The Richmond Food Experience: At A Glance

food, foodie, local, restaurant, Richmond, Virginia -

The Richmond Food Experience: At A Glance

On Wednesday, I attended Richmond's Specialty Food and Beverage Expo at the Richmond Convention Center. It was a true joy, and booths were packed full of innovative foods, sauces, seasonings, and pre-packaged goods. While I browsed from booth to booth, I engaged in conversation with people from all over the state. One consensus which I reached after reflecting on my interactions, is how great of a food hub Richmond is. 

I have spent my entire life in Richmond, and fear I may have taken for granted the restaurant landscape. When you think of "foodie" cities, the places which come to mind are Charleston, Nashville, New York, Portland, etc. As of late, articles in publications such as The Huffington Post, Southern Living, and Bon Appetit say otherwise. Richmond is earning the distinction as a top food city in the United States.

In the city of Richmond alone, there are over 900 restaurants. Of that 900, there are top end award-winning restaurants, such as Lemaire and L'Opossum, as well as a bevy of hole-in-the-wall restaurants which produce some of the best meals I've ever tasted. Forbes says that Richmond is, “elevating the local dining scene to buzzy new heights.” Richmond, known for its deeply-rooted historical past, now boasts the label of a trend-setting new-age city. Now you might be asking yourself, how? How is a city, which ranks 100th in the country in population (just below Enterprise, NV and Garland, TX...where is that!?!) responsible for such a strong food and restaurant culture that it is gaining not only national, but global recognition?

After some research, I have deducted a few contributing factors, which when combined, offer some answers. First, is the geography. Are you in the market for freshwater seafood? Head over to the rivers and tributaries off of the Chesapeake Bay. What about sea going fish? The Bay itself, and the entire Atlantic Ocean are only about 100 miles from the city. How about fresh vegetables and meat? Look to the western side of the state, which boasts 45,000 farms that supply direct-to-table produce, meat, herbs, and more to restaurants. Location, location, location is the first step in having a foodie city. Without it, you lose the freshness, and the quality of ingredients. Side note, these products are not just available to head chefs... you, the consumer, have access to the freshest ingredients in the state. Richmond residents are fortunate enough to have great farmer's markets such as the South of the James Market, as well as the 17th Street Farmer's Market (one of the oldest farmer's markets in the entire United States)!

Next are the people. Richmond has become a hotbed for up-and-coming chefs. A few notable ones which come up in press releases are: multiple James Beard-nominee Brittany Anderson (Brenner Pass, Metzger Bar & Butchery), Szechuan specialist Peter Chang (Peter Chang’s China Cafe), home-taught Velma Johnson (Mama J’s), financial services pro-turned-chef Mike Ledesma (Perch). Among this all-star line up, there also exists those who have been in the chef business for decades. Here at Nick's, we have the pleasure of working with many Greek and Mediterranean restaurants, and I would be remiss to not mention the great Stella Dikos (Stella's), Jimmy Tsamouras (Demi's), Jason "Tank" Walker and the late Taxiarthis Makkas (Joe's Inn). The chefs are who make the restaurant, and as Richmond residents, we are honored to have such detailed, talented chefs running the great restaurants in this city. 

As with anything good, nothing is elevated to great without support. The people of Richmond support their restaurants. Richmond residents and visitors have consistently demonstrated an appreciation for expertly-prepared meals, creating a virtuous cycle: more people who love great food brings in more great chefs, which in turn converts more folks into foodies.

I challenge you, my readers, to experience the Richmond Food landscape to its fullest. Maybe take a food tour or try a new restaurant. I can almost guarantee there is a hidden gem waiting for you somewhere inside of the city. The phrase "shop local" has been trending for years now, and I encourage everyone to "eat local" too! With such a great supporting audience, Richmond will continue to grow as one of the countries leading foodie cities.

Thank you for reading along, I hope this blog inspires you to enjoy some great meals this weekend!

'Til next week,



Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο