A Win-win

Restaurants in the city from Big Herm’s Kitchen to Lehja and West Coast Provisions have been staying in business while spreading the joy of chef-prepared meals to area nonprofits through an effort dubbed Save RVA Restaurants. The initiative, funded entirely by donations, purchases dishes from area restaurants, which are then donated to nonprofits and people in need in the region. (Richmond magazine)

Koji Nights

Longoven is known for its unique and whimsical creations that transport diners. For our most recent issue of Dine, before shutting the restaurant’s doors due to safety concerns amid the pandemic, Chef and co-owner (and perhaps mad scientist) Andrew Manning invited writer Stephanie Ganz to explore the bubbling fermentation lab inside the Scott’s Addition kitchen, a funkatorium of culinary experimentation. (Richmond magazine)

Shrub School

A mantra of this stay-at-home era: Work with what ya got. Writer and former bartender Paul Blumer explains why now is the perfect time to dabble in shrubs, a cocktail- and mocktail-friendly vinegar-based syrup that can be made using those not-so-ripe berries in your fridge. Libation leaders from Perch, Poor Boys and The Jungle Room share shrub recipes to get the homebound party started. Thai strawberry-watermelon, anyone? (Richmond magazine)

Strawberry Fields Forever

If you’re like the rest of the world, baking has become your new pandemic pastime, and with strawberry season nearly here, it’s a match made in heaven. Daughter of Agriberry Farm owners and founder of River City Bakery Colleen Geyer has a deep-rooted appreciation for the summer berry. In this online extra from our May issue, check out her strawberry-almond tart recipe, where the juicy gems truly shine. (Richmond magazine)

Kimchi With Soul 

Part of what makes cooking so magical is its ability to connect us to our families, an experience or a memory. For Seoul 2 Soul food truck owner Sim Wimbush, whenever she makes kimchi, she is flooded with familial nostalgia. I recently shadowed Wimbush during a multiday kimchi-making journey, discussing growing up with Korean and African American heritage, her mother’s “kimchi squat,” and other tips and tricks. (Richmond magazine)

Liquid Gold

Makers of beer, cider, mead, wine and spirits across the commonwealth have banded together to form a hand-sanitizer collection and distribution squad. The consortium features groups such as the Virginia Distillers Association and the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild, working to ensure the sanitizer reaches regional health and emergency workers. (News release)

In Farmers We Trust

Virginia Farmers Market Week wraps up May 3, and many area growers have found ways to adapt and get their produce in our hands using preordering systems, including South of the James and St. Stephen’s Farmers Markets, along with Lakeside Farmers Market. In related news, the Birdhouse Farmers Market resumes May 5. (News release)

’Tis the Season

A reliable signal of warm weather’s arrival, soft-shell crabs have landed on takeout menus around town. Pro tip: Order ’em while you can, because these beauties don’t last long. Softies are available now at Alewife, Perch, Soul Taco, and Dutch & Co., and soon at Shagbark, and they will continue to pop up in the coming weeks.

Fan of the garlicky, hyperseasonal wild onions known as ramps? They’re making appearances on a blue cheese burger from Fuzzy Cactus, white pies from 8 1/2,  Detroit-style ’za and ramp ranch at People’s Pie pop-ups, crab and cheddar hushpuppies at The Roosevelt, and sausages from local purveyor The Mayor.

‘Subs, Suds and Studs’

Carytown watering hole The Jasper is introducing Jasperino, a delivery-only pop-up bringing sips and sammies straight to customers’ doorsteps. Drop-off for the strictly preorder operation takes place Fridays and Saturdays between 5 and 7 p.m. A quick sellout is likely, so be ready, Ticketmaster style, when the menu goes live.

More Feel-good Food

On-duty first responders can now visit area restaurants including Garnett’s Cafe and Toast for a bite on the house (with some restrictions) through the COVID-19 First Responder Meal Program. Mayor Stoney has allowed $1 million for the project, with local government spending an average of $30,000 each week to purchase meals from independent area restaurants that can be redeemed by first responders.

Short Pump health-focused eatery Organic Krush has donated 1,200 meals to health care workers and local hospitals after launching a donation initiative a few weeks ago. 

