Food News: VCU’s dining scene, mutton fever, and the chance to help local foodmakers

Sure hope you’re eating lunch while you read this, because this week’s food news mentions ramen, pops, mutton, and so much pizza. Free idea, RVA: mutton pops!

Photo courtesy of Pizza Tonight.


Two RVA food businesses have put out a call to the crowds in an effort to raise capital. Paul Cassimus, aka King of Pops (aka PAUL WALL, PEOPLE’S CHAMP, to only me), plans to Kickstart a mural on the exterior wall of the Pop Factory, which is tucked away in a now-unassuming building in Scott’s Addition. Cassimus, along with Hamilton Glass and Matt Lively, wants to make the building way more assuming, with panels of mural-y goodness for all to behold. Kickstarter rewards include pops, custom pops, and pop parties!

Shoryuken Ramen may have found a permanent home, but what is a home without utensils and bowls and rice cookers? I’m not sure, and I don’t want to even imagine it. The ramen ninjas are calling on their loyalest fans to find the funds for their new stuff. For too long these soup slingers have been using the already well-beloved soup pots and quarter pans at Lunch and wherever else they may have popped up. Now is their time–their time to get nice new things with which to make nice rameny things for US. This is kind of like the old husband-getting-his-wife-lingerie scenario: Sure, it’s technically a gift, but really, a gift for whom?


Three of Richmond’s top chefs and one very dedicated heritage livestock farmer are leading a charge to reintroduce the Hog Island sheep to our state AND our plate. Josiah Lockhart of Lockhart Family Farm will reintroduce the critically endangered breed, raising the sheep in King William County, at Seven Springs, a historical property that will soon open to the public as an agritourism destination.

Travis Milton, Jason Alley, and Dylan Fultineer have teamed up with Josiah to give their diners a preview of Hog Island lamb during Easter weekend. As the stock grows and meat becomes available, Ellwood Thompson’s has agreed to carry it for public sale.

We’ve got Josiah on deck for next week as well, telling us more about the State of Meat today, which is sobering, but also what YOU can do to help, which is uplifting!


If you’ve ever considered going back to college, let me make your decision a little easier: By the end of this year, VCU students will be within walking distance of a Lebanese restaurant and hookah bar called Shwarma Shack, plus the new permanent Shoryuken Ramen location, and Peter Chang Wok, an even-more-affordable fast-casual concept from the man himself. Also, there are three late night cookie bakers on campus that offer delivery. Go ahead, get that Masters, boo.


This is, easily, the most fascinating thing I’ve read all week.

How does Food Addiction compare to Drug Addiction, psychologically? WHY, WHO’S ASKING!?

It’s Farmworker Awareness Week. Here’s the deal: Produce you find in the grocery store has a whole life before it finds its way into our shopping carts. It’s important to be aware of the conditions in which our fruits and vegetables are being grown as well as the treatment of the farmworkers who harvest them. Food Chains, a documentary that looks at these issues, is available to stream or download this week for a mere $.99.

SIP OF THE WEEK: Blanchard’s Ten Year Anniversary Release

Blanchard’s is welcoming its next decade of existence with a sharp new website and fresh, clean packaging. Get your paws on a bag of their 10 Year Anniversary Release, either the Helsar Carlos or the Los Angeles de Nota, two honey-processed coffees both from a direct-partnership farms in Costa Rica, according to Blanchard’s aforementioned sharp new website.

BITE OF THE WEEK: PIZZA (Specifically, Pizza 2000’s Di Fara)

This week was the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. It’s a five-day gluten circus/tradeshow for pizza industry insiders IN VEGAS; and I was tortured every day by not being there. Pizza Tonight was in attendance and sent back such inspiring images as this pizza corvette.

This also happens to be the last week you may be able to enjoy Pizza 2000’s Di Fara, inspired by the famed Di Fara pizzeria in Brooklyn. Prunotto tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil, basil, and aged parmesan do their simple, awesome thing atop Pizza 2000’s wood-fired crust. After Sunday’s Sub Rosa pop-up, Pizza 2000’s calendar has no scheduled suppers to speak of. I would advise you to stock up, but there’s a two pizza limit per person. DEAL WITH IT.

‘GRAM OF THE WEEK: @chefjacqueslamerde

Small plates, tweezered everything. It’s SO SOIGNÉ. I don’t know where he comes from or why he exists, but some Instagram genius taps into contemporary plating trends, using ingredients like Doritos, Bagel Bites, Zoodles, and “SOME OF THAT PWDRD CHEESE FROM MAC AND CHEESE;” and each of his 19 plates is some kind of masterpiece.

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Stephanie Ganz

Stephanie Ganz thought there would be pizza.

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