A Richmond guide for Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg et al. have invaded our town! RUN FOR THE HILLS (OR THE BEACH, Richmond is so conveniently located!). Since hospitality is, like, our thing, we want to make sure The Spielz hits up all the best spots in town before he skedaddles back to That Other Coast.

Steven Spielberg et al. have invaded our town! RUN FOR THE HILLS (OR THE BEACH, Richmond is so conveniently located!). Since hospitality is, like, our thing, we want to make sure The Spielz hits up all the best spots in town before he skedaddles back to That Other Coast. Below, dear Spielz, you’ll find our tiptop recommendations for food and adventure during your stay in our fine town. Come back soon, ya hear!

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The very most important part of any stay in any city is food. Actually, maybe the most important part of anything is food. If you’re like most of us, and you can’t stop thinking about where your next meal’s coming from, here’s a handy guide!


Word is that you’re already hitting up Lift fairly often. Sounds good, keep patronizing that establishment, but if you have a little time on your hands, check out Kuba Kuba any day and Can Can on Sundays. At the former, you’ll feast on enormous breakfast burritos and all manner of other Cuban-American concoctions, while the latter encourages you to scarf down baked goods while you wait for fancyish omelettes, quiches, granolas, and the like. Maybe you don’t know about this, but here, we serve mimosas Richmond-style, which means that we don’t eff around with delicate champagne flutes. We fill pint glasses with ice, pour champagne in ‘em, and top them off with OJ. This way, you don’t look too eager when you suck your drink dry at 9 a.m.

For kickass breakfast sandwiches and a full range of hearty veg and non-veg fare, stop by 821 Bakery Cafe. Don’t expect an actual bakery cafe, you won’t get it. Instead, you’ll sit at chipped formica tables and admire plenty of examples of our impressive local ink. The waitstaff is friendly, the portions are huge, and they won’t make a huge deal about how you’re Spielberg. Even if you order a local brew to wash down your pancakes.


You were up early, making that Hollywood magic, and now your stomach is rumbling. Fear not, famous people and their lackeys, there are lots of options for those that can’t get away and those that can. Secco Wine Bar in Carytown has a lunch menu fit for a Big City (and, of course, a little Adult Grape Juice to take the edge off. “Actors! Am I right, bartender? Hit me up with another finger of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and charge it to the damn film.”)

The plebes among you may have already discovered Nate’s Taco Truck and Alamo, two of our absolute favorites, but you can also get great sandwiches at Olio, Garnett’s, and The Black Sheep. For a delicious sit-down experience where people are unlikely to bother you, park your aching bones at Bellytimber and order their black bean nachos. Or don’t, as the experience will ruin other nachos for you, forever.


OK, here’s where this becomes an intervention. We’ve heard where you’ve been going, and without naming any names, we’re worried you’ll leave our town with a bad taste in your mouth. Allow us to suggest some alternatives that we think will please your palate while getting you the hell out of terrible bars. It seems as if you’ve all grown fond of the Shockoe area, which is great, but try Millie’s for dinner (the richies among you) and Lulu’s (for less of a splurge). Or, head up Church Hill to The Roosevelt for some satisfying local flavor.

Edo’s Squid is a great option, but don’t bother attending on a weekend. Even DDL will not budge the famously long line, and while he waits, fans will crowd creepily close on that rickety stairwell. But the food is the best in town, and it would be the perfect place for a huge pasta party. If you’re not tired of Southern food yet, it’s time you tried out Comfort (although if you just want to crash in your hotel with some takeout, indulge in Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken or 8 ½).

Late night, options are unfortunately slim. We know, we know. We all complain about it. The good news: we have really great doughnuts at a really weird 24-hour place called Country Style Doughnuts, located just east of the city. The bad news: you have to get up super, super early tomorrow. Sorry about that, but that’s the price you pay for a life of glamour.

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While it may be tough sometimes to separate the food from the fun, we’ll make a daring attempt to do so! Wish us luck.


We’re sure you’ve noticed, on one of your scouting tours around the city, that we’ve got a number of great museums and art galleries. Start with the current belle of the ball: the Virginia Museum Of Fine Arts. The VMFA recently received a makeover of epic proportions and now is the gem of the museum row on Boulevard. While you may have missed the Picasso exhibit (womp), you are just in time for a number of great exhibits. Mocha Dick, a giant whale made of felt, may be the current (non-Lincoln) talk of the town, but there’s also a great special exhibit–Xu Bing: Tobacco Project–in addition to a blockbuster mummy exhibit (opening Nov. 19th).


