More Perfect Union
Richmond's food revolution moves into a new — and very old — neighborhood next month when Metzger Bar and Butchery opens in Union Hill. That's a few blocks' stroll from the Roosevelt, Alamo BBQ, Union Market, SubRosa Bakery and other bastions of Church Hill dining.
Metzger brings a crisp, rustic style to a building that used to be the Duck Inn and other haunts, bordered by sprawling Cedar Street Baptist Church. The corner spot at 801 N. 23rd St. was love at first sight for chef Brittanny Evans Anderson, who owns the business with Brad Hemp of Sausagecraft and Nathan Conway, formerly of Secco Wine Bar, Yellow Umbrella and Relay Foods.
Eighteen months later, the building's been transformed by white tile, white oak and a singular focus on sustainable, German-influenced food and drink. Metzger means butcher in German.
"I'm not joking around," Anderson says of the venture. She's amiable but serious about food, parlaying her classical training at Manhattan's French Culinary Institute into a stint at the Roosevelt, working with chef Lee Gregory, and wowing diners with a few recent food event run-ups.
"We want to be a place — it's called the third space of a community — where people can gather, where they can stop in, no pretense or dress code, and hang out," she says. "For them to know where their food is coming from — that's important to me."
Metzger will have two facets, a 28-seat dining room with another dozen spots at the long, live-edge oak bar, and a retail corner for special cuts of meat, whole chickens, brined pork chops, wine and beer. A schnitzel of the day, sauerkraut and potato dishes, a smoked carrot salad, and various wursts and brats will change with the seasons, with sandwiches in the $8 range and entrees mostly less than $20. It will serve dinner nightly except Mondays, and expects to add weekend brunch later.
And lest diners think competition is ugly in this town, Anderson says they've received generous enthusiasm and support from industry leaders, including Gregory and Kendra Feather of the Roosevelt, Jay Bayer of Saison and Julia Battaglini of Secco, among many others. Follow the opening announcement at metzgerbarandbutchery.com.
Europa, the long-running tapas spot in Shockoe Bottom, has been in the process of changing hands for many months. Now its new owners have sealed the deal. David Bess and Matthew Busch, who operate Society American Bistro and Cha Cha's Cantina in the same block, will turn Europa into Torero Tapas Bar & Grill (torero is Spanish for matador). They expect to open June 25 at 1409 E. Cary St.
Downstairs, an adult lounge called Ibiza will cater to the 25-and-older crowd. "It's not a nightclub," Bess says, but a more sophisticated hangout.
Upstairs, new paint and commissioned artwork will add some Spanish ambience. Steaks and tableside sangria will be menu highlights, along with entree-sized portions of familiar flavors and Spanish-inflected tapas that encourage sharing and conversation. The kitchen will stay open until midnight on weekends, and nightly happy hour will pair certain cocktails with complimentary tapas.
"We're trying to bring back what they were so great at," Bess says of Europa's long legacy in the private party and rehearsal-dinner circuit. "I told Michelle Williams [of Richmond Restaurant Group, which sold this holding] that I hope to do it justice, that she's passing the torch and it's in good hands."
Open and Shut
Signs are up announcing the impending arrival of Grace Noodle at 1823 E. Main St in the short-lived Goree African Restaurant in Shockoe Bottom, adding more fuel to the noodle trend that started here last year.
Selba at 2416 W. Cary St. has closed, ostensibly for the summer, according to its Facebook announcement earlier this month. New potential owners are considering the spot, which transformed an auto shop into a garden room and restaurant with live music. It opened in May 2011.
Belle Vie, the Belgian restaurant in Midlothian, has closed. Its owners opened Brux'l in the Fan, in the former Peacock's Pantry space at 1731 W. Main St., over the weekend. Style profiled chef Xavier Meers last fall.
Six new guest rooms are open at the vaunted Inn at Little Washington in Rappahannock County. They're part of a renovation that adds the Parsonage building to self-taught chef Patrick O'Connell's destination restaurant and hotel. It's the longest-tenured AAA five-star restaurant in the country. A charity open house and afternoon tea are scheduled June 10 to unveil the new decor. Details at theinnatlittlewashington.com.
Nile Ethiopian Restaurant announces it will close July 13 following a 9-year run at 309 N. Laurel St. A new venture is in the works and will be announced soon.
Fancy Asian Gourmet: Sushi, Japanese and Chinese dishes, noodles to fried ice cream. Lunch and dinner daily. 7048 Forest Hill Ave. 560-5566. fancyasiangourmet.com.
Nacho Mama's Bar & Grill on the Boulevard: Tex-Mex and American foods in sibling to the popular Carytown cafe. Poolside bar license pending. Open daily. 3207 N. Boulevard in Clarion Hotel. 359-9441. nachomamasrva.com.
The Broadberry: Live music venue with bar, patio, happy hour, burgers, fish tacos, veggie bowl, pub snacks, swanky scene. Open show nights only. 2729 W. Broad St. 353-1888. thebroadberry.com.
Pelon's Baja Grill: Tacos, burritos and full menu of Mexi-Cali fare and spirits, breakfast to dinner Monday-Saturday. 2231 Dabney Road. 562-4187. pelonsbajagrill.com.
Caribbean Seafood Jamaican Jerk House: Takeout shop for oxtail, curry goat, jerk chicken, fried fish, island sides. Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday. 1203 Westover Hills Blvd. 291-1100.
Lamplighter Roasting Co.: Third location of quality coffee shop with creative food, beer and wine. Dine in and outside. Daily 7 a.m.-7 p.m. 26 N. Morris St. lamplightercoffee.com.
Chef MaMusu's African Caribbean Cuisine: Longtime chef Ida Daniels and team prepare vegetarian, meat and seafood dishes with traditional spices and techniques. Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday. 3514 Forest Hill Ave. 912-2812.
Saison Market: Select groceries and growlers, foods with flourish from chef Adam Hall, neighborhood hotspot adjoins busy gastropub in Jackson Ward, 8 a.m.-midnight. 23 W. Marshall St. saisonrva.com.
Shyndigz: New location for dessert emporium with cake, pie, cobblers, wine and beer, coffees. Patio and in-house dining, busy spot for sugar fix. Wednesday-Saturday. 1903 W. Cary St. 938-3449. shyndigz.com.