posted at 21:31h, 23 March Reply

      Thanks, Charlie! I’ll have to check out your site, too. Sounds like it’s right up my alley.

  • Bill Simmons
    Posted at 14:19h, 18 March Reply

    Great reviews and pictures! I’m glad that you enjoyed your stay and dining here in #RVA last weekend. Hope that you make it back here again.

    • Christina Ricchiuti
      Posted at 21:32h, 23 March Reply

      Thanks, Bill! Everyone was so welcoming to me during my trip and I have more recommendations that I could possibly do in a weekend. So I do think another trip is in order 🙂

  • Eva
    Posted at 10:10h, 19 March Reply

    This is amazing, yay for Richmond, go team, etc.

    That being said- Is Alabama white sauce…. Mayonnaise?

    • Christina Ricchiuti
      Posted at 21:34h, 23 March Reply

      Go team, indeed!

      As for the Alabama white sauce… I wasn’t sure so I looked online and found a recipe. It looks to be a mayo-based sauce with vinegar, lemon juice and spices.

  • Aaron Novak
    Posted at 12:07h, 19 March Reply

    You hit a lot of great spots! Not a bad one on the list, but next time don’t pass over The Magpie, my personal favorite here in RVA. Maybe some food trucks, too, if the weather is nice.

    • Christina Ricchiuti
      Posted at 21:34h, 23 March Reply

      Oh, I heard lots of great things about the Magpie during my visit. I’m so bummed that I didn’t get to check it out for myself. Next time!

  • Casie Woodfin
    Posted at 16:43h, 19 March Reply

    Great post! I am in love with Max’s on Broad – dinner and brunch are amazing! Also, try the Rooster burger at The Roosevelt (actually everything is amazing), the French Dip with Mac and cheese at the Savory Grain, BLT at Lunch, goat cheese salad at Camden’s Dogtown Market to name a few. Yum!!!

  • Kelley Bode
    Posted at 08:43h, 20 March Reply

    Cafe Caturra in the west end and Southern Railway Taphouse in shockoe bottom are my favorites!

    • Christina Ricchiuti
      Posted at 21:36h, 23 March Reply

      You had me at “taphouse”… added to my growing Richmond part-deux to-do list.

  • Carol
    Posted at 21:06h, 22 March Reply

    Try Stella’s for fantastic authentic Greek and Edo’s Squid for Italian/fish.

  • Stephanie - The Travel Chica
    Posted at 21:18h, 23 March Reply

    Never would have expected this in Virginia. You’ve convinced me I need to visit 🙂

    • Christina Ricchiuti
      Posted at 21:37h, 23 March Reply

      Thanks for stopping by, Stephanie! And definitely try to visit Richmond if you’re ever in Virginia. You won’t be disappointed.

  • Lance
    Posted at 22:38h, 02 October Reply

    We hit Hardywood and Blue Bee on our Richmond beer tour. LOVED the Sidekick Porter at Hardywood and all of the ciders at Blue Bee. Richmond is a great food city.

  • Annalisa
    Posted at 03:25h, 17 September Reply

    Hi there,

    My husband and I own Pesce & Vino and would love for you to come out and write a blog about our italian/seafood restaurant. I also wanted to extend out a special offer to you. Please email me for details. Thank you

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