Sitting in a reproduction of Burt Reynolds’ Trans Am from Smokey and the Bandit, John and Kristina Heidel have big plans for their new drive-in theater. Ash Daniel photo
Coming soon: Goochland residents will be able to take in a double feature at a new drive-in theater in Hadensville, scheduled to open in August. The last time folks around here were able to do that was in the early 1980s, before the Patterson Drive-In closed.
The Goochland Drive-In Theater (goochlanddriveintheater.com) is a dream that became a reality for county residents John and Kristina Heidel.
"We remembered when we were kids and would go to drive-ins," John Heidel says. "Kristina and I have always been fans of Americana. We thought that Goochland would be a great place for a nice, old-fashioned drive-in in rural America."
The 400 or so drive-ins in the United States are thriving these days, he adds. "The communities they are in are embracing them."
The couple has been pursuing the idea of a drive-in since 2005, even though county planners didn't think they could pull it off, says Heidel. "I don't think they took us seriously at the time," he says. "People told me that I wouldn't be able to find the land, and that people wouldn't go to the drive-in."
He set out to prove them wrong. The couple found a 10-acre parcel off the I-64 exit at Hadensville and had it rezoned in 2008. The Goochland County Board of Supervisors approved the plans for the drive-in this March, and as of our print deadline, the Heidels were awaiting final work permits.
This summer, the drive-in will start showing double features of current-release films. It will have a full concession stand, featuring everything from hamburgers and pizza to cotton candy and Nehi drinks. "We'll also have a modern playground and clean, air-conditioned restrooms," Heidel says. "It will be a fun, come-as-you-are atmosphere. Kids can stay in their pajamas and be cozy."
Fun is also top priority at the area's first Dave & Buster's (4001 Brownstone Blvd., 364-3460, daveandbusters.com) in Short Pump's West Broad Village. The new dining and entertainment center — think Las Vegas meets Chuck E. Cheese — features a midway with more than 60 games of skill, ranging from Skee-Ball to state-of-the-art simulators as well as a sports bar and restaurant. While all ages are welcome, Dave & Buster's caters to the over-21 crowd.
The Glen Allen Branch Library (10501 Staples Mill Road, 756-7523) will close June 6 to begin a year-long renovation that will double its size, according to manager Andrea Brown. When it reopens in 2010, the 14-year-old library will have more materials, study rooms and a courtyard. During construction, a bookmobile will come to the parking lot on alternate Fridays, beginning June 19, and materials can be returned to other libraries.
Goochland residents Darryl and Jennifer Ernst have been concentrating on Hope for Humanity's 6th annual Walk for Sudan , which took place May 3 at Deep Run High School and raised $19,325 for the Hope and Resurrection Secondary School in Atiaba, Sudan.
The couple got involved with the Sudanese a decade ago, after meeting one of the "Lost Boys" from Sudan, Maker Marial. When the Ernsts took Marial back to Sudan to be reunited with his family, they realized the need for a secondary school in Atiaba. "There were only 21 secondary schools in all of southern Sudan," an area the size of the East Coast and everything east of the Mississippi, Ernst explains.
Hope for Humanity, founded by the couple, began fundraising for the school in 2004. A team of 10 members of the organization traveled to Sudan in 2007 to construct the school, which opened in May 2008. Money raised from the May walk will help buy supplies, desks and textbooks, as well as provide for teacher salaries. Tax-deductible donations are still being accepted. (For more information, call 784-3830 or visit hopeforhumanityinc.org.)
Snacking in Short Pump
Pizza Fusion (11331 W. Broad St., 381-4027, pizzafusion.com) , an establishment billed as "saving the earth one pizza at a time," opened its first Virginia store in February in Glen Allen. The chain has 20 stores nationwide.
Richmond franchise owner Joo Nam Kim and general manager Patrice Gordon spent two weeks at "Pizza Fusion University," where they learned the ins and outs of organic food. The oval-shaped pies are topped with organic ingredients (including Maine lobster and New York strip steak), and the sauce is 100 percent organic as well. The building is eco-friendly, from counter tops made with recycled soda bottles to reclaimed-wood tables.
The food ingredients come from New Jersey for the time being, but Gordon says they are aiming to bring in locally grown products in the future — a decision that must go through the corporate office, she notes. Pizza prices range from $7 to $10 for personal-sized, while large pizzas cost $12 to $21. Pizza Fusion also offers gluten-free crusts.
Buffalo Wild Wings (4300 Pouncey Tract Road, 360-8888, buffalowildwings.com) has also opened a new location in Short Pump — a step toward the company's goal of having more than 1,000 restaurants across the country.
"The choice for a Short Pump location was an obvious one, considering the proximity to everything else around it," says general manager David Yensen.
It opened its doors in Short Pump in mid-April and has an outdoor patio — something you won't find at the other nearby locations. But like those venues, you can still stop in for 45-cent wings on Tuesdays and 60-cent boneless wings on Thursdays. —Sharon Tully