Piping-hot pizza hitting Short Pump today? You better believe it, bubb. Find more great food finds (and also probably some more alliteration, let's be real) in the week's roundup. (Photo by Jay Paul)
BUCKLE UP, RVA. This week's Food News is packed to the gills with praise, new spots, huge events, cool moves and even a recipe or two:
- LONG LIVE THE FERN BAR: Restaurateur Kendra Feather — she of The Roosevelt, Ipanema Café, Garnett's Café and WPA Bakery in Church Hill — brought us a modern take on the classic neighborhood watering hole this week with the opening of Laura Lee's in South Side. Fun tweaks to American classics both culinary and cocktail make for a comfortable, lively new Forest Hill spot. Read up on the fern bar and, more importantly, what Feather's done with the concept here in Richmond, right this way. (Richmond magazine)
- And over in Short Pump, D.C.-based pizza chain, restaurant and bar Matchbox is now open! The first in the Richmond area, Matchbox fired up its oven today in Short Pump Town Center and will serve lunch and dinner daily, a killer happy hour, plus brunch on both Saturday and Sunday. Take a peek inside and grab some more details on grabbing your first slice right over here. (Richmond magazine)
- Next month, look for Mijas — an upscale Mexican restaurant — to fill the former La Grotta space at 1218 E. Cary St. in Shockoe Slip. From Carlos Londoño, owner of Margarita’s Cantina, Mijas is set to open around Oct. 15 with tableside guacamole, mole and more. (And it is hard to argue with that.) (Richmond BizSense)
- In some major brew news, Ashland's Center of the Universe is expanding with its Origin Beer Lab: a taproom at 106 S. Railroad Ave. in the town's Historic Main Street district. The new, roughly 50-seat space will focus on the science behind brewing beer, which is pretty exciting for this kid (and hopefully for all of you — knowledge is power, after all). Expect small-batch brews, including sours, when Origin opens mid-fall, and expect around 30 barrels per month. “One of the reasons we love making beer is experimenting with new flavors and techniques," co-founder Philip Ray says in a news release. "Origin will allow our brewers to explore some innovative and creative brewing without impacting the capacity of our current operation. Our inner nerds are very excited about this project.” BONUS EXCITING NEWS: The brewery just brought on Sarah Choi, formerly a partner of Shoryuken Ramen, as its new general manager of retail. Congratulations all around!
- And in case you missed it last week, the team behind Metzger Bar & Butchery — and their forthcoming Scott's Addition restaurant, Brenner Pass — has some big plans for Brenner's adjacent space at 1800 Highpoint Ave. In February, roughly one month after Brenner Pass opens, the team will launch Chairlift: a café, bakery and bottle shop with charcuterie, cheese boards, fast fare like baguette sandwiches and even possibly some pints of house-made ice cream, gelato or sorbet. Want to learn more? Hot damn! We've got you.
- Also opening in early 2017: The Cultured Swine is packing up its barbecue tomorrow, Sept. 16, and trekking from Jackson Ward to the Museum District to set up shop in the Grindstone Community Kitchen on Kensington Avenue. "We have loved being a part of the Jackson Ward community, and we will sincerely miss this wonderful neighborhood. We appreciate the opportunity to work with CARITAS and the Historic Jackson Ward Association, and we'll greatly miss our awesome neighbors, Big Herm's Kitchen and Shakoor's Merchandise," co-owner and chef Corey Johnson says in a news release. "Thank you, Richmond, for your support. We hope for your continued support at our new location as we explore an expanded menu and a focus on our food cart and catering. The swine is divine!"
- Got a sweet tooth? Richmond restaurants are serving up candy bar realness, and they're sprucing up these childhood classics in the process. What's more, you can even go ahead and order one at the start of your meal because you're an adult and you can do what you want; you can even order three. Go ahead, live large. (Richmond magazine)
- Do you know what else you can do because you are an adult? You can eat flowers, and I especially recommend eating them via Däl-kohm bakery's recipe for chamomile panna cotta. (Richmond magazine)
- There's never a shortage of great dining in Richmond, so of course it makes sense that you could spend entire mornings, afternoons and evenings wandering from restaurant to restaurant without ever getting bored. Behold, our guide to Richmond's food tours, which can help you discover hidden dining gems, find new favorites and sample your way through the city's best restaurants.
- And lastly, a hearty congratulations: There's been an onslaught of praise for #RVAdine this week, whether it was Shagbark's nod in USA Today's list of 20 new restaurants to try this fall, L'Opossum's place on OpenTable's roundup of the 100 best "foodie restaurants" in America or any of the gems featured in USA Today's spotlight on our restaurant community, from Rappahannock's oyster-trade revitalization to the great dishes you'll find at Dutch & Co., Heritage and other beloved and hard-working spots around town. What can you do to celebrate all this goodness??? Go eat and drink and enjoy these places.
Ready for that weekend? Put on your eatin' pants. You've got a lot of work cut out for you:
- IT'S BACK: The 58th annual Armenian Food Festival is set to bring you a taste — and a delicious taste, at that — of not only cuisine but culture, with food available for purchase, traditional dancing, shopping and more. OH MY HYE, find the full menu here. 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday. 834 Pepper Ave.
- PROST: The 12th annual St. Benedict Oktoberfest also kicks off tomorrow, for all your beer-y good needs. (I'm not sorry.) Food and drink will be available for purchase, with a lineup including bratwurst, knockwurst, German potato salad and, of course, so much beer. Also, festive garb! Admission is free. Hours vary by day; find 'em here!
- On Saturday, make your way to Leesburg for the 10th annual Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival, where you'll find 60 types of beer, 40 varieties of bourbon and a ton of barbecue, including a shrine to pulled pork. Also, there's a class on breaking down a whole hog! Noon to 6 p.m. 1602 Village Market Blvd. Tickets range $29 to $75, and you can find 'em here. (Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival)
And now for an (inter)national link:
- TREND TRACKER: How hot is poke? It's so hot trend-wise, but it's also pretty cool because a) it is cold, marinated raw fish, but also b) it is bringing about more awareness of Hawaiian cuisine, which is something I think we can all get behind. Here's a peek at how it's become so damn trendy, and how we can track food trends, anyway. (Eater)
Till next time, poke till I die.