That tantalizing smoke wafting over western Henrico County signals that Paul Hubbard is back on home turf, bringing what he’s learned in the past 10 years to his solo project, Deep Run Roadhouse. The place opened six weeks ago at 12379 Gayton Road, and it’s becoming an obsession among fans of Hubbard’s cooking, honed most recently as founding co-owner of Alamo BBQ in Church Hill.
Kitchen stints at Richmond standouts Franco’s, Sensi, Chez Max and Tarrant’s Cafe also give Hubbard a working knowledge of the business and a philosophy that’s straightforward: “Don’t put your ego on a plate” and “You’re not smarter than the food you cook.” But mainly, he says, “I want to cook for the 99 percent [not elitist eaters] and give them the same attention to detail” as fine dining.
Hubbard’s barbecue, Tex Mex and Southern comfort foods are all made from scratch. Texas caviar, jalapeño mac and cheese, cowboy beans and collards will remind Alamo lovers of that outpost’s favorite sides. Bison burgers, tacos, blackened or fried fish of the day, train-wreck burritos and fresh pies augment a ribs, chops and barbecue lineup; the beef brisket is Hubbard’s personal favorite. With sandwiches priced from $5-$7 and combo platters starting at $10, the counter-service business is filled with manly eaters at lunchtime and families at dinner. Weekends “are all out mayhem,” Hubbard says, with business surpassing early goals.
An ABC application is in progress and the business may expand into adjacent space to allow for parties, a lounge and overflow seating. Back in the neighborhood where he grew up, Hubbard says “it’s been a constant high-school reunion” for Godwin alums, and a solid homecoming for the barbecue king. 750-6301. deeprunroadhouse.com.
In the house: Dogs of a dozen breeds get the vanity treatment at a five-week-old business, Unleashed Gourmet Hot Dogs, at 515 N. Harrison St. Besides offering signature hot dogs as wide-ranging as the poodle (chicken sausage, capers and onion lecho) and Pekingese (stir fried vegetables with hoisin), owner Galina Vaytser and crew make their own chicken and lamb sausage, and stuffed dinner rolls in chicken and cabbage versions, a pair for $2. They make corn muffins and the Italian bread used for hot dog buns as well as side salads and desserts. The 15-seat spot has an ABC application in progress. Discounts to cops and military personnel, delivery to the neighborhood coming soon and a dedicated staff of dog lovers gives this place some personality at a combo meal price of less than $6. 213-0827. unleashedhotdog.com.
Last leg: A sorrowful ending in Westover Hills reminds diners how rough the food business can be. Fried chicken and other Southern foods at Dixie Chicken won raves from neighbors but couldn’t catch enough momentum to sustain the business. Fans mourned the takeout spot’s finale both online and off last week.
Ten years in: Julep’s New Southern Cuisine marks its 10th anniversary with an all-out feast from chef Randall Doetzer, paired with Barboursville wines on May 20. The five-course dinner moves from fish to wild boar with a surprise vintage and other prime pairings. Seating is at 6 p.m., and the $125.10 per person fee includes all. Reservations are required at 377-3968. Julep’s is in Shockoe Bottom at 1719-21 E. Franklin St. in one of the city’s oldest buildings, and Amy Cabaniss is the owner. juleps.net.
Swarming for shawarma: The Lebanese Food Festival is among the city’s tastiest traditions, and organizers expect some 20,000 guests this year. They come for kebabs, falafel, pastries and more traditional dishes May 17-19 on the grounds of St. Anthony’s Maronite Catholic Church at 4611 Sadler Road in Short Pump. Details and directions at stanthonymaronitechurch.org.