Hot Hot Heat: Ever wonder how Belle Isle Craft Spirits makes its Honey Habanero Moonshine? We've got more on that, plus a few other tasty treats for wettin' your whistle, all below! (Photo by Stephanie Breijo)
Oh hello, didn't see you there — I was just perusing this weekend's stellar event lineup, which includes The National Beer Expo and a few other choice parties and meals. What's that? You want tickets? We've got your back. We've also got new restaurants, closings and more:
- Sushi fiends, this one's for you: Just a few weeks ago, downtown's Latin-Asian fusion restaurant Wong Gonzalez launched at 412 E. Grace St. (And now, it's serving lunch!) But the EAT Restaurant Partners group had another ace-opening up its sleeve: This Saturday night, the team welcomes Beauty & Grace: A reservation-only sushi concept within Wong Gonzalez that's open solely on Fridays and Saturdays in the restaurant's mezzanine. Each week, guests can enjoy an omakase — chef's choice — sushi meal, with beverage pairings available. We've got more details, plus this Saturday's menu, right over here.
- Gelato fans, there's some cool news — and no, I'm not sorry for that pun, good day to you — headed your way: Jackson Ward's Stoplight Gelato Café opens on Sunday, bringing its house-made gelato to 405 Brook Road right across from Gallery5. You'll also find salads, sandwiches, pastries from nearby Idle Hands Bread Co. and Nettie's Naturally Bakery & Café, as well as a heartbreaking yet heartwarming story: Owner Barbara Given's café stands as a monument to her late son, Bryce, who helped design and build the space into a business he and his mother could one day run together. His untimely passing last year didn't stop Given from completing the project, and now Stoplight is bringing a bit of Bryce's vision and spirit to the neighborhood. Stop by when you get a chance. (Richmond BizSense)
- Shine on, you crazy diamonds: A lot of time, effort, heat and honey goes into each batch of Belle Isle Craft Spirits' most popular moonshine, so I stopped by the Manchester Shine Shrine to see how this local spirit gets made. (Dear Belle Isle team, please start calling your factory the "Shine Shrine.") Get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how hundreds of liters of white whiskey, 30 pounds of habaneros, filtered James River H2O, and 300 pounds of honey from a Waynesboro man called "Bubba" combine to make one of the most popular boozy ingredients in town.
- And in some sadder news, a closure: After roughly 60 years in business, Chinese restaurant Joy Garden is closing due to the neighborhood's increasing rent costs. Owners Mark and Bang Sin are unsure as to their Scott's Addition business's last day; should they be able to hire more workers to run the restaurant, they'll keep serving food at 2918 W. Broad St. through the end of the year. Should they not, it will close July 31. The building's owners hope to rent the space to another restaurant concept in the future, meanwhile, the Sins plan on retiring after they close shop. (Richmond BizSense)
- It's been long discussed that Southern food grocer Publix, with a following that's seemingly almost reached cult status, will hit the Richmond market market soon. Now we know where: The chain recently announced the details of its $29 million plan to purchase 10 Richmond-area Martin's Food Markets including existing locations in Carytown and near Short Pump. Publix will remodel the 10 spaces and reopen each as a Publix on a rolling basis that will be informed by permit approvals and construction. The remaining nine Martin's locations in the region will remain open for another six to 12 months, until another buyer can be found. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
- And if you're looking for a meal to write home about, we advise you visit Kinsfolk in Forest Hill. There's a lot that's good here, and as our critic Bird Cox notes, maybe a lot all at once. Read more here and plan your menu method of attack.
- A hearty and well earned congratulations to McCormack's Big Whisky Grill, which The Bourbon Review just named one of "America's Best 80 Bourbon Bars." (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
- BRUNCH TIPS: Kabana Rooftop is now offering Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with items such as crab rangoon omelets and a lobster egg foo young, ranging $10 to $17. (It also just launched its Sunday yoga series, where $25 gets you a rooftop yoga class and one drink.) In South Side, Southbound is slingin' Southern brunch classics such as biscuits and gravy, as well as some spins on stalwarts (crab cake and grits, anyone?). Check out that menu here and stop by Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- And last but not least, we have A LIGHTNING GIVEAWAY: The Capital Ale House National Beer Expo is happening right this very now at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, and Rmag couldn't be more excited about it. (Last year I tried so many beers. All of the beers. Now, it's your turn!) There are a ton of special events (check out the full lineup here) including tastings, talks, tacos and a new dinner: the Farm Country Feast, which we want you to attend. We've got two pairs of tickets for this Saturday night dinner event that'll feature Cajun and Southern soul food, plus 18 beers, 25+ spirits, live music and more, all at the John Marshall Ballroom from 6 to 9 p.m. TO WIN: email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Feast Me" and tell me your favorite soul-food dish and why. (Personally I'm a mac 'n' cheese girl, not sure about you.) There will be two winners, each notified by noon tomorrow (Friday, July 15). May the suds be ever in your favor.
Ready for that weekend? It's ready for you:
- Hey, how do you feel about grilled meat? What about free outdoor movies? What about The Rock ("Mr. Johnson" if you're nasty)? Or Christopher Walken? What about ALL OF THESE THINGS AT ONCE? I know the thought of it makes your head want to explode, but don't let it! Instead, go to Stock Provisions at 709 W. Main St. tonight for the spot's first-ever Dog Days of RVA screening. Each Thursday evening, this butcher shop and local market will fire up the grill at 7:30 p.m. and throw on a movie at 9 p.m., and for its inaugural event, you can catch 2003's "The Rundown." Tonight's menu includes brats with hot sauerkraut and Italian sausage with peppers and onions, each $8. Also, there's free first-come, first-served watermelon. Bring a chair, bring a blanket, bring a cool 'tude. (JM Stock Provisions)
- On Sunday it's goin' down at The Rogue Gentlemen, and when I say "it" I mean a delightfully tongue-in-cheek Whiskey Tango "Pool Party." And when I mention "pool party" in quotes, it's because the $30 entry gets you access to a kiddie pool, in addition to food, beer, jorts, American pride and everything else that is weird and wonderful and bound to be at 618 N. First St. from 4 to 10 p.m. that night. (The Rogue Gentlemen)
- Then on Monday, July 18, take part in some caffeine and civic discussion during a Coffee with a Cop event. Church Hill's WPA Bakery is hosting this informal Q&A session, wherein you can chat with, voice concerns to and ask Richmond police officers, who'll be there to talk a bit more about the community, their roles, etc. Stop by 2707 E. Marshall St. from 8 to 9 a.m. (Church Hill People's News)
And now for a few (inter)national links:
- There are so many NSFW things to say here but I just cannot type them so I will just leave you with this bizarre news item: A 27-year-old woman in Wisconsin was recently charged with operating a brothel out of her chicken coop. There's also a bit of sad news to this story, in that she was also charged with child neglect, which is upsetting and unfortunate and who let this woman ever be in charge of children and chickens? (Munchies)
- Hey, did you know that maybe the USDA Prime-grade beef you order is, in fact, not? Here's a quick guide to avoiding food fraud, at least as it pertains to the nation's top three menu offenders. (Eater)
'Til next time, stay food-woke, fam.