Growing up, Jay Modi was immersed in the world of food from an early age, helping his parents in their New Jersey pizza restaurants, answering phones, cleaning and eventually working the line in the kitchen. Passionate about all aspects of hospitality, Modi always knew that one day he wanted to pursue a career in the food and beverage industry, and after time spent in the finance world, that day has come. This summer, Modi and his team plan to debut ChefSuite, a ghost kitchen and food business incubator featuring 16 rentable, 200- to 400-square-foot spaces for entrepreneurs to work their magic.
Following a decade-long stint in finance, in 2019 Modi took the leap to kick-start his dreams, quitting his job and purchasing a food truck. Then the pandemic hit.
“That’s when I began exploring something called ghost kitchens,” says Modi, co-CEO and chief operating officer of ChefSuite.
Foregoing dine-in service, ghost kitchens serve food for delivery and takeout only. The model has been on the rise since the onset of the pandemic and allows flexibility for both business owners and patrons.
“[I] kind of came up with this idea of, what if we take a step back and we really put this tenant first,” Modi says. “Where we make sure that they’re going to be successful, make sure that they have all the tools and everything else that they will need in order to operate this business to its full maximum potential.”
Modi reached out to longtime friend Jarnail Tucker, co-CEO and chief information officer of ChefSuite, who also saw the need for a business that provided support to people in the industry.
“Whether it’s marketing, operational, financial support, all these different things that are in the existing industry — people aren’t really offering anybody help,” Tucker says. “So that’s where the conversation kind of organically started to form. From, ‘Well, what if somebody did offer all this stuff, and they gave you the support system you needed? Would you be successful?’ And [Modi was] like, ‘Absolutely.’ ”
ChefSuite hosted an open house May 16 for prospective tenants to tour the space. One question asked more than anything else by attendees: “Why Richmond?” As three non-Richmonders, Modi, Tucker and Chief Marketing Officer Samira Modaressi say they felt it was time to bring more attention to the Richmond food scene. They also plan to open a location in Atlanta by the end of the year.
“I’ve always known that Richmond has this deep food and arts/culture scene that really doesn’t get enough hype outside of Richmond, which is shocking to me because there’s just so much happening there,” Tucker says. “There’s always new concepts popping up, and people are willing to try anything.”
Tenants have the choice between a six-, nine- or 12-month rental contract and are offered a variety of services, such as monthly financial reporting, onboarding assistance on third-party apps, menu-building, a service team for front of house, marketing support, food consulting and partnerships with local food purveyors. The team pride themselves on transparency and say they want their tenants to feel supported, knowing how daunting the process of getting a restaurant started can be.
“We’re more of a partnership than anything with them, guiding them through the space, helping them when they need help, and kind of standing back and letting them thrive when they’re ready to do so,” Modaressi says.
Post originally written by Mike Platania at RichmondBizSense.com
With a new food hall open in Manchester and another in the works in a redeveloped Henrico mall, the trend will soon make its way to Scott’s Addition thanks to one of Richmond’s most prolific restaurant groups.
EAT Restaurant Partners, owner of more than a dozen local eateries such as Fat Dragon and Red Salt Chophouse, spent $3 million last week to purchase the Hutcheson & Co. building at 3013 W. Leigh St., which it is planning to convert into the neighborhood’s first food hall.
The 17,000-square-foot warehouse had previously been under contract to local development firm Capital Square for a similar food hall concept, but the company stepped away from the deal, a spokeswoman confirmed.
EAT President Chris Tsui said his group had been discussing being a tenant and operator of the food hall for Capital Square before stepping in as the buyer.
“(Capital Square) thought it’d be better that we own the property, and it made more economic sense for us to buy rather than rent it,” Tsui said. “We’ve wanted to do (a food hall) for several years, and they have so many new tenants they wanted some more amenities for them.”
Tsui’s referencing the more than 500 new apartments Capital Square is building in the neighborhood, including 200 in its three-building Scott’s Collection project nearby and 350 at the Otis, the city-block sized mixed-use project along Roseneath Road that’s recently begun inking commercial tenants.
EAT Restaurant Partners closed on the Hutcheson building on May 20, with Divaris’ Read Goode representing them in the deal. The city most recently assessed the property, which spans three parcels, at a combined $1.8 million.
For decades the building had been home to electrical hardware supplier Hutcheson & Co., but the firm has since relocated to Henrico.
