Richmond Food News: Week of Sept. 28-Oct. 2, 2020

Spice up Your Life

As we enter October and bid farewell to late-summer tomatoes, it’s time for the tantalizing flavors of fall to have their moment. Writer Stephanie Ganz takes us on a seasonal food tour through RVADine, tracking down everything from an over-the-top pumpkin pie milkshake to local sausage with butternut squash and sage and even a pumpkin brew or two. (Richmond magazine)

Ready to Strike

Richmond is about to get a megadose of salt, fat and acid, courtesy of Cobra Burger. The 3-year-old pop-up has found a weekend home at Hatch Cafe, the eatery that opened last month inside the ever-growing commissary kitchen, slinging patties on Friday and Saturday. Also in the works, if the owners have their way: multiple Cobra Burger locations and Cobra cola on tap — think In-N-Out Burger on a micro scale.

The Dollars of Dining

2020 will undoubtedly be the year that changed the food and beverage industry we once knew. In the past six months, COVID-19 has had a decimating impact on the restaurant world, closing the doors of well-established businesses, dashing the dreams of their owners and exposing long-rooted systemic issues. We saw this as an opportunity to look at the foundations of the Richmond restaurant industry, peeling back layers to explore the less Instagram-worthy moments and reveal the operations side of our local eateries. From an inside look at Brenner Pass to tipping and taxes and the reasoning behind pricing, we hope you gain a better understanding of what it takes to make the meals you love and a deeper appreciation for the people and places that have become pillars of our city. (Richmond magazine)

Fungus Among Us

From bright and bulbous to camouflaged and fuzzy, mushrooms are about as diverse as the colony of mushroom enthusiasts who supply our local chefs and markets. We spoke with the cultivators and foragers behind HaaShrooms, Rudy’s Exotic Mushrooms & Produce — aka “the man in the van” — and North Coast Robot Farm about their relationships with this unique crop. (Richmond magazine)

RVADine Debuts

If you’ve been eyeing the forthcoming venture at the corner of 24th Street and Jefferson Avenue in the Union Hill/Church Hill area for signs of life every time you drive by like I have, wonder no more. On Tuesday Oct. 6, North End Juice Co. will open the doors of its fourth location there.

Quirk Hotel has hit the refresh button on its in-house restaurant. Exit Maple & Pine, enter Lobby Bar. The new concept debuts Oct. 1, led by native Virginian chefs Anna Schmitt and Felipe Bolivar, the latter most recently of The Roosevelt. Lobby Bar is currently open for brunch and dinner service. (News release)

Fall Food Traditions, 2020 Style

Tickets for Fire, Flour & Fork are now on sale. While we will wholeheartedly miss the typical multiday pants-stretching gauntlet of in-person food events, this year things are going virtual. Broken into a series of six sessions with the first kicking off Oct. 15, FFF will host a star-studded lineup of speakers from Bakers Against Racism founder and pastry chef Paolo Velez to the star of “A Chef’s Life” on PBS, Vivian Howard. (News release; Richmond magazine Associate Publisher Emeritus Susan Winiecki is a co-founder of Fire, Flour & Fork.)

For the past two years I’ve been a judge at the Visual Arts Chili Throwdown, tasked with blind tasting chili from some of the area’s top restaurants. (Side note: I am a chili purist.) This year on Oct. 2, the seventh annual event will offer a twist on the usual proceedings: For $20, guests can book a 30-minute time slot, select a handmade bowl or mug, and leave with a slew of chili recipes from local chefs to carry on the tradition at home. 

While you may not be able to ride the big swings this year at the State Fair of Virginia, the funnel cakes, corn dogs and usual deep-fried suspects are still on the menu. From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 2-4, guests can sign up for a designated two-hour time slot and cruise through Meadow Event Park for the first-ever drive-in Fair Food Weekend.


Killer views await at Blue Atlas, the two-in-one concept in Fulton Hill featuring a market that is currently open and a globally inspired restaurant set to open later this month. (Richmond magazine)

October = pumpkins, and we’ve got a habanero-tinged, vegan-friendly pumpkin soup recipe to try from Carena Ives, owner of Jamaica House and Carena’s Jamaican Grille. (Richmond magazine)

Need a martini now more than ever? We’ve got recipes from area bartenders, too. (Richmond magazine)

Black-and-white cookies and rugelach await at Claudia’s Bake Shop, a Jewish bakery currently taking online orders until it finds a permanent home. (Richmond magazine)

Now calling Richmond home, food consultant Daniela Holcomb goes on a trip down memory lane, sharing the food traditions of her native Germany. (Richmond magazine)

The Virginia Museum of History & Culture is taking advantage of its closed doors, getting a head start on a whopping $30 million renovation originally set to begin in 2022 that will bring a cafe, event terrace and theater to the space. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Coffee lovers, beer drinkers and those looking to enjoy an outdoor patio, rejoice. Crossroads Coffee & Ice Cream on Forest Hill Avenue has officially reopened its doors after being closed since mid-March.

Upcoming Events 

We strongly encourage everyone to make safe and smart decisions and adhere to municipal and business guidelines related to the pandemic.

  • COTU Oktoberfest Celebration, Center of the Universe Brewing (Oct. 2): The final weekend of German-inspired food and festivities at the Ashland brewery
  • Oktoberfest, Garden Grove Brewing & Urban Winery (Oct. 3): A release of new brews paired with a menu of ’Fest-influenced creations from Fireside Pizza.
  • Barktoberfest, Strangeways Brewing (Oct. 3): Drink, eat and be dog-friendly.
  • Community Press Day, Blue Bee Cider (Oct. 3): Juice foraged apples during this annual event. 
  • Oktoberfest Beers & Brats Pop-Up, Hardywood West Creek (Oct. 3-4): Chef Joe Sparatta dishes out Autumn Olive Farms brats.
  • RVA Black Farmers Market, 17th Street Farmers Market (Oct. 4): First appearance in Shockoe Bottom from the market highlighting Black farmers, artisans and purveyors
  • Farmers Market, Brambly Park (Oct. 4): Sunday edition of the weekly market featuring all things local
  • Food Truck Party: TBT El Gallo, Vasen Brewing (Oct. 4): Will there be birria tacos? Yes. Need I say more? I hope not.
  • Susie & Esther, Helen’s (Oct. 4): The pop-up takes over Helen’s for a night of small plates and drinks.
  • Fall Cocktail Trends, Bar Chef Cocktail Kits (Oct. 7): Learn to whip up some seasonally influenced libations. 
  • Slurp! Ramen Pop-up, The Jasper (Oct. 8): Another dose of noodles and bao from the Friends and Family kitchen series

In Other Food News …

  • For the first time in over six months, diners will eat inside New York City restaurants. The move includes a midnight curfew, no bar seating and limited capacity, measures that seem incredibly foreign for the city that never sleeps. (The New York Times)
  • You won’t find me on TikTok, but you will find me unable to stop watching Dana Caldwell’s TikTok videos. Given a recent shout-out by Snoop Dogg, Caldwell provides commentary alongside cooking videos. If this video doesn’t make you smile, I’m not sure what will. (Forbes)

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