Pokemon Love Richmond Restaurants

And they love them back.

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The madness must stop. But I don’t think it will.

It all started when web editor Colby Rogers drifted behind me on the sidewalk while we were supposed to be walking purposefully together. “Pokemon Go,” I discovered, had infected him on its very first day.

But the craze isn’t all about tripping over curbs and risking heat stroke. Restaurants, breweries and even the Flying Squirrels are getting in on the action, too -- and for them, it’s just business.

Today, Carytown and RVA Magazine are planning a huge “Pokemon Go” takeover with 12 Pokestops surrounded by lures lasting an hour. “These bad boys increase the frequency that Pokemon show up,” RVA Magazine writes, “so it should give people who have just dabbled in the game a chance to catch up with some of the folks who have doubled down.” It starts at 5 p.m. with happy hour at Carytown restaurants and play begins at 6.

Confused? Here’s a quick primer to get you up to speed.

Are you back? Good. Yesterday evening, I spent a little time going around town and stopping at a variety of restaurants to figure out the game and to see what kinds of creatures and features were around.

I discovered that lots and lots of restaurants have Pokestops. By now, maybe all of them do. Everywhere I went — and I mean everywhere — there were usually a couple of cars pulled up out front with drivers intently staring at their phones and at least one or two other people walking slowly on the street doing the same thing. I found stops at Home Team Grill, Baja Bean Co., En Su Boca’s mural and Kitchen 64, among many, many others, plus entire gyms at Kuba Kuba and Lunch/Supper. Scott’s Addition is crawling with opportunities.

In addition, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has eight Pokestops — plus one, it’s rumored, in its restaurant, Amuse — and a gym outside.

When asked if My Noodle Bar had any “Pokemon Go”-related things going on, co-owner Whitney Kiatsuranon, said, “No. Please. No. The stairs. My God!” Sorry, Whitney, there’s a Pokestop right out in front of your restaurant at the J.E.B. Stuart monument.

“It's been pretty funny,” says Toast, Talley’s Meat & Three and Hutch Bar & Eatery owner Josh Bufford, “We didn't realize it was going to mean anything, but on Saturday we had four families come into Hutch and inquire about WiFi and let their server know that they were checking into the Pokestop, but they reassured their server that they were all having brunch — and they wouldn't sit on the table.” 

Grab a cold beer and a hot burger, people. It's going to be a long, sweaty summer outside for trainers.

Here are a few things that are planned in the upcoming days:

Triple Crossing Brewing Co. is holding a Smash Bros. Tournament tonight that will double as a “Pokemon Go” meetup.  Plus, their deck mural is a Pokestop.

Sticky Togogo seriously got creative when it devised a series of “Pokemon”-inspired sushi rolls, including the Pikachu ($11), composed of broiled eel, red peppers, tamago, cream cheese and tater tots, rolled in panko flakes and black sesame seeds, and drizzled with eel sauce. And if you take over its gym outside, you’ll get 25 percent off of your order.

Pokemon are supposedly running rampant at Pasture and bar manager Beth Dixon has created a drink in honor of them: the Miltank ($9), composed of bourbon, Pimm’s, raspberry shrub and chamomile bitters.

Perk! Coffee + Lunchbox is planning to set lures and lay out some “Pokemon” incense on Saturday, July 16 at 2 p.m., to entice a few of those rare yellow monsters to show up.

There’s another gym at Center of the Universe Brewing and the folks there are planning a “Pokemon Go” meetup and battle on Wednesday, July 22 at 6 p.m.

On July 30, from noon to 9 p.m., Belly Timber is holding an RVA "Pokemon Go" Bar Crawl with drink specials, Pokedex, maps and a special fanny pack, presumably to stash said map in.

If you know of other “Pokemon”-related events, great restaurants to catch a zubat or anything else hungry trainers need to know, leave a comment below or email me at shortorder@styleweekly.com.

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