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Top 5 Food Trends of 2022

It’s no secret that many things have had a serious impact on the restaurant industry – from labor shortages to supply-chain issues, restaurants have had to get creative to survive – and it’s been TOUGH. In addition to these internal issues, many diners are still nervous to sit in crowded restaurants and prefer take-out to enjoy in the comfort and safety of their own homes. Here, The Manual shows us 2022’s top 5 food trends!

Ghost Kitchens – taking food to go is not going away anytime soon – even big companies like Wendy’s and Buca di Beppo are getting in on the action – Wendy’s is planning 700 ghost kitchens in the next 5 years! Research suggests this could be a trillion dollar industry over the next decade!

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  • Plant Power – vegan salmon, tuna sashimi and even bacon! More and more establishments are featuring plant-based menu options as more Americans embrace a vegan lifestyle.
  • Sustainable Packaging – At Metro Supplies, we proudly provide our clients with an array of sustainable options. Biodegradable straws and simple cardboard boxes are some green options restaurants can use to keep their customers happy while helping the environment.
  • Limited Menus with a Dash of Creativity – sky-high food prices and supply chain issues have forced restaurants to rethink their “typical” menus. According to the National Restaurant Association, 8 out of 10 restaurants have been forced to change their menus. Creating a more limited menu featuring truly delicious food choices help reduce labor and supply costs.
  • Food Fusions – more and more chefs are experimenting with try new cuisines and combining different styles of cooking. The possibilities are endless!
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Don’t Wait! Check Out the Richmond Jewish Food Festival!

Post originally appeared on WRIC.com

The Richmond Jewish Food Festival is back for one day only this weekend! Make sure to pre-order your food for pick up!

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Rich Goldberg and his wife have been with the Richmond Jewish Food Festival since day one. He attributes the evolution of the festival to his wife, Diane. “It was my wife’s idea to resurrect it from a previous incarnation,” Goldberg explained.

Goldberg said that the food festival originated at his synagogue, Keneseth Beth Israel, where it was put on annually for six years before the popularity of the festival outgrew the space available at the site.

“We just kept growing and growing until we outgrew the synagogue,” Goldberg described. “We decided to make it at a more appropriate location… this way we could consider it more of a Jewish community event.

The Richmond Jewish Food Festival now resides at The Weinstein Jewish Community Center, 5403 Monument Ave.

After its first year at the community center, the festival fully filled that space as well. Goldberg said that, in the inside of the center, there is a large auditorium where people would take their food to eat after ordering. They also had to set up heated tents around the outside of the community center to accommodate the amount of people attending.

“It’s 6,000-square-feet of tent space just for serving food,” he stated.

On average, over the two days of the festival, Goldberg said that around 10,000 people come by to take part and sample the array of foods offered.

After a hiatus in 2020, this year, Goldberg said the festival will look a little different:

  • In order to keep both attendees and volunteers safe, this year the 14th Annual Jewish Food Festival will be a one-day take home, “Heat n’ Eat” style event.
  • Guests are asked to order their food in advance off of a set menu online. They will then pick up their pre-cooked food at the Weinstein Jewish Community Center on Sunday, Jan. 16 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. No cash will be accepted.
  • Many regular menu items of the past will not be available due to cooking restraints, but fan favorites such as beef brisket, knish and stuffed cabbage will remain on this year’s menu.

“There are some restaurants around town that might serve some of these things, but these are authentic things and they are cooked by normal people,” Goldberg explained. “We don’t have any chefs on-hand or anything like that, its just the kinds of food that we would eat on our Sabbath, on our holidays, cooked by the people who do this normally for their family.”

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RVA: A Hidden Culinary Gem!

We just came across an article from Forbes called “10 Reasons Why Richmond, Virginia Is A Hidden Culinary Gem” – we loved it so much we wanted to make sure we shared the highlights on our blog!

Some fun places to stay!

