Located in the former Urban Farmhouse space at 3015 Norfolk St., new coastal Mediterranean concept Pinky’s aims to bring “patio vacation vibes” to industrial Scott’s Addition.
“We’re opening July 21, we know that,” says Pinky’s co-owner John Reynolds.
After a year-and-a-half of operating in a fraught sphere of uncertainty, Reynolds – and the rest of the beleaguered hospitality industry – is ready to commit to a timeline, come hell or high water.
Pinky’s looks ready for business, with potted plants galore, exposed warehouse ceilings and hot-pink accents adorning the bar. All that’s missing are the diners.
“We did a lot of the work ourselves,” says co-owner Steve DeRaffele. “Three months of painting and tiling and digging holes for trees and we’re three-quarters of the way staffed up, it’s like ‘OK, let’s get people in now.’”
DeRaffele is the back-of-house brains of the operation. His sprawling menu, which includes tapas, salads, mains and sandwiches, matches the energy of the vibrant, 3,700-square-foot dining room and adjoining patio.
Mediterranean cuisine has “lots of variety, lots of different influences,” Reynolds says. “It’s a broad area, there’s a little Spanish, French, Italian, North African.”
In this way, diners can choose their own culinary adventures, pairing a North African rib-eye sandwich or char-grilled octopus with one of the restaurant’s seven house cocktails or a glass of regionally appropriate Sicilian etna rosso.
“You can eat a big meal and not feel tired,” DeRaffele says. Creating a menu that seamlessly blended both light and bright dishes with more savory, “big boy entrees” was especially important for DeRaffele, who recently learned he has a gluten intolerance.
“Ninety-five percent of the menu is gluten-free,” he notes. “The fryer will be truly gluten free, so you can get gluten-free french fries, fried chicken.”
Reynolds and DeRaffele have a well-honed understanding of what their Scott’s Addition audience craves, which is why they went with a well-rounded, something-for-everyone menu.
Not only did Reynolds and DeRaffele work together for four years in the catering department of Lunch.Supper! – both live within walking distance of their new restaurant. “This neighborhood, you see all this construction, it’s only getting bigger and more densely populated,” Reynolds says.
Twenty-somethings on a brewery crawl can satisfy their booze-fueled cravings with Pinky’s prosciutto panini or a crispy scallopini picatta with house fries, while a date night may call for a few courses from the tapas menu like ouzo braised fennel, burrata caprese and Pinky’s classic meatballs, an homage to DeRaffele’s mother, the restaurant’s eponym.
“We hang out here and live here, it’s a neighborhood spot – it’s our neighborhood,” says DeRaffele. “It’s a newer, shinier, more expansive Fan, basically.”
The owners also understand that there are a lot of industry folks who work and live within a few blocks of Pinky’s, which is why they’ll be offering the full lunch and dinner menu all day long.
“Our day off is Tuesday, so we look for a place where we can have a good time,” DeRaffele says. “A lot of people have their Saturday on different days.” So if you’re hankering for a 22-ounce, bone-in rib-eye with fingerling potatoes at 11 a.m. on a Wednesday? Head to Pinky’s.
Then, if you’re feeling especially festive, you can follow up your meat and potatoes with one of the restaurant’s house-made, individually portioned cheesecakes slices, which will include a tiramisu flavor plus a rotating special like Oreo cookies and cream or fig.
It’ll also have an ice cream party dessert option – perhaps best enjoyed on the 500-square-foot patio – with three to four flavors available with toppings like rainbow sprinkles, Reese’s Pieces and pistachios. “We wanted it to have patio vacation vibes, like the spot you go when you go to the beach once a year,” DeRaffele says. “Where you think ‘Oh, I love that place.’”
Look for Pinky’s to open its doors Wednesday July 21. The restaurant will be open Wednesdays to Sundays 11 a.m.-10 p.m., with Saturday and Sunday brunch. Peruse full lunch, dinner, brunch and dessert menus online and keep up-to-date with the restaurant’s happenings on Instagram @pinkysrva.