WPA Bakery in South Side is now open! But that's not all! We've also got Peter Chang's latest, plus a Sinatra-beloved pizzeria, plus more! (Photo by Jay Paul)
Good afternoon, food fans. We've got (so many) restaurant openings, a closure and even a merger or two, plus food's most influential people, solid weekend events and awkward ways to eat steamed buns. Ready? Let's begin:
- IT'S ALIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE. Last Friday, Peter Chang opened his Scott's Addition restaurant at 2816 W. Broad St. The kicker (aside from all that hot and numbing)? It's open from 11 a.m. to midnight nearly every day of the week and offers a full beverage program perfectly tailored to the menu, plus a handful of dim sum items in addition to its entrées, and a decent selection of lunch specials. Want to take a peek at the menu? Get an eyeful right here. We'll see you there! You'll probably see me slurping broth through a straw because that is what happens when you order the Big Soup Bun, as I learned earlier this week. A++ would do it again, just don't make eye contact while you're slurping or it can get weird. As I also learned this week. (Richmond magazine)
- On South Side, WPA Bakery opened the doors to its second location on Wednesday morning, just across the river and a short drive from its OG Church Hill branch. The new bakery, situated at 3414 Semmes Ave., offers many of its beloved cake and pie flavors as well as breakfast sandwiches, cheesecakes, cupcakes, cookies, etc., and, of course, many are available vegan and gluten free. Peep at that full menu here. (WPA Bakery)
- MORE openings: Chesterfield Towne Center is now home to Grimaldi's Pizzeria, a national pizza chain that's just touched down in Virginia at 11500 Midlothian Turnpike. "Our fresh ingredients, handmade mozzarella, 'secret recipe' dough and pizza sauce make us the most award-winning pizzeria in the United States," says the company website, which also cites Frank Sinatra as a former fan. (Do you think he ever sang "I did it pieeee wayyyy" when ordering? I really hope he did.) Stop by for hand-tossed pizzas that get baked in coal-fired brick ovens and topped with ricotta, grilled chicken, fresh garlic, meatballs — you get the idea, and now I've got the hunger. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
- And opening next week is Wong Gonzalez, downtown's new Mexican-Chinese fusion restaurant brought to you by the team behind Foo Dog, Fat Dragon and Wild Ginger, among others. We caught up with EAT Restaurant Partners manager Chris Staples to learn just what we can all expect when it opens its doors June 16, plus Chinese-Mexican cuisine's heritage (because yes, it is a thing), plus took a few photos of the gorgeous space at 412 E. Grace St. See also: 24 beer taps, a sushi restaurant within the restaurant, all rose gold everything, possible DJ nights and more. Dive into it here.
- Further on down the road (and also farther, depending on your location), West Coast Provisions is set to open in Henrico County's GreenGate development complex, just west of Short Pump, in early 2017. This concept from Richmond Restaurant Group is the West Coast-inspired sibling to Carytown's East Coast Provisions, which opened in March. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
- In New Ownership news, Amy Quidley and Charlie Hughes, both former bartenders at The Tobacco Company Restaurant, have just purchased Moore Street Café at 2904 Moore St. in Scott's Addition. Though we shouldn't expect any changes to the food menu — currently still full of classic diner favorites such as eggs with corned beef hash, burgers, chopped salads and griddled sandwiches — it's possible we may see beer and wine in the future, as well as dinner service. (Richmond BizSense)
- But for as many exciting openings as there are currently and on the horizon, there's also a closure to be shared: Sadly, this week Brux'l Cafe announced its closure via its Facebook page on June 1. Fans of the Belgian restaurant at 1731 W. Main St. in the Fan have until brunch service this Sunday, June 12, to stop by. "It has been a pleasure serving you the best 'Belgian Food' in Richmond over the years and look forward to doing so in the final weeks. Thanks for the support and great memories," read the announcement. According to the restaurant's social media today, there's been an uptick in business since the mention of the restaurant's closure, so if you're aiming to stop by, it's best to first make a reservation by calling 355-3683. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
- In Online Shopping news, Relay Foods announced today its merger with Door to Door Organics, an online grocery company that currently serves 16 states. "Together we have plans to deliver a better, more robust online grocery shopping experience: more delivery options, more convenience, more flexibility, more ways to make it simple to get healthy food on your table," read the news release continuing, "We're not going anywhere, and we remain committed to being the easiest way to get the very best groceries to your table."
- Speaking of fresh fruits and veggies, major Virginia produce distributor and neighbor to the west Cavalier Produce is moving from Charlottesville to a large state-of-the-art facility in Louisa County this month. Owners Denise and Stephen Yetzer hope the move will help their team keep up with increasing demand, as well as welcome and provide opportunity to new purveyors throughout the state. (news release)
- Looking for a new spot to grab a bite? Our review of Nota Bene Restaurant & Bar — formerly Pizza Tonight — is now online! Read up on this Italian restaurant's moody but welcoming interior and its house-made pasta and oven-roasted specials and Neapolitan-style pizza, then head over to Shockoe Bottom and get yourself a table.
Sometimes it's OK to leave the comfort of your home when you know there's delicious food and drink on the other side of your front door. Case in point:
- Tonight, Thursday, Whole Foods in Short Pump will reveal a new art installation by local students participating in Art 180. The nonprofit's teen leaders considered our local food-desert dilemma, and this installation reflects their thoughts on the subject. Stop by at 6 p.m. for the big unveiling. (news release)
- On Saturday, head to the grand opening of Richmond's newest brewery, Steam Bell Beer Works! 1717 E. Oak Lake Blvd. (Steam Bell Beer Works)
- Beer! Bourbon! Barbecue! (Bears! Beets! Battlestar Galactica!) You can find the former three all at the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival on Saturday at Richmond International Raceway from noon to 6 p.m., along with live music, seminars and thematic exhibits. (Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival)
And now for a few (inter)national links:
- Whether or not you keep up with food media trends or the biggest "IT" chefs, Adweek's recent "The 30 Most Influential People in Food" list is undeniably packed with voices and faces of which you should probably be at least vaguely aware. Among some obvious heavy-hitters (Anthony Bourdain, J. Kenji López-Alt, Ina Garten) you'll also find some fun up-and-comers and surprises (Hannah Hart, the hilarious "My Drunk Kitchen" YouTube celebrity, and Tom Paine, the adman and creative director behind the Burger King and McDonald's burger wars).
- Newsflash: Restaurant staff can tell when you're on a date, especially if it's an awkward one, and they'll also notice if you show up there multiple times a week with different people you met online. (Yikes!) Here's an insider look at what your favorite bartenders/servers/managers/chefs notice when you roll up for romance, and why it's both humorous and a little frustrating. (The Washington Post)
'Til next time, just avoid dating entirely and then you don't have to share bites with anyone. (Just kidding, I love sharing food with people. Speaking of which, whatever you're eating right now looks great. Tradesies?)