Quirk Hotel Richmond
Quirk Hotel Richmond 
QUIRK HOTEL RICHMOND

The Jefferson Hotel

“From the moment you enter the lobby accented with Tiffany stained glass, marble columns, and of course, a statue of Thomas Jefferson, you’ll know why this historic grande dame is one of the top hotels in town. But dazzling design is just the beginning. The service is polished, yet warm, and thanks to a sweeping renovation wrapped in 2017 – the accommodations and common areas now balance old-world elegance with contemporary comforts. While I appreciated the entrance foyer, ample space, and table for dining and working in my Grand Premier Room, it was the marble-clad bathroom decked out with a deep soaking tub, vanity mirrors with TV screens, and two vanities that really dazzled. For an unforgettable night out: look no further than Lemaire, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant specializing in elevated New American cuisine crafted with local meat and produce.”

Forbes.com

Quirk Hotel Richmond

Richmond finally got the hip boutique hotel it deserved when Quirk opened in 2015 in the Arts & Design District. Owned by hotelier couple Ted and Katie Ukrop, the property seamlessly blends the old and new. You’ll see signs of the hotel’s former life as a department store throughout, from the original ironwork staircase to the 13-foot limestone arches. The 73 rooms are appointed with a whimsical mix of materials and colors (including a hefty dose of Quirk’s signature pink), along with locally-sourced artwork. The Lobby Bar, which is currently open for weekend brunch and dinner, turns out globe-trotting small plates of Gochujang Roasted Squash, Provolone Pimento Dip, and Ricotta Gnudi. Pop into Quirk Gallery to check out up-and-coming talent and score some unique gifts.

Forbes.com

Some good eats!

Besides dome fun places to stay, Forbes shows us some amazing restaurants you must try! There’s definitely too many to choose from, but here’s some samples!

Adarra Basque Spanish Tapas Restaurant Richmond
Restaurant Adarra
 NICK HANCOCK

Restaurant Adarra

Owned by partners in work and life Lyne and Randall Doetzer, Jackson Ward’s Restaurant Adarra is an increasingly rare restaurant that suits all types of eaters and occasions. The design is warm and handsome, with exposed brick, lots of dark wood, and a cozy bar that begs diners to linger long after their meal is done. The food menu takes inspiration from Spain’s Basque country, and features traditional, ingredient-drive bites like Pintxos Gilda, marinated anchovies (boquerones), and assorted conservas, while the wine list skews natural and organic.

Lehja

Don’t be put off Lehja’s shopping mall location, because you’ll be rewarded with traditional and creative Indian food that extends beyond the standbys of chicken tikka masala and saag paneer. For something original, order off the contemporary section of the menu. The best-selling Deconstructed Butter Chicken, for example, smothers roasted free-range chicken breast with a rich, nut-based Makhni sauce and sauteed greens.

Longoven

Some of the country’s buzziest restaurants were born of humble beginnings as pop-ups. That’s the case with Longoven, which started as a pop-up series at Sub Rosa Bakery, and later opened as a brick-and-mortar in Scott’s Addition to much acclaim in 2018. Though the service is super attentive, and the dishes as easy on the eyes as they are on the palate, the restaurant feels intimate and convival – not formal or stuffy. And when the newly-revamped patio opens this weekend, there will be another good reason to book a table.

L'Opossum French Restaurant Richmond James Beard David Shannon
L’Opossum
 BETTY CLICKER PHOTOGRAPHY

L’Opossum

There’s lots of words you could use to describe this French restaurant in Oregon Hill helmed by chef David Shannon. But the one word locals and out-of-towners seem to repeat over and over again is fun. The design is and eclectic and unforgettable, anchored by David statues, phallic stained-glass window, and Andy Warhol wallpaper. Fittingly, the kitchen is sending out equally imaginative European fare with cheeky names like Vegan Orgy On Texas Beach and Cocky Yet Classic And So Very Comfy-Cozy Coq Au Vin.

Perly’s

A contemporary spin on the classic Jewish deli, Perly’s offers familiar dishes (think matzo ball soup and potato latkes) alongside original creations like the Jewish Sailor. Perfect for the heartiest appetites, the oversized sandwich generously layers pastrami, beef sausage, and chicken liver on toasted rye bread. In the mood for a nosh? Try the Jewish Egg Rolls, which are stuffed with chopped corned beef, kishka, and sauerkraut, and paired with honey mustard schmaltz and amba sauce for dipping.

