Okay, let’s get down to brass tacks. What’s new in the wonderful world of food, especially around Richmond.
A LITTLE MORE PATIENCE, PLEASE: I’m getting anxious to check out Hot Diggity Donuts. That’s the new donut lounge by day, dessert and cocktail lounge by night that’s this close to opening in Manchester at 2313 Hull Street. Just this week, the powers that be hinted that the place should be opening in about 30 days.
THE WAIT IS OVER: I’d been anxious to see the new Pies and Pints, at 2035 W. Broad, open its doors. Well, they’re open. This pizza and craft beer joint opened just this past Monday. They’re open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily (‘til midnight Friday and Saturday and ‘til 10 Sunday night).
DON’T YOU LOVE A GREAT HOLE IN THE WALL: I was down New Kent way recently and discovered (for myself) a cool, little donut shop. It’s Hole Family Donuts & More. Dominick Beasley, his daughter Madison and his son Dominick, Jr. have been in business at 3300E New Kent Highway in Quinton for about two-and-a-half years. I was first impressed by the friendliness of the folks who run it. But the tastes coming out of their little kitchen are equally impressive. I had the Boston Cream donut. It was superb. Dominick, Sr. tells me that the men go for the Boston Cream (which proves that I am a real man) but the ladies opt for the Strawberry Shortcake. There are so many more flavors from which to choose. I’ve tried three or four flavors and loved them all.
Dominick tells me that he’s recently started offering New Kent-style barbecue on the weekends “We’ve sold out everyday,” he says. The barbecue is smoked in-house. Dominick says that he’ll soon be offering the barbecue regularly in the shop, which currently is open from Wednesdays through Sundays from 6:30 a. m. until 6 p.m.
MOM’S THE WORD: As you may know, one of the River City’s most popular restaurants,
Julep’s New Southern Cuisine (420 E. Grace St.) is usually closed on Sundays. But Amy Ayers, the restaurant’s owner, says, “We have had a lot of requests for Mother’s Day. To respond to this, we are happy to open our doors and provide a place for others to celebrate on this special day.” Amy adds that the restaurant will be offering its full dinner and cocktail menu from 5 to 9 p.m. Reservations are encouraged. Phone 804-377-3968 or online.
KEEPING IT FRESH: I had a nice chat with Filippo Giambanco, who operates Giambancos Italian Grill in Mechanicsville (7500 Jackson Arch Dr.) Filippo says they’re constantly working to keep things fresh in the restaurant. Giambancos has just introduced some cool new drinks, including their take on the Moscow Mule, which they’re offering in three flavors. “We have an extensive bar menu,” Filippo says, “with 10 craft beers and some great wines.” The restaurant is also planning a buffet brunch for Mother’s Day.
DILL M FOR MARY: This may be my most clever caption ever. You see, I’m going to tell you about the Pickel Barrel Restaurant (12912 Plaza Dr.), located right at the Goochland County line. Even though they spell it “pickel,” it still is hilarious. Anyway, the “M” in the caption is for the coldest Bloody Mary in town. You might not even know that they have a bar, there. They do. Great Happy Hour prices, too. They serve their Bloody Mary in a frozen mug and they even include a dill pickle with it. Oh, and one more thing about this drink, the Pickel Barrel offers it for just $3 from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily.
MYTH BUSTER: In the soon-to-be-released May/June issue of West End’s Best, we’ll tell you more about Chez Max, the popular West End (10622 Patterson Ave.) restaurant, specializing in classical French cuisine. But I wanted to use this space to dispel a rumor that the restaurant had closed its doors. Chez Max is alive and well, and now under the ownership of Brian Moore, who took over control of the operation in mid-March. Read more Chez Max in the new West End’s Best.
THE NEW NORFOLK: Our Richmond Navigator magazines also feature a piece on the really hip, vibrant “new” Norfolk downtown and surrounds in our May/June issues. I visited Norfolk on a press trip several weeks ago and loved it so much, I went back for a weekend getaway just a couple of weeks ago. On my return visit, I discovered a couple of restaurants that I had not visited previously. They were so good, I just have to share my finds, both of which are located in Ghent, which is kind of like a cross between Carytown and the Fan.
YNOT Italian at 1517 Colley Ave. is an excellent spot for homemade, traditional Italian dining. Their pizzas are amazing. They also have a really cool patio space right on the street and people watching in Ghent is just as much fun as in Carytown. I also had brunch at Little Dog Diner (1917 Colley Ave.). This might be the most popular breakfast spot in town. We had to wait almost an hour for a table. But the food makes the wait worthwhile. I tried the country ham biscuit and I sampled the French Toast, as well as one of my favorite dishes, the salmon cakes and eggs. Everything was wonderful.
FRUGAL FOODIE: Let me tell you about one of my favorite neighborhood hangouts – Big Al’s Sports Bar, located at 3601 Cox Road. , Big Al has some great nightly specials. For instance, Monday night is Burger Night. Grab a burger with chips for just $4. On Thursday nights, the wings are just 60 cents each and on Wednesday nights you can rip Al off for a steak and baked potato for just $8.99. That’s an 8-ounce sirloin filet.
MIDTOWN MARKET: Midtown keeps moving. Now, it’s out on Staples Mill Road. Anyway, this Sunday they’ll be holding a Midtown Market at Libbie Mill – Midtown. Vendor’s at this month’s farmers market include: Burnette’s Baked Goods- Great Harvest Bread Company- Urban Choice Mushrooms- Josh’s Jungle- Chestnut Ridge Farms- Village Garden RVA- The Ethical Olive
It runs from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. this Sunday. Hope to see you there.
MUSIC OF THE NIGHT: Here are our picks for a little weekend dining and listening enjoyment.
May 11 – 5 p.m. The Taters will be playing down in Deltaville at the Shrimp & BBQ Gala and Dance at the Deltaville Maritime Museum. For more info, phone 804-776-7200.
By the way the Deltaville Seafood Festival is held in town on Saturday featuring Local seafood, live music, boat show, crab races, arts and crafts, food vendors, children’s activities and more! See the website for details.
May 11 – 8 p.m. Cindy Jennings and Thensome will be entertaining at Rare Olde Times.
May 12 – 8 p.m. The Tin Pan‘s doors open at 6 and the Adam Ezra Group take the stage at 8. The group co-write, “Let Your Hair Down” and just received “Song of the Year” at the New England Music Awards. In addition, Adam Ezra’s debut efforts in movie scoring have lead to an appearance at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival and the release of Adam Ezra Group’s new album, aptly titled, “Songs for a Movie.”
That’s going to do it for this week. Don’t forget to share your restaurant news with us. Our email is Tastebudz@RichmondNavigator.com.