Tsui said he’s not sure exactly how many vendor stalls the food hall will have but noted that some of EAT’s 13 concepts are likely to be present there.
“We’re still deciding what direction we want to go. I think we have several concepts that we can choose from in-house,” Tsui said.
“We’re planning some non-food stalls also — vendors that may want a stall, like someone who makes pottery or candles. I think there’ll be a lot of people floating through the food hall, it could be good exposure for someone who doesn’t have a storefront.”
Michael Pellis Architecture is the project’s architect and Patricia Holley of Design Therapy is its interior designer. Tsui said they’re hoping the food hall will be ready by 2024.
EAT has previously bought and developed the real estate it occupies, including Hot Chick’s building in Shockoe Bottom. Tsui said the company has investors in both its restaurants and real estate, and that it’s bringing in some additional capital for the food hall project.
We hear it every day: plastics are polluting our planet, the ocean, and killing marine life. Yet, we rely on plastics for just about everything! Think about how much plastic you throw away in a given week – it’s quite painful to think about! Plastic utensils are one items that are thrown into landfills daily – restaurants and homes use these and it makes us shudder to even think about how often they end up in the ocean or on the side of the road.
But what if we told you there’s a new “plastic” in town – we purposely put plastic in quotes because this is indeed NOT a plastic. It looks like plastic – it feels like plastic – but it is far from it. It’s actually a material that has been used for THOUSANDS of years. You may know it as a tequila ingredient or a natural sweetener – but now, you can use it to enjoy your salad or favorite beverage – it’s AGAVE!
That’s right ! You can now eat and drink with agave. The left-over scraps used in tequila-making are now being formed into plastic-like eat- and drinkware! How cool is that?! And what’s so cool about this? The straws decompose 200 times faster than their plastic counterparts!
Metro Supplies is proud to be supplying Richmond, VA and surrounding areas with the best in agave eating and drinking utensils! We know sustainability and earth-friendly practices are extremely important – and we can help you and your business get there. Ask us about all of our planet-loving products!
“From the moment you enter the lobby accented with Tiffany stained glass, marble columns, and of course, a statue of Thomas Jefferson, you’ll know why this historic grande dame is one of the top hotels in town. But dazzling design is just the beginning. The service is polished, yet warm, and thanks to a sweeping renovation wrapped in 2017 – the accommodations and common areas now balance old-world elegance with contemporary comforts. While I appreciated the entrance foyer, ample space, and table for dining and working in my Grand Premier Room, it was the marble-clad bathroom decked out with a deep soaking tub, vanity mirrors with TV screens, and two vanities that really dazzled. For an unforgettable night out: look no further than Lemaire, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant specializing in elevated New American cuisine crafted with local meat and produce.”
Quirk Hotel Richmond
Richmond finally got the hip boutique hotel it deserved when Quirk opened in 2015 in the Arts & Design District. Owned by hotelier couple Ted and Katie Ukrop, the property seamlessly blends the old and new. You’ll see signs of the hotel’s former life as a department store throughout, from the original ironwork staircase to the 13-foot limestone arches. The 73 rooms are appointed with a whimsical mix of materials and colors (including a hefty dose of Quirk’s signature pink), along with locally-sourced artwork. The Lobby Bar, which is currently open for weekend brunch and dinner, turns out globe-trotting small plates of Gochujang Roasted Squash, Provolone Pimento Dip, and Ricotta Gnudi. Pop into Quirk Gallery to check out up-and-coming talent and score some unique gifts.
Some good eats!
Besides dome fun places to stay, Forbes shows us some amazing restaurants you must try! There’s definitely too many to choose from, but here’s some samples!
Owned by partners in work and life Lyne and Randall Doetzer, Jackson Ward’s Restaurant Adarra is an increasingly rare restaurant that suits all types of eaters and occasions. The design is warm and handsome, with exposed brick, lots of dark wood, and a cozy bar that begs diners to linger long after their meal is done. The food menu takes inspiration from Spain’s Basque country, and features traditional, ingredient-drive bites like Pintxos Gilda, marinated anchovies (boquerones), and assorted conservas, while the wine list skews natural and organic.
Don’t be put off Lehja’s shopping mall location, because you’ll be rewarded with traditional and creative Indian food that extends beyond the standbys of chicken tikka masala and saag paneer. For something original, order off the contemporary section of the menu. The best-selling Deconstructed Butter Chicken, for example, smothers roasted free-range chicken breast with a rich, nut-based Makhni sauce and sauteed greens.