Sub Rosa Bakery

Run by siblings Evrim and Evin Dogu, this charming bakery and cafe in historic Church Hill has perfected the art of baking. And how? First, the Dogus only use regionally-grown heirloom grains. Then, they take things further by milling on-site, and baking everything in the wood-fired masonry oven. While the buttery, puffy, and gorgeously layered croissants are spectucular, don’t pass up on the Pide Flatbread, Pogaca, and Lamb Börek that pay homage to the Dogus’ Turkish roots.

ZZQ

This casual joint is proof positive you don’t have to be in Texas to score some seriously solid barbeque. Because at ZZQ, it isn’t just about tender, dry-rubbed brisket. There’s also racks of peppery ribs, and smoky, spicy sausages. (Fun fact: the three meats are widely known as the Texas Trinity.) And the side dishes, like the collards cooked with blackstrap molasses, hot sauce, and bacon, are so flavorful they stand out on their own.

Forbes.com

There is so much to check out in RVA! Make sure you check out all of the amazing local spots – you won’t be disappointed!

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2021: A busy year for the RVA restaurant scene!

Post originally appeared on RichmondBizSense.com

It’s hard to remember a more highly-anticipated spring for diners than that of 2021, as the warmer weather coincided with wider COVID-19 vaccine access and a return to dining rooms all over the Richmond region.

Heaps of restaurant news followed: New concepts were announced, local restaurant groups expanded their footprints, and plenty of old restaurant spaces were given new life.

Richmond restaurant news in 2021
Derek Cha, left, and Mike Kim launched Hangry Joe’s Hot Chicken in May, with the first location of the chicken sandwich joint opening in Ashland. (BizSense file photos)

Expansions

Tazza Kitchen’s Susan and John Davenport looked west for their latest concept, Conejo Cocina Mexicana, which is set to open in the forthcoming Westhampton Commons development. Brett Diehl of The Cocky Rooster also went westward, signing a lease in GreenGate to bring Short Pump a version of his Fan-born chicken spot.

Enrico “Jo Jo” Armetta is the owner of Jo Jo’s Famous Pizza.

Others looked south, such as Enrico Armetta, who made the leap to add a Midlothian location of his longtime downtown pizzeria Jo Jo’s Famous Pizza. Brad Barzoloski also went to Chesterfield for a location of his Capitol Waffle Shop in the Shops at the Arboretum.

EAT Restaurant Partners continued to expand into Richmond’s surrounding counties in 2021, opening a second PBR location (this time in Hanover County) as well as preparing to open a Wong’s Tacos restaurant in the Winterfield Crossing mixed-use development in Midlothian.

Ice cream chain Gelati Celesti kicked off plans to expand its Short Pump outpost and dished out a second Virginia Beach location in November.

Pop-ups and food trucks going permanent

 Pop-ups — temporary concepts often operated within another restaurant on limited days of the week — saw a spike in popularity over the last year, and a few did well enough to land brick-and-mortar spots in 2021.

Among them was Buttermilk and Honey, a takeout-friendly fried chicken concept Lillie Pearl owners Kimberly Love-Lindsey and Mike Lindsey started last year and took full-time in Short Pump. The married couple also became the new operators of Pop’s Market downtown.

The owners of the Jasper in Carytown occasionally turned their bar into a summertime noodle bar dubbed Slurp, and this fall they signed a lease to give the concept a full-time home in Union Hill.

JewFro, an African-Jewish fusion concept by the owners of Soul Taco, opened a permanent location in Shockoe Bottom this year after its original launch as a pop-up restaurant.

Soul Taco’s owners decided to make their Jewish and African fusion concept JewFro a permanent fixture of the local restaurant scene, opening in Shockoe Bottom after the concept had a run as a pop-up earlier in 2021.

A handful of food trucks also went the brick-and-mortar route.

Two operators found the Shops at Wellesley to be a perfect place to drop anchor. It started over the summer when John Vest found a brick-and-mortar space for his Redemption BBQ, then a few months later Thai Won On set up shop next door.

