Tucked into a small retail corridor in Richmond's Bellevue district, The Mill on MacArthur was conceived as "a nice, cozy neighborhood place where you can just walk in off the street," co-owner Josh Carlton says.
Carlton, a North Side resident, also says he saw a need for more delivery options and
family-oriented eateries in the area. Customers at The Mill (4023 MacArthur Ave., 716-1196) are welcomed by burnt-orange walls, hardwood floors, ceiling fans and a friendly wait staff. Chalkboards with multicolored scribbles outlining daily specials add to the casual ambiance.
The Mill's food can be described as updated American favorites made with locally sourced meat and produce. Its menu ranges from wilted-spinach salads and pasta primavera to biscuit sandwiches and oyster po' boys. Classic dishes are reinvented with new flavor combinations; among those are the Heartland Grilled Cheese sandwich, made with melted cheddar and Swiss, caramelized onions and roasted tomatoes, and specialty pizzas such as the Key West, featuring sliced conch, red peppers, garlic and capers. Customer favorites include the sweet, spicy honey-habañero wings; the Kickin' Chicken sandwich topped with Cajun rémoulade and melted Gouda; and the chicken parmigiana, which is lightly breaded, pan-fried and served over pasta with marinara sauce.
Carlton manages the kitchen; his partners are Amy Foxworthy, The Mill's general manager, and Chip Zimmerman, who also co-owns Mojo's on West Cary Street with Carlton. Foxworthy, who is a vegetarian, made sure to include options such as tofu lasagna with seasonal vegetables and melted cheese for non-meat-eaters. At many restaurants, she notes, "it's very hard to find an entrée that isn't just a vegetable plate."
To keep the focus on rotating specials and seasonal produce, the partners made the menu relatively small. The bulk of the produce, meat and fish come from Virginia, and the restaurant serves Bev's Homemade Ice Cream and a customized Mill coffee blend from Lamplighter Roasting Co., which is also available by the pound at the counter.