Farewell, Family Meal. I will remember your chocolate chunk cookies and ice-cold milk fondly. (Photo by Stephanie Breijo)
Hi there, food fans. Unfortunately, this week's news is riddled with closures, but it's not all doom and gloom. We've got an opening, a reopening, awards and a slew of fabulous events to soothe you:
- Parting is such sweet sorrow, but what if we told you Richmond wasn't actually losing one of its first craft beer bars after all? Commercial Taphouse announced yesterday that the Fan restaurant and bar will close on Aug. 31, but wait, there's more: According to current owner and local beer demigod An Bui, Commercial will reopen in October, though with a new menu and under different ownership. So, though this isn't the end of the line for this beloved spot, we still strongly suggest hightailing it to 111 N. Robinson St. before the end of the month, as it's the last chance you'll get to enjoy a Bui-run Commercial Taphouse. Want more info? We've got you.
- More in closures: Richmond mag 2016 Best New Restaurant Family Meal is closed "due to unforeseen circumstances" according to a sign on the front door, as first reported by RVAHUB. The family-friendly Willow Lawn restaurant from Bryan Voltaggio of "Top Chef" fame shut its doors this week due to a number of factors, and will not open again, says Cristina Krumsick, representative of Voltaggio. "Bryan and his team are grateful to the community for their support over these past few years and are looking forward to focusing on upcoming projects, including new concepts at MGM National Harbor, City Center DC and in Miami," Krumsick wrote to me in an email this afternoon.
- And in even more closures, downtown's Main Street Coffee shuttered this week in the Capitol Place building after opening in June of 2015. (Richmond BizSense)
- Now let's focus on a food spot coming our way, shall we? Bon Air is getting a new meat, seafood and pantry-items shop in the Buford Road Shopping Center. Slated to open in early September, Bon Air Provisions — helmed by one of the South Side Joe's Inn's overseers — will offer Virginia products and growler fills at 2624 Buford Road. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
- In a perfect world, the kitchen would be a safe space everyone could enjoy. In reality, a number of factors make cooking daunting, especially for those with learning disabilities. Enter SpoonScouts: a local organization hoping to change that, one workshop at a time. Here's how founder Leanne Burton is helping children through hands-on classes that teach not only kitchen skills but science and math as well, plus how you can get involved. (Richmond magazine)
- Hey! Were you aware that the striped bass, aka rockfish, is Virginia's official saltwater fish? Were you also aware that we've got intel on these swimmers and how to buy and prep them, along with a recipe from Hannah Pollack of Greenleaf's Pool Room? Go ahead and let that striped bass with summer salsa hit the table; your guests will thank you for it.
- And on a bright note, congratulations to a number of Richmond-area breweries that took home awards from this year's Virginia Craft Beer Cup. Final Gravity Brewing Co., Strangeways, The Answer Brewpub, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery, Triple Crossing Brewing Co., Ardent Craft Ales, Steam Bell Beer Works, Legend Brewing and Garden Grove Brewing Co. all took home awards for their craft beer(s). "The Virginia Craft Beer Cup recognizes outstanding beer made by some of Virginia's best independent craft brewers," Brett Vassey, president and CEO of the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild, says in a news release. "Congratulations to every competitor and this year's award winners." Find the full list here, and then, better yet, sample your way through it at your leisure.
Ready for that weekend? Whatever your answer, it's basically here, so get plannin':
- End your Thursday on a sweet note and hit up the free tasting event at Stir Crazy Cafe, where Sugar & Salt bakery is pairing its pastries with Ironclad Coffee Roasters' coffee. Nutella mouse with Brazilian beans? Don't mind if I do. 5 to 8 p.m. (Ironclad Coffee Roasters)
- ... Or end it in a feat of strength at The Halligan Bar & Grill in Short Pump. Sure, Oktoberfest is a ways away, but tonight the restaurant and bar is hosting a stein-holding contest beginning at 6 p.m. Show up and sign up and you could win a stein as well as entry into a raffle for an all-expense-paid trip to Germany. (Halligan Bar & Grill)
- Saturday, get pickin' at the Hanover Crab Feast from 1 to 8 p.m. There will be 250 bushels of crabs. There will be 4,500 hot dogs. There will be live music. There will be free admission for kids 5 and under with the purchase of an adult ticket. Online tix are sold out, but you can find a list of spots still selling them in-person here. (Hanover Crab Feast)
- Then on Sunday, if a trip to Wally World is out of the question, make your way to Sub Rosa for National Lampo's Richmond Vacation: a pizza-slingin' collaboration between Charlottesville's Lampo Neapolitan Pizzeria and the Richmond bakery. Find pizza by the slice, small plates and Potter's Craft Cider available for purchase. No reservations, so get there early. 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. (Potter's Craft Cider)
- Then on Monday, head to Kinsfolk for another Jackdaw pop-up featuring smoked lamb dumplings, octopus ceviche, and noodles in smoked corn broth. Check out the full menu here. Dishes run $8 to $14; fun runs 5:30 p.m. to midnight. (The Jackdaw)
And now for a few (inter)national links:
- Multiple environmental and animal-rights campaigns: "Hey, stop eating meat!" Americans: "OVER OUR — ERRRRR, THEIR DEAD BODIES." According to a new survey, our country's meat consumption is once again on the rise, and in a big way: America's carnivorous consumption jumped 5 percent last year alone, the biggest spike meat-eating metrics have seen in 40 years. (Vox)
- No, we don't live in NYC, but this is still handy, not to mention so entertaining: Here's how to make a five-star meal at home using ingredients from your neighborhood corner store. Would try that bacon-dashi ramen bowl. (First We Feast)
- File under #LIFEGOALS: Here's an illustrated guide to eating your way through Japan via soft serve. Most towns have their own unique flavor, from peanut to volcanic ash, and now a soft-serve trip through that country is on my bucket list. (Saveur)
Till next time, I will be sitting at my desk and daydreaming about sake soft serve. Good day to you all.