In the Fan, Westray Paul is turning his ice cream truck into an ice cream shop at 214 N. Lombardy St.

The pandemic also accelerated the arrival of ghost kitchens, the delivery-only spots where restaurateurs can set up shop without having a front door for customers to come through.

ChefSuite is working to open a kitchen on West Broad near Staples Mill, while a bit further east on Broad Street, Cloud Kitchens, run by a former Uber CEO, bought some space adjacent to The Hofheimer building.

New chains and concepts

Some local restaurant industry veterans kicked off new concepts in 2021.

Sweetfrog founder Derek Cha got in on the hot chicken sandwich craze in May when he opened his first Hangry Joe’s Hot Chicken in Ashland. Cha also kicked off expansion of the concept in 2021, opening in Fairfax with plans for locations to open in Short Pump and near Regency in early 2022.

Sedona Taphouse owner Dennis Barbaro announced plans for a new concept called Napa Kitchen and Wine, which is slated to open in early 2022.

Garland Taylor opened Caribbean-inspired taco restaurant Sloop John B at Regency in November.

The year saw the opening of Sloop John B, a Caribbean-style taco restaurant by Garland Taylor that joined the Regency mall amid its revitalization effort in November.

Chains large and small from out of town also touched down in Richmond last year, including three taquerias.

Austin-based Torchy’s Tacos signed a lease in Carytown and is eyeing a 2022 opening, as is North Carolina’s Cabo Fish Taco in Scott’s Addition. Staunton-based Chicano Boy Taco opened in Midlothian in the fall.

From left, Philly Vegan owners Ratha Chhay, Samuel Veney and Celicia Hartridge, and Veney’s sister Tee.

pair of Philly cheesesteak restaurants debuted over the summer with Philly Vegan opening in Manchester and Str8 Out of Philly in Jackson Ward.

After his experience with Burgerim went south and led to a legal battle, local restaurateur Joey McCullough became a franchisee of California-based Fatburger.

Natalie Moore is the owner of Ruff Canine Club, which will be the first dog park-bar in the Richmond region when it opens near Scott’s Addition.

Natalie Moore is the owner of Ruff Canine Club, which will be the first dog park-bar in the Richmond region when it opens near Scott’s Addition.

Over near The Diamond, Natalie Moore opened a wholly new-to-Richmond concept in Ruff Canine Club, the region’s first dog park bar.

Old spaces, new faces

A common theme of 2021 was new restaurants taking over spaces that were vacated in recent years. Here’s a list:

New restaurantFormer tenantLocation
Ariana KabobFarouk’s House of India3033 W. Cary St., Carytown
Got DumplingsDeep Run Roadhouse309 N. Laurel St., VCU
CocodriloCaturra on Grove5811 Grove Ave., West End
Cobra BurgerDutch & Co.400 N. 27th St., Church Hill
Pinky’sUrban Farmhouse3015 Norfolk St., Scott’s Addition
Go BirdDunkin’6801 Forest Hill Ave., Forest Hill
Chewy’s BagelsJean-Jacques Bakery3138 W. Cary St., Carytown
Henley on GraceThe Red Door314 E. Grace St., Monroe Ward
MPM (Mom’s Siam, Pik Nik, My Noodle & Bar)Carolina Ale House11275 W. Broad St., Short Pump
BigWife’s Mac ‘n CheeseGrowlers To Go1017 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd., Scott’s Addition
Island Shrimp Co.Conch Republic11 Orleans St., Rocketts Landing
Phase 27Bistro 2727 W. Broad St., Monroe Ward
Saheb Indian BistroPescado13126 Midlothian Turnpike, Midlothian

Booze news

Relative to years past, 2021 was a quiet one for beer and craft beverage news, with only one new brewery opening in the area: Holy Mackerel in Prince George. The new year is looking to be busier, with at least four new breweries planned to open in 2022.

Triple Crossing Beer opened its taproom at Winterfield Crossing in December, Norfolk-based Benchtop Brewing Co. is working on its Manchester taproom, brewery/meadery/winery Three Leg Run is in the works in Chester, and work is underway on Trapezium Brewing Co.’s Church Hill location.

