Raising Richmond: The Good-Enough List

There’s a lot of “Best of Richmond” lists out there, and reading them makes some young, busy parents like Kelly feel a little shut off from the city she loves, so she decided to make her own list.

I sat down to complete one of the several “Best of Richmond” surveys put out by a local publication, but I didn’t have an entry for about 75 percent of the questions, or I entered names and places I hadn’t experienced for years. Sometimes “the best” to me is just the place I go. Isn’t that normal? Do I not know how to enjoy my city? I don’t have a Best Annual Benefit Gala or Best Spa or Best Bartender, but I still take part in something Richmondy every-day. Here is my own “Best of” list. OK, my “Good Enough For Me” list.

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Best Burger

  • Dot’s Back Inn: There are lots of good burgers in town, but this one comes on a whole wheat bun so it’s technically very healthy for you.

Best Breakfast

  • First Place: What’s wrong with you that you can’t make your own breakfast?
  • Second Place: The breakfast biscuit at Lunch/Supper.

Best Place For A Date Night

  • First place: Sneaking Chipotle burritos into a movie theatre.
  • Second Place: Pasture.

Best Place to Take Visitors to Eat

  • Kuba Kuba: Everyone likes it, and if you only take your guests to one spot, Kuba Kuba is a good snapshot of the casual Richmond dining scene.

Best Place to Take Visitors If They’re Paying

  • Oh, someone else is paying? Let’s all go to Peter Chang’s China Café then. It’s technically not Richmond, but hey, who cares? I’m not paying.

Best Pizza

  • Deep Dish pizza at Little Caesars Pizza: According to the box, it’s America’s favorite Detroit-style pizza. Which is a thing.

Best Doughnut

  • Dixie Donuts: I had Country Style Donuts for the first time last year and probably nothing is better than that, but the interior of Dixie Donuts makes me happy, the doughnuts are a little smaller so you don’t feel as bad when you eat twelve, and my daughter loves it.

Best Place To Eat Every Week If I Only Had to Think About What I Wanted to Eat & No Other Determining Factors

Best Restaurant To Tell People Is Your Favorite

Best Restaurant (For Real)

Favorite Local Beer

  • I’m really into this local brew called NOTHING. This whole beer thing exceeds my interest level in alcohol, but I’m very excited for all of you and hope that this massive expansion doesn’t backfire.

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Goods and Services

I don’t go to many places that aren’t the grocery store.

Best Stylist

  • I like Pine Street Barber Shop. It’s affordable, has good service, and although I only get two to three haircuts a year, the stylists always remember me and they are interesting people. Plus if you cut my hair regularly, you’re guaranteed to move in the next few years.

Best Place To Board a Dog

  • Four Paws Pet Resort: Four Paws has had some trouble in the years that I’ve been a dog owner, but if my dog can’t escape, it’s a good bet that your dog can’t escape. She chewed through a metal dog crate at home, but is always there when I pick her up at Four Paws (free motto if you want to use it, FP).

Best Book Store

  • I wrote a profile of Chop Suey for the Richmond Times-Dispatch when I was fresh out of college (2002?). I’m glad the business continues to benefit from the ol’ Kelly Gerow RTD profile bump. Not only is it a great book store; it’s an asset to the community.

Best Grocery Store

  • I hop between two stores–one that I like, and one that sends me good coupons even though being in the store makes me angry and ages me about five years with every visit. I told myself I would never go to the bad grocery store again after a particularly terrible visit, but now I have $7 in coupons that I can use. Sorry, nice store.1

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Arts, Culture, and Entertainment

I often wonder if a bigger city like Detroit–when it’s not busy slinging quality deep dish pizzas–has local celebrities or sites like RVANews and neighborhood blogs. I will never know because I’m going to die in Richmond.

Best Local News Personality

  • Andrew Freiden (@AndrewNBC12): Because at least three times I’ve seen him do a bit where he shares his favorite tweet that he wrote on Twitter. And that always makes me laugh.

Best Use of Social Media in Richmond

Best Sports Team

  • I went to my first VCU men’s basketball game last December and it was a lot of fun. It’s impossible not to absorb the city’s excitement for the team.

Best Musical Act

  • The only local music I’ve seen in the last few years has been Matthew E. White. Let’s go with him.

Best Festival

  • The Earth Day festival, but in the early ’90s. I haven’t been since then.

Best Radio Station

  • First place: I spent 13 months listening to the radio until I got a new stereo installed in my car, and though I still occasionally check to see what’s on, it’s only WRIR (97.3 FM) that doesn’t make me weep with sadness. Just the opposite! I love the local talk shows, and the Breakfast Blend is always a good way to spend a commute.
  • Second place: WNRN (103.1 FM), which broadcasts from Charlottesville, has an unreliable Richmond signal, though plays excellent music that is not Maroon 5 every five minutes.

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Best Place to Buy Children’s Clothes

  • As much of my daughter’s clothes come from Old Navy and hand-me-downs as they do from Lauren of Blue Bones Vintage. My daughter picks her clothes every day and she loves the fun clothes Lauren finds for her. You common folk can shop at the store for cool vintage kids’ finds, including everyday clothes and costumey-attire (I had to gently inform my daughter that I would not buy a Ghostbusters jumpsuit that she picked off the rack the last time we were in the store).

Best (“Free or Basically Free”) Place To Spend Time In Richmond With Your Small Child

  • Almost anywhere. Parks, museums, play areas in stores. I once had to stall for more than two hours with my daughter on a cold evening while her dad assembled a bed for her as a birthday surprise, and she and I spent almost all of that time at Target and Lowes. And it was actually fun. We rarely go anywhere that requires admission.

Best Back Pocket Place

  • I dream about going to the Bass Pro Shop in Ashland like some people dream of traveling to other countries. I can’t really explain what about it appeals to me (Fudge Shop) since I don’t hunt or fish. Also I can’t explain why it’s my dream vacation although it’s twenty minutes away. I’ll make it there one day. You bet I will.

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I’m sure what I think is the best won’t have much overlap to the results of the Style survey in May, but I think we can all agree Richmond is due for a Detroit-style pizza boom.

Photo by: Gamma Man

  1. I don’t want to name either store out of fear that I will be contacted via Twitter and asked to share my experiences. Leave me alone with my feelings! 
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Kelly Gerow

Kelly Gerow lives and writes in Richmond. She probably does other stuff in Richmond, too.

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

  1. Lindsey on said:

    This list is amazing. Bass Pro Shop is everything you dream it is…you can fish IN the store. I’ve never done it, and probably will never do it, but it’s great. There’s like a big glass fish tank thing where you can see them swim around. And so many different stuffed animal things. And the restaurant isn’t half bad either. I’m pretty sure you can also shoot bows and arrows or play a hunting video game. It really is like a strange hunting lodge vacation. Pack up the car and get ready to pretend to drive all sorts of different boat models!

  2. Truly the greatest list!

  3. Kimberly on said:

    Sneaking burritos into a movie theater! Brilliant! This might change my life.

  4. Kelly on said:

    @Lindsey: WHAT IS THIS MAGICAL PLACE? I love it so much I sort of never want to go and ruin it.

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