You successfully convinced 99% of the non-mustachioed men of Richmond (which is maybe 30% of the currently male-population) to grow some facial hair in earnest attempts to get in front of your lens. One famous mustache who spent a hot minute in Richmond, and we won’t let you forget it, was Edgar Allan Poe. Shockoe Bottom houses the Poe Museum in the oldest original building in Richmond. The museum is still a great way to spend a few hours with your gothic side, and it’s walking distance down from DDL’s Church Hill haunts.


If you’re feeling a bit underdressed (not sure how that’d be possible in the typically casual RVA) we’ve got loads of options destined to help you put your best-looking foot forward. After brunching one day at Can Can in Carytown, feel free to get your window shop on. Need Supply may stray a tad younger, but they carry loads of classic looks and brands currently enjoying a revival in popularity like: Gant, Gitman Brothers, and Clarks. They also have great bags, accessories, and clothes for women. Further down the street you can get a bit more vintage by exploring Bygones and Luxor, in addition to popping into Chop Suey for books, Mongrel for gifts, and World Of Mirth for the coolest toys you can imagine.

Bike stores

Bike stores, bike stores, bike stores comin’ at you! Of course a city with a newly appointed Bike Coordinator, and the host to the 2015 World Cycling Championships, would have a few bike shops, but we’ve got more than enough to keep Richmond riding where ever they need to go. In the Broad Stret area there’s Pibbys; Balance Bicycle; and Bikes, Books & Beyond Thrift. By VCU there’s Bunnyhop & Sambok and in Carytown there’s ReCycles and Carytown Bicycle Company. For the pricier cycle there’s also custom bikes manufactured by Stijl cycles in Manchester.


Our budgets would typically only pay for a minute on one of your films, but that’s not to say that Richmond doesn’t have an active and energetic film community. In addition to the gaffers, riggers, artisans, and PAs who are currently spending their time on Lincoln, we’ve got writers, directors, actors, producers, and other people-of-a-thousand-hats always hustling to get their next film project completed. Our community has won awards, and produced a number of currently in the biz professionals, but most continue to make the best films they can, out of love. A collection of James Rivers finest will screen, alongside shorts from across the country, next weekend, November 10th-12th at VisArts Center as part of the James River Shorts Film Festival.

Photo by: blink+

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

  1. anonymous on said:

    If you are not totally burned out on considering locations and you are looking for something conducive for meditation you might consider a walk along the Kanawha Canal (before New Market Corp. and Dominion Power bury it) east of Downtown or in Hollywood Cemetery.

    After all, you will need more exercise to allow eating at that impressive list of Richmond restaurants. And by the way, given all the money your production is receiving from our local and state government, we do fully expect you to support those resturants and tip the staff well. Otherwise, its Occupy Lincoln!

    Seriously though, hope you enjoy your time here.

  2. schlep on said:

    Whenever Tom Hanks is in RVA he likes to stop by Rosie Connolly’s for a couple of pints and to hear the Irish music session, 2nd and 4th Wednesday nights starting at around 8 pm. It’s practically a tinseltown tradition…

  3. James tepe on said:

    Scott burger you cant hide behind that anonymous tag! Too funny.

  4. An assistant to Mrs.Spielberg (Kate Capshaw) placed a late lunch order to Ettamae’s yesterday while the Spielberg’s waited on the tarmac at Richmond International in their private jet. Apparently Ms. Capshaw had a hankering for some chess pie.

  5. James tepe on said:

    As much as i like the 820 b- cafe i would be embarresed if the crew from lincoln went there. The block is a dirty litter filled mess. Clean it up. I think richmond has a litter problem that has not been exposed much., but needs to be. Mcdonalds bags and cigarette cellophane and butts… Lets not forget that steve and crew are well within the “1%” !!!

  6. Jeff E. on said:

    Amen James, I completely agree about the litter issue. Been tossing around the idea of starting a non-profit that tackles that and general upkeep issues the City doesn’t seem to notice or enforce.

    Regarding the article… if you wanted Steven Spielberg to check out these places I would have avoided calling him “The Spielz” :)

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