Some of the country’s buzziest restaurants were born of humble beginnings as pop-ups. That’s the case with Longoven, which started as a pop-up series at Sub Rosa Bakery, and later opened as a brick-and-mortar in Scott’s Addition to much acclaim in 2018. Though the service is super attentive, and the dishes as easy on the eyes as they are on the palate, the restaurant feels intimate and convival – not formal or stuffy. And when the newly-revamped patio opens this weekend, there will be another good reason to book a table.
There’s lots of words you could use to describe this French restaurant in Oregon Hill helmed by chef David Shannon. But the one word locals and out-of-towners seem to repeat over and over again is fun. The design is and eclectic and unforgettable, anchored by David statues, phallic stained-glass window, and Andy Warhol wallpaper. Fittingly, the kitchen is sending out equally imaginative European fare with cheeky names like Vegan Orgy On Texas Beach and Cocky Yet Classic And So Very Comfy-Cozy Coq Au Vin.
A contemporary spin on the classic Jewish deli, Perly’s offers familiar dishes (think matzo ball soup and potato latkes) alongside original creations like the Jewish Sailor. Perfect for the heartiest appetites, the oversized sandwich generously layers pastrami, beef sausage, and chicken liver on toasted rye bread. In the mood for a nosh? Try the Jewish Egg Rolls, which are stuffed with chopped corned beef, kishka, and sauerkraut, and paired with honey mustard schmaltz and amba sauce for dipping.
Sub Rosa Bakery
Run by siblings Evrim and Evin Dogu, this charming bakery and cafe in historic Church Hill has perfected the art of baking. And how? First, the Dogus only use regionally-grown heirloom grains. Then, they take things further by milling on-site, and baking everything in the wood-fired masonry oven. While the buttery, puffy, and gorgeously layered croissants are spectucular, don’t pass up on the Pide Flatbread, Pogaca, and Lamb Börek that pay homage to the Dogus’ Turkish roots.
This casual joint is proof positive you don’t have to be in Texas to score some seriously solid barbeque. Because at ZZQ, it isn’t just about tender, dry-rubbed brisket. There’s also racks of peppery ribs, and smoky, spicy sausages. (Fun fact: the three meats are widely known as the Texas Trinity.) And the side dishes, like the collards cooked with blackstrap molasses, hot sauce, and bacon, are so flavorful they stand out on their own.
There is so much to check out in RVA! Make sure you check out all of the amazing local spots – you won’t be disappointed!
It’s hard to remember a more highly-anticipated spring for diners than that of 2021, as the warmer weather coincided with wider COVID-19 vaccine access and a return to dining rooms all over the Richmond region.
Heaps of restaurant news followed: New concepts were announced, local restaurant groups expanded their footprints, and plenty of old restaurant spaces were given new life.
Enrico “Jo Jo” Armetta is the owner of Jo Jo’s Famous Pizza.
Others looked south, such as Enrico Armetta, who made the leap to add a Midlothian location of his longtime downtown pizzeria Jo Jo’s Famous Pizza. Brad Barzoloski also went to Chesterfield for a location of his Capitol Waffle Shop in the Shops at the Arboretum.
EAT Restaurant Partners continued to expand into Richmond’s surrounding counties in 2021, opening a second PBR location (this time in Hanover County) as well as preparing to open a Wong’s Tacos restaurant in the Winterfield Crossing mixed-use development in Midlothian.
Pop-ups — temporary concepts often operated within another restaurant on limited days of the week — saw a spike in popularity over the last year, and a few did well enough to land brick-and-mortar spots in 2021.
Among them was Buttermilk and Honey, a takeout-friendly fried chicken concept Lillie Pearl owners Kimberly Love-Lindsey and Mike Lindsey started last year and took full-time in Short Pump. The married couple also became the new operators of Pop’s Market downtown.
Soul Taco’s owners decided to make their Jewish and African fusion concept JewFro a permanent fixture of the local restaurant scene, opening in Shockoe Bottom after the concept had a run as a pop-up earlier in 2021.
A handful of food trucks also went the brick-and-mortar route.
The pandemic also accelerated the arrival of ghost kitchens, the delivery-only spots where restaurateurs can set up shop without having a front door for customers to come through.
