Dine in & tune out

Some of the best food in RVA’s restaurant scene is at live music venues.

It always happens. I get to a music show, and I’m starving. Or I planned a meal at a restaurant and rushed over to a venue and missed the opening act. Well, no more. Music and food go hand in hand and I tell you, my friends, this can be done in one stop.

Most of Richmond’s music venues are also damn fine restaurants. Some of the best food I’ve ever eaten in RVA’s restaurant scene has been at music venues. It’s often overlooked by the #rvadine community, and that simply cannot stand.

I decided to take it upon myself to visit each of Richmond’s music venues and try out their cuisine. This was a very hard ordeal as I had to degrade myself to taking photos of all my dishes (and if you know me, this is something I absolutely hate). And since I don’t have the fine palette that food writers have, I also had to judge meals more closely when all I wanted to do was eat them.

While you’re taking in live music, check out the delicious meals you can get at these fine establishments.

— ∮∮∮ —

Ashland Coffee & Tea

Ashland Coffee & Tea offers all kinds of sandwiches, salads, and snacks from the café to enjoy during a show. And they’ve got a sweet brunch menu to enjoy when they host the occasional daytime event.



I couldn’t get enough of the grilled chicken sandwich with bacon, brie, and garlic-avocado mayo. And god, I could eat 10 of those bacon wrapped shrimp.

The Broadberry


Waffle fries. Candied bacon. Teriyaki chicken skewers. Havarti croquets. I’ve eaten here a number of times and always have a difficult time deciding what to get–which usually ends in me getting everything. And it’s always worth it.

The Camel


If you have not had the sausage stars at the Camel, you are missing out on what is heaven on a plate. The Camel also offers great sandwich and wrap options and the amazing Havarti Mac & Cheese. I have also been known to eat an entire plate of sweet potato cheese fries.

Canal Club

Most of the food here is simple bar food. Fries, chicken tenders, burgers, etc. which are perfect meals to enjoy with hard rock bands.

Capital Ale House

The Bavarian pretzel is the only thing you need to get here. Or maybe the fries with the special Belgian-style flavored mayonnaises. And beer. They have lots of beer.

Cary Street Café

Featuring everything you’d want to eat during a late night jam sesh. Baked spaghetti, hummus wraps, and that Geronimo Burger covered with a million jalapenos that will set your mouth on fire.



Emilio’s in the Fan has some damn fine tacos. Every Tuesday is $2 Taco Night! Beef, chicken, fish, and shrimp…all amazeballs. Last time I was there, I ate 13 tacos (according to my fellow taco compatriots).


Gallery5 does not offer any food. I snuck in some of Saison’s smoked cheddar pimento cheese biscuits because I’m a rebel.

Hippodrome Theater

If you’re enjoying your evening at Jackson Ward’s historic Hippodrome theater, head right next door to the adjacent Speakeasy Grill–an 18th century mansion that’s been restored and converted into a restaurant and speakeasy. The Speakeasy offers homemade soul food including craft burgers (try the Patty Wagon!), Gumbo Fries, and various seafood options. They also do a mean Yardbird & Waffle.

The National

Yes, you can get food at the National! It’s a limited menu of snack foods, but good for a quick bite during a show. However, CODA Urban Bistro is located right next door to The National and is the perfect place to grab a meal before the shows start.1 CODA offers a variety of burgers, chicken, and pork dishes, and plenty of vegetarian and gluten free options.

Strange Matter

It’s going to be a dirty, noisy dinner experience here. Deal with it. The food at Strange Matter is cheap and fun–just the way a punk rock venue should be. Hands down one of the best sandwiches I’ve had. Strange Matter is vegan friendly, yet carnivore approved. I got the Buffalo Sub, which I realized was vegan after the fact. What are vegan Buffalo wings, anyway? They’re delicious is what they are.

The Tin Pan


Get the Risotto bites to start your meal. You won’t be sorry. The varieties of burgers are great too. I got the Tin Pan Burger with pepper jack cheese, but I really wished I had ordered the Elvis Burger (banana, double bacon, peanut drizzle) or the Ella Fitzgerald Burger (grilled cheese buns, bacon, chili, fried pickles). Next time.

Tobacco Company

Fine dining is nice, but fine dining and live music is even better. Tobacco Company hosts shows every Thursday through Sunday. Have a nice meal upstairs, then come down to the first floor and enjoy the music. The Coconut Shrimp is really good, and the New York Strip is incredible.


I’ll admit, I haven’t eaten here. I was too impressed by the hardcore/psychobilly feel of the place. Some punk girl threw a chicken wing at me when I was there. Does that count?

  1. If you eat at CODA before a show, you can get into The National early 
  • error

    Report an error

Andrew Cothern

Andrew Cothern is the founder and editor of RVA Playlist, a music site that showcases events, concerts, album, show reviews, and opinion pieces that focus on the vibrant local music scene in Richmond.

There are no reader comments. Add yours.