Coffee moves

The year in coffee saw some local shops add new spots around town.

Ironclad Coffee Roasters signed a lease in western Henrico in November for its second location, which is slated to open in early 2022. In the spring, Blanchard’s Coffee opened a new location, taking over the former Lamplighter Coffee Roasters spot on Morris Street.

Another coffee crew, Little Bean Coffee Co., announced plans for a sister ice cream shop in Mechanicsville, which opened in the summer.

And Starbucks made a noteworthy addition to the local coffee landscape in 2021 with a new takeout-only spot in the Fan that opened in September.

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Customer Experience: Are You Mastering It?

Happy Tuesday, friends! We stumbled on this post from CustomerBliss.com and thought it was something our restaurant industry friends would love to hear! It’s no secret that customer experience is more crucial than ever and mastering it can make a huge difference for your brand!

They write: “As consumers become more and more conscious of how they spend their money, it’s especially important to consider how you deliver a restaurant experience to your audience. In their report, “Serving up a great customer experience: Through the eyes of guests,” Deloitte says, “A restaurant’s brand is no longer only about food […] The ability to deliver consistently engaging, memorable experiences that drive a connection to the brand at every touchpoint is more critical than ever.”

Listen to the Human Duct Tape Show podcast for more information on improving customer experience in the restaurant world:

We hope you get some good information from the podcast!

Wishing you a very happy and safe holiday season!

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Young Mother: Get on the list!

Post originally appeared on wtvr.com.

New pop-up alert – so promising he’s already taking reservations for 2022!

RICHMOND, Va. — Daniel Harthausen is not yet a household name in Richmond’s culinary scene. But that has not stopped his Korean and Japanese cuisine-inspired Young Mother pop-up restaurant to sell out for the remainder of 2021.

He is taking reservations for 2022.

Daniel H 02.jpg
Nick Hancock
Daniel Harthausen and Young Mother

“I don’t see myself as somebody that’s a part of the Richmond chef community. I still just work and I do a pop-up once a month. People really like it and I love that,” Harthausen said. “I kind of just see myself as still an employee at Adarra, which I love.”

The 26-year-old Korea-born, Hampton Roads-raised chef said he has learned a lot from Adarra owner and chef Randall Doetzer.

“We’re fairly similar. I pick up on very blunt direction well,” he said. “I think it’s just coming from an athletic background or playing sports my whole life and then also coming up as a military kid. Being very coachable is a skill I think is really important for people. So like having someone just tell me directly when I need to do, I’ll go do it and then also learn from it.”

His time with Doetzer, plus stops at other Richmond restaurants like Yaki and Black Sheep, has given Harthausen the confidence to move forward with Young Mother.

“Primarily we’re focused on Japanese and Korean food. Kind of like this meshing of the two cultures. It’s pretty interesting on my end, being able to research how the two cultures kind of interact with food,” he said.

Click here to learn more about Young Mother pop-ups and DM the Instagram account to get on the waiting list for the next event.

You can listen Daniel Harthausen share his story on the Eat It, Virginia podcast.

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It’s GivingTuesday! Make YOUR impact on the world today and everyday!

Today is GivingTuesday, a movement created just 9 short years ago to inspire people to make a difference in the world, both big and small!  The organization says:“GIVINGTUESDAY IS A MOVEMENT THAT UNLEASHES THE POWER OF RADICAL GENEROSITY AROUND THE WORLD.

GivingTuesday reimagines a world built upon shared humanity and generosity.

Our global network collaborates year-round to inspire generosity around the world, with a common mission to build a world where generosity is part of everyday life.

Whether it’s making someone smile, helping a neighbor or stranger out, showing up for an issue or people we care about, or giving some of what we have to those who need our help, every act of generosity counts, and everyone has something to give.”

So whether you do something as simple as checking on your neighbor and offering help or creating your own charitable organization, no act is too small or too big.  The world needs all of the kindness it can get right now – and that starts with us….and you.