ChefSuite is working to open a kitchen on West Broad near Staples Mill, while a bit further east on Broad Street, Cloud Kitchens, run by a former Uber CEO, bought some space adjacent to The Hofheimer building.
New chains and concepts
Some local restaurant industry veterans kicked off new concepts in 2021.
Sweetfrog founder Derek Cha got in on the hot chicken sandwich craze in May when he opened his first Hangry Joe’s Hot Chicken in Ashland. Cha also kicked off expansion of the concept in 2021, opening in Fairfax with plans for locations to open in Short Pump and near Regency in early 2022.
Relative to years past, 2021 was a quiet one for beer and craft beverage news, with only one new brewery opening in the area: Holy Mackerel in Prince George. The new year is looking to be busier, with at least four new breweries planned to open in 2022.
New pop-up alert – so promising he’s already taking reservations for 2022!
RICHMOND, Va. — Daniel Harthausen is not yet a household name in Richmond’s culinary scene. But that has not stopped his Korean and Japanese cuisine-inspired Young Mother pop-up restaurant to sell out for the remainder of 2021.
He is taking reservations for 2022.
“I don’t see myself as somebody that’s a part of the Richmond chef community. I still just work and I do a pop-up once a month. People really like it and I love that,” Harthausen said. “I kind of just see myself as still an employee at Adarra, which I love.”
The 26-year-old Korea-born, Hampton Roads-raised chef said he has learned a lot from Adarra owner and chef Randall Doetzer.
“We’re fairly similar. I pick up on very blunt direction well,” he said. “I think it’s just coming from an athletic background or playing sports my whole life and then also coming up as a military kid. Being very coachable is a skill I think is really important for people. So like having someone just tell me directly when I need to do, I’ll go do it and then also learn from it.”
His time with Doetzer, plus stops at other Richmond restaurants like Yaki and Black Sheep, has given Harthausen the confidence to move forward with Young Mother.
“Primarily we’re focused on Japanese and Korean food. Kind of like this meshing of the two cultures. It’s pretty interesting on my end, being able to research how the two cultures kind of interact with food,” he said.
Click here to learn more about Young Mother pop-ups and DM the Instagram account to get on the waiting list for the next event.
If you’re like a lot of us, you’re tired of cooking – every night you have to decide what to feed yourself and your family. Adulting, right?! But no worries – there are a ton of great restaurants in RVA serving up some awesome Thanksgiving feasts!
With locations in Short Pump, Hopewell, Rocketts Landing and Sunday Park, the Boathouse is offering guests the option to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving Buffet, as well as order oven-ready family dinners. The Boathouse buffet offers everything from turkey and apple crisp to Atlantic salmon and chocolate mousse. The buffet is $48 for adults, $19 for children and free for kids ages 5 and under. Oven-ready dinners serve six to eight people and include turkey breast, side dishes and a pie. You can add more dishes such as ham biscuits and crab dip for an additional cost. Oven-ready dinners must be ordered by Nov. 19 and are $185 a meal. You can find more information and make Thanksgiving Day reservations on the Boathouse’s website.
BookBinders’s Seafood & Steakhouse
BookBinder’s is offering a three-course meal with Thanksgiving classics like the traditional turkey dinner, along with less traditional options such as pan-seared Cheseapeake Rockfish. Dinner is $70 for adults and $18 for the children’s menu (kids 12 and under), not including tax and 20% holiday gratuity. You can find a full menu and make reservations online here.
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar
Fleming’s is offering both in-house and catering options for Thanksgiving dinner. The three-course Thanksgiving dinner menu includes a starter, entree and dessert. They will also have” sides to share” and a children’s menu. These options are also available in a to-go format, along with full sides for order, such as mashed potatoes and house-made stuffing. The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The three-course adult meal is $49 and the children’s menu is $23. Catering sides vary from $25 to $90. You can find more details and make a reservation on Fleming’s website.
Howlett’s will be serving a traditional baked turkey dinner with a choice of three sides, along with a sweet dessert to finish up your meal.
Dinner will be served from noon to 7 p.m. Adults are $25.99 and kids 10 and under are $12.99. You can make a reservation by calling 804-930-1034.
The Jefferson Hotel
Unfortunately, The Jefferson is completely booked for in-person holiday dining options through New Year’s Eve. However, they’re still taking to-go orders for an at-home feast until Nov. 17. You can fill out an order request form online here or call 804-649-4618 for more information.
