By Chef Walter Bundy
Richmond Food Scene
Richmond has come a long way since I returned from Napa Valley way back when. There was only Dale [Reitzer of Acacia] who was putting out really good, well thought out food. Today, there are a host of great chefs in this wonderful city who continue to push the envelope and essentially challenge each other to be better everyday. What also impresses me is that everyone has a lot of respect for each other and admiration. Young chefs such as Tim Berieka, Caleb Shriver, Phillip Perrow, Jason Alley, Owen Lane, Adam Hall, and so many more are becoming what will be part of the food history in this town. That is a wonderful thing. If we continue on this path, Richmond will soon become, if it hasn't already, a nationally recognized food town. It makes me proud to be a chef in Richmond during this exciting and unique time.
The biggest misconception about Richmond is... that we are conservative, old school, and not up to date with the times. (everything from food, art, festivals, events, and ....)
In reality, Richmond is more... relevant than most people would think. Everything from our wonderful, creative, and constantly pushing food scene to the arts (Center Stage, Virginia Museum Of Fine Arts, Richmond ballet, Virginia Commonwealth Univ., etc.) We are a town that is constantly pushing, growing, and embracing meaningful things.
Lemaire | My Restaurant
Lemaire is seasonal, regional, and Southern. When you eat at my restaurant, I'd recommend you try the specials of the evening, because they reflect the freshest, hyper-local ingredients we can get at that time. For instance, right now we are showcasing an heirloom tomato salad. The tomatoes are coming from Victory Farms just outside of Richmond, the cheese is Mountaineer from Meadow Creek Dairy in Galax Virginia, and the micro basil is coming from STB (Simply The Best) right here in Richmond.
Our pimiento cheese at Lemaire is unlike most others because we use tons and tons of great farmhouse cheddar, smoked paprika, and heat. We do not use a lot of our favorite mayonnaise (Duke's - made right here in Richmond by the C.F.Sauer Company. Duke's rules!) because we want it to be about the cheese.
Cover Photo Credit: Mobilus In Mobili [Flickr]
Chef Bundy's Richmond Guide
Morning | Breakfast & Coffee
Sub Rosa Bakery
They have a wood-fired oven and the croissants are crazy good (chocolate is my favorite.) They just have that toasty, melty, crunchiness that you can only achieve in a wood-fired oven.
620 N 25th Street, Richmond, VA 23223
T: 804.788.7672 | www.subrosabakery.com
The fountain is also a pharmacy, but their breakfast is fast, consistent, and good. It's a little like going to Cheers where everyone knows your name. Faisel does a such great job.
Patterson at Libbie Shopping Center
5823 Patterson Avenue, Richmond, VA 23226
T: 804.282.4828 | westwoodfountain.com
Shops | Markets
Yellow Umbrella Provisions
David Whitby has taken over what his father started as a roadside seafood truck stand and turned it into the best place to buy seafood in town. He also sells wine, local meats and cheeses, fresh farmers market vegetables, etc. It is deserving of a visit.
5603 Patterson Avenue, Richmond, VA 23226
T: 804.282.9591 | yellowumbrellarva.com
Metzger Bar and Butchery
During the day Metzger is a butchery, but at night, watch out, they serve some fantastic, rustic German influenced food. Their chicken liver mousse with grilled Sub Rosa bread is insane! Also try their rabbit with black truffle is crazy good.
801 N 23rd Street, Richmond, VA 23223
T: 804.325.3147 | www.metzgerbarandbutchery.com
Restaurants | Lunch
Buz and Ned's Real Barbecue
I always seem to gravitate to this place when I want a BBQ fix. Who wouldn't when good old Buz took down Bobby Flay in a cook-off? I thought the barbecue was the best thing here until I watched my son destroy a t-shirt of his sucking the remaining meat off the beef ribs. I had to try them and I will say that I keep coming back for those wonderful freaks of nature.
1119 N Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23230
T: 804.355.6055 | buzandneds.com
This is a tiny little place on Patterson that does everything from scratch and it shows. They put out some great sammies and their sides are so comforting (potato salad, mac-n-cheese, kale slaw, collards, deviled eggs).
