If you’re looking to explore the various delicacies that have proven to be the pillars of this fine city’s burgeoning dining scene, be sure to make plans for a foodie weekend. I’d recommend you stay at the Delta Downtown (555 E. Canal St.). Just a short walk or drive from an array of dining destinations, the hotel offers a very accommodating shuttle service that will whisk you to many of the nearby restaurants.
After you check in and explore the opulence that is your room with its exquisite views of the James River, your tummy will tell you it is time for dinner. Mom’s Siam 2, in the heart of Shockoe Bottom (1309 E. Cary St.), is sure to please your taste buds. Whether you’re in the mood for delicious Thai food or mouth-watering sushi, you’ll find something to make this dining hotspot a marvelous culinary destination. I always order the dumplings and the fresh spring rolls with the pad Thai. Once your belly is full, you’ll be at the center of Downtown Richmond’s Friday nightlife, so pick a spot and get your groove on or head back to the Delta for a late-night dip in the pool before bed (the pool is open ‘til 11 p.m.).
Regardless of which option you choose, I am sure you will want a late-night snack. If you’re on the concierge level (ask for details when making reservations), you’ll have 24-hour access to complimentary snacks and beverages. But should you be in the mood for some freshly baked cookies, may I suggest Red Eye Cookie or Insomnia Cookies? With one phone call or click on the internet, you can have freshly baked, warm cookies delivered right to your door. They’ll even bring milk and ice cream if you’re feeling really indulgent.
Contingent upon your post-dinner activities, you may wake up feeling rested and wonderful or slightly groggy with a mild headache. Either way, let’s do breakfast at Perly’s (111 E. Grace St.), featuring classics like the Fillmore Frittata and the Breakfast Bagel Sammy. Perly’s offers Richmond’s traditional Jewish dining experience with a modern twist that receives nothing but rave reviews from national publications and Richmond natives, alike.
After breakfast, it will be time to explore Richmond as a true lover of food and drink. Start with a walk in the park. Saturday mornings find many locals heading to Forest Hill Park (enter at 42nd Street and New Kent Road) and the South of the James Farmer’s Market. Here, you will discover locally sourced produce, the freshest of meats, local honey and lots of artisans from around town offering their crafts, creations and art. You may even find a wine tasting or two. And even though there may be a long wait, it’s worth standing in line to get one (dozen) of Mrs. Yoder’s famous donuts. After a morning at the market, it will be time for more food. Your belly may beckon for something that will put a little meat on your bones and nothing will satiate your appetite more than the traditional Southern cooking that you’ll find at Southern Kitchen (1726 E. Main St.) — from the hand-breaded oysters to owner Ms. Shane’s famous Southern Rolls (three rolls filled with collards, cabbage and chicken with a delectable delight sweet and sour sauce). When you eat here, it’s like you’re eating at grandma’s kitchen table, and you better get your elbows off the table.
How would any true foodie burn off such a sensational lunch? I’d recommend you take the Richmond Brewery Tour. Let their knowledgeable and energetic staff drive you on an exciting tour, as you experience some of the city’s finest craft beers. There’s a tour leaving from the Capital Ale House (623 E. Main St.) at 4:15 p.m. Be sure to book in advance at their website.
You’ve had a full day. Perhaps you’d like to rest up back at the hotel. Enjoy the pool or the fitness center, and then get ready for one of the city’s most unique dinners at The Broken Tulip in Richmond’s shopping district, Carytown. The Broken Tulip (3129 W. Cary St.) gives you the option of dining at either 6 or 8:30 p.m. and offers one of Richmond’s few social eatery experiences by bringing the community-table dining experience to the forefront of our dining options. The table fills up quickly, so reservations are recommended as diners can’t seem to get enough of their seasonal, locally sourced and rotating menu. I recommend the 8:30 p.m. option, so you will have time to roam Carytown and hit up some of the local favorite watering holes along the strip. The Jasper (3113 W. Cary St.) is new and very popular.
After dinner, head back towards downtown. Make time to visit a little place that Richmond foodies hold near and dear to their hearts …and their bellies. Shyndigz (1903 W. Cary St.) is a cake lover’s holiday. With their oversized portions and succulent creations, you will quickly understand why this cake and dessert shop is the place to be. My go-to is the strawberry Nutella with a glass of prosecco. After all your dining and libations, I am sure you will be ready to hit the pillow and dream of what’s for brunch tomorrow morning (or afternoon).
No one does brunch the way Millie’s Diner (2603 E. Main St.) has been doing it since 1989. Be prepared to take a lounge chair, grab a drink and wait because Millie’s is not only famous for its amazing brunch but also for one of the longest Sunday brunch lines in Richmond. Yes, it is that good! Between the Devil’s Mess (open-faced omelet of spicy sausage, onions, green peppers, garlic, tomatoes and mild curry, finished with melted white cheddar and avocado) and the Huevos Rancheros (two fried eggs over tortillas with black beans, spicy tomato Ranchero sauce, melted white cheddar, salsa and sour cream), there is no wrong choice on the menu. My go-to dish is the spicy black bean and cheddar burrito served with salsa and sour cream. Each dish pairs well with your choice of beverages — from coffee and mimosas to Bloodies and their famous Evil Keevil (a combination of orange, pineapple and cranberry juices, mixed with Malibu Coconut and Cruzan White rums and lime).
If you still have the time and appetite, fill the rest of your staycation Sunday afternoon with a food tour from River City Food Tours. Currently, they’re offering a culinary tour of Carytown, which starts at 2 p.m. Sunday. Visit their website, for information and to purchase tickets.
However you choose to spend your staycation fit for a foodie, I can guarantee that in this town you will find no lack of resources to help you gloriously eat your way through the River City.
See more in our staycation series:
Staycation for Art Lovers
Staycation for History Lovers
Staycation with the Kids