The Lobby Bar at Quirk
Quirk’s in-house restaurant is offering takeaway dinners for two which can be picked up between 1 and 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. They include roasted turkey breast and confit turkey leg, along with all the best sides. A two-person dinner is $120 and can be ordered through Eventbrite.
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Ruth’s Chris’ in-house dinner includes a starter, roast turkey, dressing, a side and dessert. They also have to-go meals that serve up to four people and a la carte sides for order as well. Dinner at the restaurant is $42.95 a person. To-go meals for four are $115 to $175 and sides start at $27.95 each. You can find more information and make a reservation on its website.
Small Batch Local Kitchen
This restaurant operating out of the Westin Richmond will be offering a three-course Thanksgiving dinner that includes an appetizer or choice of salad, entree and dessert. This dinner is $44 for adults and $19 for children under 12. You can find more details on Small Batch’s Facebook page and make a reservation through OpenTable.
The restaurant is offering heat and go options ranging from a traditional ham and turkey dinner to salmon stuffed with crab and shrimp. Each meal serves four people and comes with sides, rolls and a dessert. Patrons can also order a la carte sides like scalloped potatoes and, of course, spoon bread. The restaurant will be taking preorders until Nov. 20. Meals range from $225 to $280, and sides are $25 apiece. All orders are subject to an 18% service fee. You can find a full menu online here, and place your order here.
The Tobacco Company Restaurant
The Tobacco Company will have a menu featuring a full list of sides and entrees, as well as a Harvest Dinner option for those wanting a traditional turkey meal on the holiday. Prices vary per option, but the Tobacco Company Harvest Dinner is $38. You can find more information and make a reservation on the restaurant’s website.
However you choose to celebrate, we wish you a very happy and safe Thanksgiving!
RICHMOND, Va. — To say Daquan and Nicole Woodberry have a lot of irons in the fire would be an understatement. The chef and entrepreneur power couple hopes to transform the way Richmond orders food with both the LoCo food delivery app and virtual restaurants.
“A virtual restaurant is essentially a restaurant within a restaurant. It thrives and operates solely off of delivery platforms,” Dequan, who goes by Chef DQ, explained. “So if you go on any of the delivery apps such as [his app] LoCo, Uber Eats, GrubHub and DoorDash. And you’re like, hey, I want fried chicken sandwiches, and you’re scrolling down and you’ll see [his new brand] Absurd Bird pop up. Well, you’ll be able to order. And that food will be made at [his restaurant] RVA Cafe and it’ll be delivered to you and you may or may not know is coming from RVA Cafe. So the big thing here is a lot of bigger chains and a lot of bigger corporations are getting into this. Maybe people have heard of Hootie’s Burger Bar, that’s a virtual restaurant from Hooters. But you walk into Hooters and they’re going to look at you like you’re crazy If you come ask them for a Hootie’s burger. They’re like, we don’t know what that is, the servers are sometimes unaware. So this is how the world is changing. And it was happening way before COVID. But you know, being honest, COVID accelerated that process pretty much five times over.”
Daquan, who served in the Marines, said he learned his work ethic from his father Maurice and was inspired to follow his dreams by his wife Nicole.
“When I say she saved my entire life she did. I was in a really dark space. I had just come out of the Marine Corps. I was actually injured. So I’m more than thankful, that God spared life on that end and I’m still able to function because I have friends that can’t,” Daquan said. “She really refreshed my life. She really came and poured life back into me and kind of encouraged me to go and find what I love to do. So that’s actually what led me to be a chef. She said do what you love. And, you know, she supported me the whole entire way.”
Several years and businesses later, Daquan admits it’s more than support.
“Now she’s the real boss of the whole business,” he said. “I just sit here and look pretty. She does everything else.”
After a round of renovations, the space is now equipped with a full bar, cocktail menu and over 100 types of wine. The restaurant is open for lunch, dinner and brunch on weekends.
Henley’s dinner menu includes dishes like Ahi tuna with mushroom and Thai noodles, seared duck breast, and handmade pasta with seafood. Its lunch menu is heavy on salads and sandwiches like its Asian shrimp po’ boy and forager’s salad. Entrees range from about $20 to $31, and lunch options are from $10 to $15.
The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday. Wright said he’s got a staff of about 12, some of whom used to work for him at Bistro 27.