To learn more about GivingTuesday and its impact, check out https://www.givingtuesday.org/

Paul Davis restoration
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Don’t want to cook for Thanksgiving? Have no fear – these RVA restaurants are here!

Post originally appeared on https://www.wric.com/entertainment-news/what-restaurants-are-serving-thanksgiving-dinner-in-richmond.

If you’re like a lot of us, you’re tired of cooking – every night you have to decide what to feed yourself and your family. Adulting, right?! But no worries – there are a ton of great restaurants in RVA serving up some awesome Thanksgiving feasts!

The Boathouse

With locations in Short Pump, Hopewell, Rocketts Landing and Sunday Park, the Boathouse is offering guests the option to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving Buffet, as well as order oven-ready family dinners. The Boathouse buffet offers everything from turkey and apple crisp to Atlantic salmon and chocolate mousse. The buffet is $48 for adults, $19 for children and free for kids ages 5 and under. Oven-ready dinners serve six to eight people and include turkey breast, side dishes and a pie. You can add more dishes such as ham biscuits and crab dip for an additional cost. Oven-ready dinners must be ordered by Nov. 19 and are $185 a meal. You can find more information and make Thanksgiving Day reservations on the Boathouse’s website.

BookBinders’s Seafood & Steakhouse

BookBinder’s is offering a three-course meal with Thanksgiving classics like the traditional turkey dinner, along with less traditional options such as pan-seared Cheseapeake Rockfish. Dinner is $70 for adults and $18 for the children’s menu (kids 12 and under), not including tax and 20% holiday gratuity. You can find a full menu and make reservations online here.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar

Fleming’s is offering both in-house and catering options for Thanksgiving dinner. The three-course Thanksgiving dinner menu includes a starter, entree and dessert. They will also have” sides to share” and a children’s menu. These options are also available in a to-go format, along with full sides for order, such as mashed potatoes and house-made stuffing. The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The three-course adult meal is $49 and the children’s menu is $23. Catering sides vary from $25 to $90. You can find more details and make a reservation on Fleming’s website.

Hanover Tavern

Hanover Tavern is hosting guests for a traditional Thanksgiving meal from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Expect all the classics like roasted turkey, yams, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie Adults are $40 and children ages 5 to 12 are $20. You can make a reservation by calling 804-537-5050. Find more details on Hanover Tavern’s website.Which stores are open, or closed, on Thanksgiving 2021? 

Howlett’s Restaurant & Tavern

Howlett’s will be serving a traditional baked turkey dinner with a choice of three sides, along with a sweet dessert to finish up your meal.

Dinner will be served from noon to 7 p.m. Adults are $25.99 and kids 10 and under are $12.99. You can make a reservation by calling 804-930-1034.

The Jefferson Hotel

Unfortunately, The Jefferson is completely booked for in-person holiday dining options through New Year’s Eve. However, they’re still taking to-go orders for an at-home feast until Nov. 17. You can fill out an order request form online here or call 804-649-4618 for more information.

The Lobby Bar at Quirk

Quirk’s in-house restaurant is offering takeaway dinners for two which can be picked up between 1 and 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. They include roasted turkey breast and confit turkey leg, along with all the best sides. A two-person dinner is $120 and can be ordered through Eventbrite.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Ruth’s Chris’ in-house dinner includes a starter, roast turkey, dressing, a side and dessert. They also have to-go meals that serve up to four people and a la carte sides for order as well. Dinner at the restaurant is $42.95 a person. To-go meals for four are $115 to $175 and sides start at $27.95 each. You can find more information and make a reservation on its website.

Small Batch Local Kitchen

This restaurant operating out of the Westin Richmond will be offering a three-course Thanksgiving dinner that includes an appetizer or choice of salad, entree and dessert. This dinner is $44 for adults and $19 for children under 12. You can find more details on Small Batch’s Facebook page and make a reservation through OpenTable.

Spoonbread Bistro

The restaurant is offering heat and go options ranging from a traditional ham and turkey dinner to salmon stuffed with crab and shrimp. Each meal serves four people and comes with sides, rolls and a dessert. Patrons can also order a la carte sides like scalloped potatoes and, of course, spoon bread. The restaurant will be taking preorders until Nov. 20. Meals range from $225 to $280, and sides are $25 apiece. All orders are subject to an 18% service fee. You can find a full menu online here, and place your order here.