5714 Patterson Avenue, Richmond, VA 23226
T: 804.658.3617 | lulabellesrva.com
They do a great job with Southwestern / Tex Mex style food. Aaron Cross has really put his heart and soul into this place under the skillful guidance of restauranteurs Ed Vasaio (Mamma Zu, Edo's Squid, Dinamo, 81/2) and Tuffy Stone (Q BBQ). The green chile and pork shoulder stew is to die for.
1 N Morris Street, Richmond, VA 23220
T: 804.355.2418 | www.ranchot.com
Bernie's Sub & Pizza Shop
Located in a strip mall in the Near West End, Bernies has been around since the begining of time. They pretty much cater to the University of Richmond crowd and are a no bones about it college sub shop. Their hot Italian sub is to die for and keeps me coming back. Just make sure that you get it heated and loaded with the hot peppers.
415 N Ridge Road, Henrico, VA 23229
Afternoon | Snack
I would think that if you are out that way, this would be the place to swing in for some fabulous, heavenly house-made ice cream. I work out so I can eat ice cream. That's the story and I'm sticking to it. My favorite would have to be the ‘Just Ask’ -- try it and you'll see.
8906 A West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23294
T: 804.346.0038 | www.gelatiicecream.com
Sally Bells Kitchen
It has stood the test of time and is in a time warp. The deviled eggs and Smithfield ham rolls are amazing. For an afternoon treat, head here for some of their famous cupcakes and tarts.
708 W Grace Street, Richmond, VA 23220
T: 804.644.2838 | sallybellskitchen.com
Restaurants | Dinner
What else needs to be said. Lee Gregory is a great guy, but an even better chef. He has done amazing things to help this city move forward with his unique cuisine.
623 N 25th Street, Richmond, VA 23223
T: 804.658.1935 | www.rooseveltrva.com
Dale and Aline do such a great job. Whenever my wife and I can find the time to get out, Acacia is a go-to. Dale is known for his ‘velvet’ soft shell crabs from Urbanna, VA. that he personally goes and picks up and for good reason. He has a deftly touch with seafood. He is such an artist with food and flavors. Trust me.
2601 W Cary Street, Richmond, VA 23220
T: 804.562.0138 | www.acaciarestaurant.com
Sorry but Ed's veal sweetbreads are something dreams are made of. I continue to return and tell myself I am going to order something else and every time those damn sweetbreads end up in front of me. Go figure. I also like being cool and ordering the white pizza that isn't even on the menu.
501 S Pine Street, Richmond, VA 23220
Peter Chang China Café
I know a lot has been written about Peter but for good reason. To think that this roving, where is he gonna be next chef set up camp here in Richmond, we are truly blessed. If you love spicy, Szechuan style cuisine, this is your place. Everything from the dry fried eggplant (with mind numbing Szechuan peppercorns and cilantro) to the Hunan fish with fermented black beans, you can't go wrong. It has become an addiction.
11424 W Broad Street, Glen Allen, VA 23060
T: 804.364.1688 | www.peterchangrva.com
Krispy Kreme Donuts
I know this is a chain, but there is nothing better than going into the store and watching the doughnuts coming out of the fryer and onto the conveyor belt to get glazed with that oh so goodness sugar coating. Hot doughnuts that melt in your mouth with the greatest of ease. There may not be anything better.
4910 W Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23230
T: 804.355.9111 | krispykreme.com
Lemaire and chef Walter Bundy was recommended by chef Brittany Anderson of Metzger Bar & Butchery
“Lemaire in the Jefferson Hotel serves classic, old school, Southern food. Walter Bundy is the chef and he’s a hunter, so there’s tons of game. His venison dishes are really incredible. He does a venison dish with hand-foraged blackberries which is crazy.”
Read more of her guide »]
LEMAIRE AT THE JEFFERSON HOTEL
101 West Franklin Street, Richmond, VA 23220
BOOK A TABLE
More Southern Feature Stories