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Robey Martin’s ‘do more, do less’ 2019 Richmond dining suggestions

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RICHMOND, Va. — There will be A LOT of best of, worst of, round-up articles, in the next few days. In the spirit of those and in good spirit, here’s ours:

Instead of “do this” or “do that,” for this season, we are taking moderation into account and suggesting a “do more” and “do less” approach to your 2019 dining.

1) Pay attention to your consumption. Seek out more restaurants who are making attempts to minimize food waste. The dining establishments who are actively trying to cut down on their consumable waste (and presumably other refuse as well) are performing a logical and needed step in dining. Follow Alewife in Church Hill, Ellwood Thompson’s in the Museum District and Longoven in Scott’s Addition.

2) Eat more of the classics. We (me included) laud the new in Richmond; new food techniques, new restaurants, new “do overs.” Hit more staples this year. Find your classic French onion soup. I see you, Can Can Brasserie. Locate the best lunch club sandwich. Westwood Pharmacy is a good place to start. Eat the mashed potatoes. Hey there, Comfort. We have so many restaurants who continue to do dining solidly and stalwart year after year with little accolade. Re-visit The Hill Café in Church Hill (those blue plates!), The Original Bookbinder’s (a coffee-crusted filet mignon), and Bacchus (24 pasta dishes on their menu).

3) Try more “dinner and a show”. Food-ertainment is at an all-time city high. You can shuffleboard, bowl, arcade, and ping-pong with your burger and tots. However the trend to have entertainment during your dinner isn’t a new one. The Richmond Public Library holds free classes once a month on various food “how-tos”. Upcoming classes include making homemade pasta and pickling vegetables. Wine dinners, multi-course chef-driven meals, expositions and demonstrations happen every day all over Richmond. Perch in Scott’s Addition has seats facing their open kitchen in the form of a chef’s table. Secco Wine Bar and Barrel Thief hold wine classes to teach about wine through experience. To find out more about these dinners and classes in real time, follow me @callmerobey and @cbs6 on Instagram.

4) Eat less chain food and more local. With the downsizing of corporate- owned dining (Applebees’), the surge of locally-owned eating options becomes more visible. Hyper-focused Richmond-based food triumvirates are pushing into the outskirts of Richmond and pulling regional food stuffs with them. Local Flour Garden bread is on the menu at The Daily Short Pump. UnMoo Foods vegan cheese will have presence in Hanover at the new Pizza & Beer of Richmond. Seven Hills beef (Lynchburg, Virginia) is front and center at Tazza Kitchen Short Pump and Autumn Olive Farm pork is exclusively used at Southbound in south Richmond.

5) Do more happy hour. In my opinion, Richmond has the best happy hours. The options are vast and allow a diner to try foodstuffs or cocktails one wouldn’t normally for a fraction of the price. Swan Dive has happy hour with drinks using aperitifs like vermouth, aperol, and camparis with club soda or tonic, or as a spritz. Lemaire Restaurant changes their special happy hour cocktails each day of the week ($5) and has a three for $20 appetizer special.

6) Eat more worldly. Richmond has incredible international cuisine from Laotian to Transylvanian. At European Taste on Patterson, the Transylvanian sausage and Hungarian ghoulash are exceptional. Elsa Ethiopian and The Nile have some of the better food in Richmond with incredible slow-cooked lentils and spongy injera bread. Balkan Restaurant is a gem in the West End with its Cevapi, a combination of sausage and ground beef on Lepinja, a Serbian flatbread.

We would LOVE to hear from you about the Richmond food coverage you’d like to read and watch in 2019. Drop Robey a line here.

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