TasteBudz Plus –October 4, 2018

Well, we’ve almost made it though another week. It’s time to start making our weekend dining and entertainment plans. So, before we get to the restaurant news, let’s talk about the weekend. Here are our picks for a little music with your meal.

Kari Smith is doing her weekly thing tonight (Thursday 10/4) at the Wine Loft in West Broad Village. If you haven’t heard her, you’re missing out on a real talent. It’s a rather informal gathering. Listen to Kari and enjoy a sip of wine and some excellent appetizers.

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The 30th Anniversary of the 2nd Street Festival, presented by Altria and Dominion Energy, will take place Saturday-Sunday, October 6-7, to celebrate the rich culture of the Historic Jackson Ward neighborhood. This free event is produced by Venture Richmond Events, LLC.This year the festival features co-headliners Stokley, former lead singer of Mint Condition, and The Art of Noise, and spotlights the talents of Richmond’s keyboardist Debo Dabney. Mighty Joshua, Curv Appeal, Comedian Antoine Scott, Rodney The Soul Singer, Guitarist Zack Artis and many other performers will be showcased over the two-day event. The festival offers four stages of musical entertainment, along with food vendors, a marketplace, a Kidz Zone programmed by the Children’s Museum of Richmond and much, much more.

The Powhatan Festival of the Grape is celebrating it’s “Sweet 16th this Saturday. With about 25 wineries offering samplings of their wares, this is one of the state’s best wine festivals. Check their website for more info on their food court, craft vendors and live entertainment. For tickets, just click here.

After the festival, check out the inimitable Steve Bassett at Powhatan’s County Seat Restaurant. Steve will be doing a solo performance from 6 to 8 p.m this Saturday.

In the West End, the Donnybrooks Celtic String Band will be appearing at Rare Olde Times on Saturday from 8 until 11 p.m.

On Sunday, enjoy a jazz brunch with Roger D. Carroll & Friends from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Savory Grain Restaurant at 2043 W. Broad St.

And now, the news and opinions portion of our program.

GARDEN PARTY: I got around to checking out a relatively new Jackson Ward restaurant this week. I don’t know what took me so long, to get to Jackson’s Beer Garden & Smokehouse at 538 N. 2nd Street, but with the festival this weekend, this would be a great time for you to check it out. The building, formerly the home of Croaker Spot, was an ice cream parlor, I am told, back in the Twenties. It’s been beautifully restored and offers several unique and cozy little areas in which to enjoy some amazing smoked wings as well as other casual fare along with a cold one. In addition to two bars inside and a private room for up to 10, there’s a secluded outdoor beer garden and above that, a cigar bar balcony.

In addition to the wings, which I can tell you are fantastic, feast on burgers, nachos, smokehouse fries and smokehouse chili, plus much more. I really like the secluded, private feel of the space. They also offer a great Happy Hour

TWO MUSICIANS AND A DJ WALK INTO A BAR: And they buy it. Actually, the three guys,

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Herbie Abernathy, lead singer for Valient Thorr; Rob Skotus, bassist with Iron Reagan and DJ/restaurateur Josh Novicki, didn’t just walk in. They searched for over a year, says Kirby, to find the right spot to do something that they had been talking about doing for some time. When their restaurant/bar, Cobra Cabana opens within the next couple of weeks, it will offer the neighborhood something that has been missing since the closure of Black Sheep as well as Nick’s International Market, which had moved several months ago from 400 W. Broad to 2413 Westwood Avenue. Both of those places, Herbie says, offered great sandwiches. “We first wanted to do a barbecue place, “he says. The end result will be what Kirby describes as a restaurant offering “staples and sandwiches.” He adds, “We wanted to offer something a little bit different, with a cool bar.”Herbie tells me that the whole concept is “pretty crazy with some wild stuff on the menu.” That would include vegan dishes as well. “There will be some very solid vegan options on the menu,” says Lauren Vincelli, the sous chef at the restaurant.

“I’m pretty excited,” Herbie adds. I can see why.

GIVE ‘EM A BIG HAND: I discovered another new bar/restaurant also slated to open its doors in

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mid-October. It’s Kreggers at Hand at 2614 W. Cary St. Lexi Johnson, the marketing manager at Kreggers (both the new one on Cary as well as their original spot on Kings Charter Drive in Hanover) describes the place as being similar to the original, “but with a Bohemian vibe.” The menu, she says, will basically be the same, although the new spot will offer patrons a few more options for beers, most of which will be Virginia craft brews. As for the “at Hand” part of the name…well, you’re just going to have to stop by and take a look at the murals that were already on both the west and the east side of the building when the restaurant’s owners Craig and Vanessa Eberle started renovating the place. Lexi says it’s taken over a year to get the building ready to open. “It had sat empty for 50 years,” she tells me.

A RESTAURANT OF HISTORIC PROPORTIONS: How about a new eatery right in Richmond’s Valentine Museum? It would be even better if it also had some sort of connection with the city’s past. There is such a place. Carriage House Café, in the Valentine Garden opened this week.

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We are so excited to embark on this new journey,” says Alex Franck, co-owner of the Carriage House Café. “After having worked six years for Kendra [Feather], the owner of Garnett’s, Andrew [Bell, the other owner] and I were eager to take what we had learned and apply it to our very own restaurant. Thankfully, she was more than happy make our dream a reality. We look forward to serving the Court End neighborhood and bringing a new vision to this historic space.”

Taking its name from the historic use of the building as a space to house and store horse-drawn carriages, the Carriage House Café will be open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, and will feature breakfast items, signature sandwiches named after famous Richmonders, specials, desserts and more.

So, now you have it. Plenty to do this weekend and plenty of new spots to check out over the next couple of weeks. I hope you’re satisfied.

If you know any cool restaurant news or just want to share a pleasant dining experience, send it us at TasteBudz@RichmondNavigator.com.

Steve Cook
Author: Steve Cook