Food News: Growlers To Go, new Shockoe and Short Pump spots, and dining in Petersburg

This week: New restaurants are coming to Shockoe and Short Pump, and a new growler fill place is opening on the Boulevard (and there’s a place to get them locally now). Plus, full details on where to get your eat on at festivals around town this weekend and a preview of Commercial Taphouse’s new Asian fusion menu. All this and more!

Developer Charlie Diradour continues his march down the Boulevard with a new project next to his existing restaurant space, En Su Boca. A new Starbucks and a growler-fill concept called Growlers To Go will be built on a half acre parcel he purchased back in March (formerly a Kangaroo gas station). Growlers To Go will offer 55 beers on draft that can be taken home in growlers, as well as 150 bottled varieties to choose from. Diradour must have hired the team from ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,’ because construction started just last week and both businesses plan to have the doors open before Christmas.

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Speaking of growlers, thanks to entrepreneur Jordan Childs, your locally-brewed beer can now have a locally-made home. Childs’ company, Shine Craft Vessel Co., offers an alternative to those boring brown growlers we’ve become accustomed to with a variety of hand-crafted growlers and other barware in a number of colors. His special finishing process ensures that no reside intermingles with your suds. Plus, almost all of the materials are sourced locally.

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Mekong and Answer Brewpub owner An Bui, who recently purchased Commercial Taphouse in the Fan, is almost ready to reopen the neighborhood spot. He’s hired his niece, Thuy Bui (currently at The Roosevelt), as executive chef. The Taphouse’s new menu includes old favorites alongside new Asian fusion entrées. A few standouts include a ramen burger, a pork belly sub, and a baked crab toast. Check out the full menu here on

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You still have a few days to enjoy the deep-fried, artery-clogging goodness of the State Fair (defibrillator sold separately), but there’s also a lot of other food-centric events around town this weekend to sink your teeth into. Hogtober takes place this Saturday at Libby Hill Park, featuring barbecue (from Alamo BBQ, Buz & Ned’s, and The Halligan Bar & Grill) and beer o’plenty. Down the hill near Monroe Park and Jackson Ward, respectively, the International Food Festival takes place at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, and don’t miss out on the delicious soul food of the 2nd Street Festival, either. More details and times here.

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The Denver Post’s food and food and spirits writer, Joshua M. Bernstein, named Strangeways Brewing’s brews some of his favorites in a recent feature highlighting his favorites from the Great American Beer Festival, going on now in the Mile High City. Strangeways is a first year participant in the sold-out annual festival.

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RVANews’ Nathan Cushing has a great writeup on Triple Crossing Brewery, an operation that started with humble beginnings. “When I first started home brewing, I had no idea what I was doing,” owner Adam Worcester told Cushing this week. He documents Worcester’s storied road from home brewer to successful brewery owner over on the homepage.

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“Growing up here in the ’80s, there was no reason to stay. Now with everything that’s happening, there’s no reason to leave.” That’s what one bartender says about the upcoming dining scene south of Richmond in Old Towne Petersburg. The restaurants are as diverse and wide-ranging as the city itself–from fine dining to a walk-up barbecue joint. Style Weekly put together a nice roundup of all the city has to offer.

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It looks as though the former Arcadia space will finally get a new tenant. Sweet Tea’s Southern Cuisine owners Tatia and Lewis Asare signed a five year lease to move their restaurant to 17th and Main, citing outgrowing their current space a block away at 18th and Main. The pair will then subsequently open Joanna’s (named for Lewis’ mother) in the current Sweet Teas space. Joanna’s will offer an African and Caribbean inspired menu. These aren’t the only recent dealings the couple has had in Shockoe, either. The pair recently opened a smoothie shop, Crush, in the former Café Verde location, and are planning a second Sweet Teas location on Granby Street in Norfolk.

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Down the street, it looks like Wonderland is filled with a little less wonder. And by wonder, I mean booze. The neighborhood bar and music venue hasn’t been able to secure renewal on its ABC license (for reasons unknown). “I’ve been fighting it for about a year now,” owner Chad Painter explained on Wonderland’s Facebook page. Obviously, this is pretty bleak news in terms of the future of any restaurant or bar. We’ll keep you posted as Porter fights the good fight.

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The Boathouse announced plans late last week to drop anchor in the West End. The local restaurant, known for its waterfront dining on the Swift Creek Reservoir in Midlothian and on the James River at Rocketts Landing, will be dry-docking this time–at Short Pump Town Center. Owner Kevin Healy said his customers have been asking him to open a West End location for years. The third Boathouse location will offer the same coastal-inspired cuisine and be built out in a 5,800-square foot-space beneath the Hyatt House Hotel. Healy expects to open sometime next spring.

Photo: Sweet Teas Southern Cuisine

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Trevor Dickerson

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

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