Find lunchtime poke bowls and more on Rapp Session's new lunch menu. (Photo by Stephanie Breijo)
The wait is over: Rappahannock reopens on Thursday, and to celebrate, the downtown restaurant is giving away a $100 gift certificate while its next-door sibling concept, Rapp Session, expands its menu. A March 5 fire temporarily shuttered the popular seafood restaurants, but it didn't stop the Croxtons and their team.
"I think that for people who work in restaurants, they need to be a part of the work and do what they do best," says restaurateur Travis Croxton, who helped place his staff in interim roles with local farms and partnership programs until he could reopen Rappahannock. "That's what I'm most excited about: Getting back into the routine."
Shortly after the restaurant opened for service on Sunday, March 5, creosote buildup in one of the kitchen's hoods above the stove caught fire. Though the outbreak was limited to the duct work, ensuing damage from an investigation left the kitchen under construction for more than a month. Slight water damage to the base of the dividing wall between Rappahannock and Rapp Session closed the oyster saloon, but it was only a few days before the latter was up and running again.
On Thursday, April 20, Rappahannock will reopen for dinner at 5 p.m. with full dinner service Thursday and Friday, and resume its regular 3 p.m. opening hours this weekend. On Monday, it will resume lunch service. "We're pretty excited," adds Croxton.
To celebrate, the restaurant is offering $1 oysters all night on Thursday, and giving away a $100 gift certificate via social media shares of a post on the restaurant's Facebook page. Simply like or comment on the post to be entered for the contest, whose winner will be announced tomorrow evening. As for Rapp Session, it's celebrating with an expanded weekday breakfast and lunch menu.
Moving beyond pastries and coffee, you can now find items such as a smoked fish sandwich with oven-dried tomatoes and arugula; a ham and cheese sandwich; Sub Rosa bread with house-made jam, and house-made butters in flavors such as honey cinnamon and maple; and a seasonal vegetable sandwich. And, of course, there's the Crabby, an English muffin topped with a sizable, seasoned lump of crab meat and cheese ($4.50), and you can add a fried, soft-boiled or scrambled egg to any breakfast item for 75 cents extra. The dinner menu, which begins at 3 p.m., and the weekend brunch menu will remain the same.
There's also a new focus on to-go items. "What we noticed is a lot of lack of grab-and-go food in town," says Croxton. "Mornings you can get this stuff with your coffee, get it for lunch, take it and go back to your office." Rapp Session will also offer new refrigerated selections such as pasta salads, fish salads, shrimp salads and crab-and-avocado salads, plus a poke bowl: ginger-marinated tuna over rice with sambal, nori, pickled mushrooms and an avocado vinaigrette ($10).
"We can just roll with it and when things are in season, make something like an asparagus salad," says Jesse Fultineer, chef de cuisine at Rappahannock. "That's sort of the concept: The day's menu is just four or five items that have a variety of veggies and fish." Rapp Session's daily lunch menu ends at 2 p.m., though you can find oysters and Crabbies served all day.
Rappahannock is located at 320 E. Grace St. and reopens on Thursday, April 20, at 5 p.m.