The Elbys: Ah, the Elbys. It'a a combination of spectacle, costume party and the prom — and still manages to recognize those restaurants and chefs who excelled this past year. Winners on Sunday night included L’Opossum for best new restaurant, Joe Sparatta and Heritage — who took home awards for chef of the year and restaurant of the year — and Metzger’s Brittanny Anderson as rising star. Comfort’s Travis Milton won the innovator award. Acacia Mid-town received both the Richmond stalwart and best wine program awards. Best beer program went to Saison. The Rogue Gentlemen won for best cocktail program. Kirby Baltzegar of Dutch & Co. was named employee of the year and best purveyor went to Autumn Olive Farms. A full recap of the awards night here.
Growing gifts: The price of a prix fixe meal during Richmond Restaurant Week (April 20-26) will go from $25.14 to $29.15. The week started in 2001, and according to Richmond.com, this is the first price increase in eight years. The increase benefits FeedMore, which will receive $4.15 from each meal as opposed to last year’s $2.14.
Local hops: Although Goochland’s Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery grows hops for its own use, there’s been no large-scale hops industry in Virginia. James River Distillery owner Jonathan Staples hopes to change that. Commonwealth gin, made by the distillery in Richmond, is one of the only varieties of gin to include hops as an ingredient. In addition to a 6-acre farm dedicated to the crop, Staples is planning to build a processing plant with help from $80,000 in grants from the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Ashland joy: Jake’s Place Restaurant & Market opened in Ashland last week. Yohman’s Garden owners Wendy and John Yohman renovated an old gas station that was sitting empty at Thompson and Chapman streets and are serving Southern comfort food such as fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese sandwiches, bologna burgers and the intriguing smoked meatloaf. Jake’s Place is open for lunch and dinner. jakesplaceashland.com.
Lunch out: Students at Virginia Commonwealth University and Maggie Walker Governor’s School mourned the loss of Great Wraps near Kroger on Lombardy Street. Never fear, on-the-go cheesy chicken wrap lovers! Four Brothers Bistro & Grill (not to be confused with Five Guys Burger and Fries because there’s one less guy involved) is coming soon to the vacant space. Expect deli fare, including tuna melts, Philly cheese steaks and Reubens.