The Tobacco Company Restaurant

The Tobacco Company will have a menu featuring a full list of sides and entrees, as well as a Harvest Dinner option for those wanting a traditional turkey meal on the holiday. Prices vary per option, but the Tobacco Company Harvest Dinner is $38. You can find more information and make a reservation on the restaurant’s website.

However you choose to celebrate, we wish you a very happy and safe Thanksgiving!

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Virtual Restaurant? What’s That?!

Story appeared on 6News Richmond.

RICHMOND, Va. — To say Daquan and Nicole Woodberry have a lot of irons in the fire would be an understatement. The chef and entrepreneur power couple hopes to transform the way Richmond orders food with both the LoCo food delivery app and virtual restaurants.

“A virtual restaurant is essentially a restaurant within a restaurant. It thrives and operates solely off of delivery platforms,” Dequan, who goes by Chef DQ, explained. “So if you go on any of the delivery apps such as [his app] LoCo, Uber Eats, GrubHub and DoorDash. And you’re like, hey, I want fried chicken sandwiches, and you’re scrolling down and you’ll see [his new brand] Absurd Bird pop up. Well, you’ll be able to order. And that food will be made at [his restaurant] RVA Cafe and it’ll be delivered to you and you may or may not know is coming from RVA Cafe. So the big thing here is a lot of bigger chains and a lot of bigger corporations are getting into this. Maybe people have heard of Hootie’s Burger Bar, that’s a virtual restaurant from Hooters. But you walk into Hooters and they’re going to look at you like you’re crazy If you come ask them for a Hootie’s burger. They’re like, we don’t know what that is, the servers are sometimes unaware. So this is how the world is changing. And it was happening way before COVID. But you know, being honest, COVID accelerated that process pretty much five times over.”

Interview with Daquan and Nicole Woodberry on “Eat It, Virginia! with Scott and Robey”

Daquan, who served in the Marines, said he learned his work ethic from his father Maurice and was inspired to follow his dreams by his wife Nicole.

“When I say she saved my entire life she did. I was in a really dark space. I had just come out of the Marine Corps. I was actually injured. So I’m more than thankful, that God spared life on that end and I’m still able to function because I have friends that can’t,” Daquan said. “She really refreshed my life. She really came and poured life back into me and kind of encouraged me to go and find what I love to do. So that’s actually what led me to be a chef. She said do what you love. And, you know, she supported me the whole entire way.”

Several years and businesses later, Daquan admits it’s more than support.

“Now she’s the real boss of the whole business,” he said. “I just sit here and look pretty. She does everything else.”

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Wine Not? New wine bar opens in Monroe Ward

Post originally appeared on RichmondBizSense.com.

In Monroe Ward, a new wine bar has picked up where a longtime diner left off.

Henley on Grace opened last week at 314 E. Grace St. It replaces The Red Door, which had occupied the space for over four decades.

Some of Henley on Grace’s staff. (Mike Platania photos)

The wine bar is the latest restaurant from William Wright, who formerly owned another neighborhood staple, Bistro 27, prior to its closing last year.

Wright leased the 1,500-square-foot Henley space  earlier this year from Red Door’s owners, who continue to own the building.

After a round of renovations, the space is now equipped with a full bar, cocktail menu and over 100 types of wine. The restaurant is open for lunch, dinner and brunch on weekends.

Henley’s dinner menu includes dishes like Ahi tuna with mushroom and Thai noodles, seared duck breast, and handmade pasta with seafood. Its lunch menu is heavy on salads and sandwiches like its Asian shrimp po’ boy and forager’s salad. Entrees range from about $20 to $31, and lunch options are from $10 to $15.

The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday. Wright said he’s got a staff of about 12, some of whom used to work for him at Bistro 27.

Check out their offerings at https://henleyongrace.com.

Over on West Broad Street, Raysean Edwards is preparing to open a small plate-focused restaurant in Bistro 27’s old space.