Time knows no bounds at one of Broad Street’s newest establishments. All-day brunch and bar food beckon customers to The Riviere whether they’re in the mood for French toast bites or lollipop lamb chops. The strength of this new Black-owned restaurant is in its ability to mix Richmond’s communal food culture with the vibrancy of the city’s nightlife.
In less than a year, The Riviere has become a top spot to dine in the arts district by offering rich breakfast fare as well as luxurious late-night favorites. The hustle and bustle of Broad Street increasingly chows down here, especially on Taco Tuesdays where dinner is served until 1 a.m.
The restaurant’s rhythm is founded on the kitchen and bar’s close relationship.
“Richmond doesn’t really have a place that brings together nightlife and good food,” says owner Javontae Jones. His many years spent working in late-night entertainment endowed him with a special appreciation of a good meal at the end of a long day. Jones returned to Richmond with the goal of satisfying such late-night desires in a more elevated, yet approachable way.
“What gets people out? If it’s not music, it’s food,” he says. With his vision for a new hot spot in downtown Richmond fast forming, Jones began to seek out a chef in the fall of 2020 to help bring his dream to life, regardless of the uncertainty that was unfolding thanks to the pandemic.
Through friends, Jones came across Pacq’s Kitchen. This pop-up operation was started by three brothers whose home cooked food drew crowds and kept the neighborhood connected, despite the social isolation triggered by the pandemic. Nurdeen Nasir, also known as “Chef Mar Mar,” and his two brothers quickly began serving up warm meals to a growing number of neighbors, friends, and soon Jones too.
The Riviere’s owner witnessed firsthand the impressive popularity of Pacq’s Kitchen and took note of their sublime, yet subtle, menu offerings. What was the missing ingredient? A business plan to move operations out of the house and into a professional restaurant. Jones pitched the collaboration to Chef Mar Mar, who describes the unexpected partnership as “an exciting collision of talent."
Today, Chef Mar Mar is proud of their new elevated menu where soul rolls, a Southern twist on a classic Asian egg roll, sit comfortably next to pan-seared salmon. “We offer combinations people don’t know that they like yet,” he says.
Although much of the menu makes meat the main star of the dish, Chef Mar Mar also serves up vegetarian items made with just as much love (of butter and seasoning) as any fried chicken or shrimp dish. Even those who need more than plant-based protein will gladly veg out on classics like the crispy hand-breaded cauliflower bites while maybe attempting to finish off an oversized veggie Philly sandwich!
Whether you’re looking for a new spot for Sunday brunch or a place to order tacos after 12am on a Tuesday, The Riviere has got you covered. It's located at 506 W. Broad St. For online reservations, visit the website.