The local restaurant made news on Sunday for winning a much coveted award. Was it a fluke? Or is the venue ready to be Richmond’s next culinary player?
It is said that the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. If that is true, F.W. Sullivan’s now has every Richmonder’s number in their little black book, both male and female alike.
Taking part in this past Sunday’s Broad Appétit, a showcase of local food, the restaurant’s shrimp and grits won the event’s People’s Choice Award for best plate. “It’s an incredible festival for the city of Richmond,” says Hayden Fisher, one of the four co-owners of the Fan District restaurant which has been open for one-and-a-half years. “It was a great opportunity to get one of our dishes out for people to sample.”
53 local restaurants participated in the fourth annual Broad Appétit. It’s estimated that 35,000 people, including kitchen and support staff, crowded the three block stretch of the festival on Broad Street, between Monroe and Adams last Sunday afternoon to indulge their taste buds.
The winning dish, awarded through a balloting process, was devised by F.W. Sullivan’s executive chief and co-owner, Sean Murphy. The restaurant prepared over 1,500 hand-peeled shrimp, along with the accompanying grits, in the two days prior to Broad Appétit. “We sold out everything we brought,” says Fisher of their success.
It was F.W. Sullivan’s first year attending the annual event. Last year’s People’s Choice Winner, Acacia, was already a crowd favorite as well were Julep’s and Mezzanine. “We wanted to participate,” says Fisher, to supplement Sullivan’s existing reputation.
Located at 2401 W. Main Street, F.W. Sullivan’s is known for its popular and active bar scene, one that caters to young professionals. “We started with the vision to be a great restaurant with a great nightlife,” says Fisher, who recognizes that public knowledge of Sullivan’s nightlife is certainly “out there.”
A downside to this fame, however, is that it has come at the expense of the restaurant’s distinction, one that Fisher says has been “marginalized.” They hope that the exposure and recognition gained from their participation in Broad Appétit, in addition to other recent local awards, will draw people’s attention to the new hot spot in Richmond’s culinary scene. Accomplishing this, Fisher acknowledges, “takes time.”
That time, however, may be soon here.
Photo by: Jake Crocker