The Kelly's Classic burger with American cheese, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and onion served with beer-battered onion rings (Photo by Julianne Tripp)
When you pull up to a restaurant and think — before even tasting the food — that it fills a need you never realized you had, somebody behind the curtain is doing something right. I used to frequent a spot in Martinsville where boisterous talk, familiar faces and soul-healing fries were expected. Boulevard Burger & Brew has that vibe, and a little bit of that look, too, with its vintage-inspired signage and shiny red-and-white tile original to the space, the former home of a Kelly's Jet System Hamburgers.
The simplicity of the concept works well and keeps things moving quickly. Ten burgers populate the menu, along with a handful of appetizers (spicy Thai fried green beans being the creative choice), plus sandwiches, dogs and a smattering of the usual fried sides. Fried options come out piping hot; burgers, while perhaps not the juiciest you’ve ever had, can come complete with any toppings your heart desires. The staff knows the crunch of iceberg lettuce makes for a proper bite — no romaine or baby-green foolishness here. A fluffy baseline of soft serve, as opposed to fattier ice cream, gives booze-swirled shakes a dangerously drinkable quality that might provoke a second round.
There’s a lot of attention to detail, from the checkered paper-lined trays to the super-friendly staff. It’s somehow both a step back in time and a fresh addition to the Richmond dining landscape, and if you have a drive-in longing in your heart, drive yourself over there ASAP.
3 out of 4 forks
1300 N. Boulevard, 367-3838
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 11 a.m. to midnight; Sunday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Prices: $2.95 to $9.95