The Wait Is Over
Perly's Restaurant & Delicatessen opened its doors last week, and the customers came flooding in. Owner Kevin Roberts says he's had lines out the door at lunchtime, and business partner and landlord Johnny Giavos has been pitching in on the back end to help smooth the process. The interior got a face-lift that brought in more light, eliminated clutter, and lengthened and streamlined the bar — all without encroaching on the integrity of the old Perly's owned by Gray Wyatt. Inspired by Perly's original 1930s incarnation as a Jewish deli, the place offers latkes, house-made gefilte fish, sailor sandwiches and other Jewish cuisine, with wine, beer and Boylan's sodas on tap. What you won't find is pork — of any kind.
Meals on a deadline: Out-of-town reporters covering the McDonnell fraud and corruption trial may have slouched back to their hotel rooms occasionally, ordering a few sliders from the hotel bar after a grueling day of constant online updates. But mostly they hit the downtown hotspots — Pasture, Comfort and Dutch & Co. (with at least one side trip to Can Can). "Ros Helderman, who broke the original story, also led the [reporters] in food," New York Times journalist Jennifer Steinhauer says of her Washington Post colleague.
More praise: Richmond has been getting national attention again. This time it's Destinations, a glossy leisure magazine available to American Express platinum card members. The Daily Meal and former Saveur founder and editor Colman Andrews wrote a comprehensive and glowing review of the dining scene, declaring Richmond as "the next great American food city." In another magazine accolade, Burger Bach, Carytown Burgers & Fries and Roy's Big Burger all made Garden & Gun's guide to the best burgers in the South.
Drink and learn: Amuse Restaurant service manager Tony Karabaich will pour curated choices of international wines from 5-8:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 12, for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts' Second Fridays — part of its Friday Art & Wine series. Along with plenty of vino talk and discounted beverages, attendees can take a guided tour of the museum at either 7 or 7:30 p.m.
Doors closed: Jorge's Cantina at Floyd Avenue and Robinson Street is closed — but only temporarily, the owner says. Slow summer nights in all of co-owner Jake Crocker's restaurants fueled the decision, and once he sees business pick up, Jorge's will open its doors again.
Coming soon: A long-awaited Rocketts Landing restaurant, Mbargo, is aiming to open Sept. 22 with chef Matt Turner at the helm. Turner worked in New York, Washington and Richmond, where he headed up the kitchen at Millie's, as well as recent stints at Camino and Public Fish & Oyster in Charlottesville. Mbargo will also house a small market with wine, local beer, cheese and fresh local produce.
Inner City Blues has been open only since May, but owners Alicia and Lamont Hawkins already are planning their next venture. (A full review of Inner City Blues can be found here.)
When Carolina Bar B Que on Nine Mile Road closed Aug. 2 after 40 years, the Hawkinses heard through friends that the owners wanted Inner City Blues to take over. The couple knew the place well — both went to the nearby Armstrong High School.
The name will stay the same, but an update of the menu is planned. "Inner City Blues already has North Carolina-style barbecue — our barbecue isn't much different from [theirs]," Alicia Hawkins says. "We'll do a lot of the same things [there] that Inner City is already offering."
Although they're shooting for an opening within 30 days, that will depend on the city's inspection process. The project been a roller coaster ride, Hawkins says, but "everything that could have happened or could have deterred us was resolved. … It was God-sent."