Known for sparking serious joy via its rainbow umbrella ice pop carts, King of Pops has delivered over 13,000 frozen treats to health care workers through a recent GoFundMe campaign. The decade-old business also recently rolled out Rainbow Provisions, a virtual bodega stocked with goods including grits and grains, vegan bites, and condiments from Southern independent makers. 

ICYMI

Last week we highlighted creative ways restaurateurs are rolling with the punches and adapting their businesses — Blue-Apron style meals and pork shares are among the fresh concepts. (Richmond magazine)

New Kent Winery is welcoming a sudsy sister, Talleysville Brewing Co., the county’s first brewery set to debut by fall. Last week, the Grateful Dead-inspired outpost Crazy Rooster opened, making it the second brewery in Powhatan. (Richmond BizSense)

Construction of The Veil Brewing Co.’s Forest Hill outpost continues to move forward, eyeing a summertime completion. Its fellow tenants, Charm School, Stella’s Grocery, Blanchard’s Coffee and Boho Studios, have had to hit pause on buildout. (Richmond BizSense)

Ever wonder how delivery services affect local restaurants? Genevelyn Steele guides us through the takeout battle royal and the hidden costs of apps like Grubhub and Door Dash. Since then, a new, Richmond-born takeout app has hit the market, Drive-Thru. (Richmond magazine, Richmond BizSense)

Pour a cup of joe and cozy up with our profile of McLean’s Restaurant, a local, family-owned, tried and true diner dynasty approaching 60 years in business. (Richmond magazine)

Shoppers in Chesterfield will gain another grocer when Publix opens on Charter Colony Parkway June 10. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Back in action:

  • After taking time to reconfigure to-go service, Nota Bene is now offering items including a Meyer lemon bucatini pasta kit for two, make-your-own pizzas, batched cocktails and provisions boxes.
  • Stella’s restaurant and the OG market location have also made a return, adding braised lamb shanks and cocktails to their offerings.
  • If you miss saying “yiddish for delicious,” so has Perly’s — the Jewish deli will begin offering a limited takeout menu May 4.
  • After a recent change in ownership, The Dairy Bar will officially reopen Friday, May 1. 

Virtual Events and Pickup/Delivery Pop-ups

We strongly encourage everyone to stay home when possible and to make safe and smart decisions. The following events occur online or via pickup and delivery

  • Yellow Umbrella Lunch, Yellow Umbrella Provisions (April 30-May 2): The weekly to-go boxed lunch special is fish tacos with fresh curtido.
  • Beer and Wine Classic, Maymont (May 1): Preorder beverages to enjoy for the virtual celebration, complete with a curated playlist.
  • Live Online Class: Spring In Italy, Mise en Place (May 1): Upon signup get a Zoom link, grocery list and instructions, then tune in to get chef-y with Christine Wansleben.
  • Sedona Taphouse Pop-up to Go, Center of the Universe Brewing (May 1): Peep the menu and then grab steak and suds to go. 
  • Fin-N-Out Burger, Alewife (May 1-2): A pop-up inspired by the burgers of the celebrated West Coast chain In-N-Out
  • Beaunuts Pop-up, Haley’s Honey Meadery (May 2): Buttermilk doughnuts available in “baby” and “big” beaux varieties
  • Virtual Shrub Demo, Rappahannock Restaurant (May 2): Bar Manager Katey Damian goes live to share her shrub knowledge.
  • Bakery Pop-up, Sugar & Twine (May 2): Order treat boxes in advance for the Saturday pop-up featuring strawberry biscuits.
  • Taco Trot 5K, Sports Backers Stadium (May 5): Go for a run, then celebrate virtually with takeout tacos or a homemade Mexican feast.  
  • Virtual Cocktail Dinner With Virago Spirits, Perch (May 7): Three courses, two cocktails, one Zoom party and a little swag

In Other Food News …

  • If you missed this video, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. If you’re no newbie to this internet gem, you’ll want to watch again. Stanley Tucci flouts the rules of Negroni making but looks darn good doing it. Check out the only person you would probably allow to serve you the classic cocktail with an orange slice. 
  • On May 1, employees from Whole Foods, Target, Amazon and more businesses are expected to go on strike citing lack of protection and benefits during the coronavirus pandemic. (Eater)

Richmond Food News: Week of April 27-May 1, 2020

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