Food News: Backpacks, Best Dish, and celebrity sightings, oh my!

This week: Richmond vies for the attention of Stone Brewing Co., one restauranteur is mum on an opening date for his delicatessen, while another announces the opening of his brewpub, and celebrity sightings abound at two local establishments. All this and more!

Let’s start this week’s food news out on the charitable side. Backpacks for kids and a gift certificate towards a delicious local meal for you? Sounds like a no-brainer to me. Case For Hope is still collecting new backpacks for the kids in Richmond Foster Care. Bring a new or gently used backpack into Pasture this week and you’ll receive a $5 gift certificate. Looking for some direction? Many of the kids have reportedly asked for Hello Kitty and Cars (the movie) backpacks, and as far as colors go, pink, red, and black seem to be the popular choices.

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Late night partygoers and night owls will have to get their fix of Belmont Pizzeria a little earlier until the restaurant sorts out a zoning issue related to their new dining room. The Devil’s Triangle staple originally remained open until 3:00 AM but will now close at midnight on weekends and 11:00 PM on weeknights. has all the details.

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Richmond-based Mobelux (the guys behind Elixir and Need) are at it again. The company just launched Best Dish, a new online service that allows restaurant patrons champion their favorite dishes, making for easy discovery by locals and out-of-towners alike. Unlike Yelp or Urbanspoon, which rate an establishment’s service or overall food, Best Dish solely focuses on where to find the best pizza, a burger, or any number of other dishes in a given town (test markets available now are Richmond and DC), and lets users vote on their favorites. Take it for a spin!

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Another online restaurant service, reservation platform OpenTable, has compiled a list of the top 10 Richmond restaurants based on users’ reviews. Short Pump Indian restaurant Lehja took the number one spot, followed by Lemaire at The Jefferson Hotel and Bookbinder’s Seafood and Steakhouse.

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Perly’s a Richmond institution that closed in 2013 after more than a half century in business, is reopening soon–very soon, if interior renovations are any indication. But owner Kevin Roberts is mum on an exact opening date for the delicatessen. It’s hard to execute a soft opening in a world where social media posts cause excited diners to flock to a new (or in this case, reborn) restaurants, but Roberts intends to attempt the feat anyway, ironing out the kinks before the masses (and Yelpers) arrive.

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One restauranteur who is publicly announcing an opening date is An Bui. Bui’s Answer Brewpub, opening next door to his popular restaurant Mekong, opens Tuesday, September 2nd at 4:00 PM. The restaurant and brewery opens just a day after he takes over The Fan’s Commercial Taphouse, which he recently purchased. If the popularity of Mekong is any indication, you might want to pitch a tent out front and get in line now before doors open on the 2nd.

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Blue Bee Cider is celebrating the dog days of summer with the most appropriate of neighboring businesses–Camden’s Dogtown Market. This Saturday from noon to 5:00 PM Chef Andy Howell of Camden’s will be serving up seasonal barbecue and tomato pies. Local band Sleepy Brother will play indie-folk tunes from 1:00-4:00 PM. And yes, dogs are welcome! In fact, the Richmond Animal League, Animal Adoption & Rescue Foundation, and Richmond City Animal Care and Control will all have dogs and puppies up for adoption.

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Richmond is currently a finalist for a new East Coast bottling and distribution plant for Stone Brewing Co., one of the nation’s ten largest breweries, and if we make the cut, it looks like Manchester may the future home of the 130,000-square-foot facility. Thalhimer Realty Partners submitted a request for a special use permit for the brewery on a 6.3-acre tract bounded by Porter, Bainbridge, 4th and 7th streets in Manchester. Stone Brewing expects to make a decision regarding where to build its new brewery in 60-90 days.

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Speaking of craft beer, Ardent Craft Ales and Strangeways Brewing both took a spot in a new Garden & Gun Magazine feature called “What’s Brewing in Dixie,” highlighting editors’ favorite new beers in the south.

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KickBack Jack’s, a forthcoming West End restaurant from the parent company of Tripp’s Restaurant, which formerly occupied the space at 9318 West Broad Street, is looking to hire more than 135 new workers when it opens in September. Battleground Restaurants, Inc. is accepting applications for a variety of positions seven days a week from 9:00 AM until 7:00 PM.

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Elsewhere out the West End, things are heating up at Chuy’s in Short Pump, who promises a trip to ‘pepper heaven’ with their annual Green Chile Festival. The event features a menu of eight green chile-inspired dishes during the three-week period, including Green Chile Barbecue Chicken Tacos and Frito Pie Enchiladas. Patrons can pick up a free green chile seed packet to grow their own peppers at home. One guest will even have a shot at free Chuy’s for a year by Instagramming their favorite dish and hashtagging it with #PEPPERHEAVEN.

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And finally, two celebrity sightings in the Richmond dining scene this week. Tom Hanks was spotted at Mama Zu’s and Spike Lee (an ardent Rams fan) was seen dining with VCU Men’s Basketball coach Shaka Smart at Edo’s Squid. Two big names for one week in the RVA.

Photos: Craig Blades and District Baller

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Trevor Dickerson

Trevor Dickerson loves all things Richmond and manages RVANews’ West of the Boulevard and West End community sites.

Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. Philip Perschetz on said:

    Spike and Charles Barkley (spotted at Mama Zu’s Wed night) were in town to speak at CapitalOne about diversity. It’s great to see they stuck around and enjoyed #RVADine

  2. Mair on said:

    Apparently Sir Charles was seen out as well. Mama Zu’s and Buddy’s from what I understand.

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