Henrico County VA

Brews and bites done right


The Urban Tavern opened in August, replacing the former Shackelford’s space at 10498 Ridgefield Parkway in Short Pump. Because of local and longtime devotion to Shackleford’s, Urban Tavern has some big shoes to fill.

Without any background information, I headed to the restaurant for dinner on a Wednesday night, two months after its opening.

On a perfect fall evening, four out of eight outdoor tables were taken, giving the impression that the restaurant was busier than it was. On the inside, a couple tables were taken, and a few folks were seated at the bar.

Getting a ‘mouf’-ful

Already a fan of Boka fare from outdoor events with the Tako Truck, I was delighted to learn of the new restaurant, and eager to see if its reputation held up after putting down brick-and-mortar roots.

Would the food lose its zest if I wasn’t enjoying it in the great outdoors? Would it seem pedestrian served from an ordinary kitchen instead of a truck?

Would the tacos be less satisfying as an antidote to normal lunch hunger – instead of being ingested to stave off desperate hunger after a long afternoon of crowds, sun, and tedious lines?

Bottoms up

I am still (happily) thinking about my entire experience at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery last week. Knowing nothing about this new brewery out of Denver, I was leery of brew-pub in the heart of Short Pump Town Center – this is not what I’d usually think of as a perfect fit, and yet, it was.

The restaurant and craft brewery opened in early June and features 10 beers made by female brewmaster Becky Hammond (pictured). This is the restaurant’s second location in Virginia; the first is in Arlington. Behind glass walls, customers watched the beer brewing in massive steel barrels. For our up-and-coming beer region, it makes sense that Short Pump would jump on board.

As I walked up to the back of the mall near the comedy club, I was taken aback by what I saw: at the top of the stairs was an overflowing restaurant with outdoor seating, large umbrellas and dangling outdoor lights.

Northside comfort

Brookside Grille and Bar comes with a simple mission in mind: to provide great dishes prepared with the finest ingredients using as many local products as possible. When I hear “local products,” I get excited; I’m a native Richmonder, and it’s important to me.

Located far north on Brook Road, Brookside Grille & Bar takes over what used to be Lucille’s Southern Cuisine. Advertised as “coastal comfort food,” I wasn’t sure quite what to expect, but I wasn’t expecting something healthy.

I had glanced at the menu online before heading to the restaurant hungry on a Sunday night. I knew my choices were broad – burgers, soups, seafood, and more.

Barbecue finds a home

For about two years, Buz and Ned’s Real Barbecue has been open at the corner of West Broad and Parham, and it’s my fault for not going sooner. If you haven’t made the trip, shame on you.

As I finally walked in at noon on a Monday, I put aside many years of deep Fuddruckers-laced nostalgia from my childhood, and the smell of all kinds of barbecue greeted us.

There is much to see; nothing is overlooked when it comes to decor.

A new meaning for fried chicken

Is it heresy to say – in this bastion-of-tradition capital of the Old South – that it's time for Southern fried chicken to take a step back and make way for a new fried chicken king?

Count me among the new believers bowing to Bonchon Chicken's delectable double-fried bliss. Hand-brushed with signature garlic soy or hot sauce, flash-fried once and then again, the decadent drums and wings take "crisp" to a new level. If you're eating with a crowd and everyone bites in at once, be warned: you might need ear plugs to handle the din.

‘Cooking with love’

Although I’m a Henrico native, I’d never ventured into India K’Raja, Henrico’s first Indian restaurant.

It’s easy to find in the shops at Tuckernuck Drive and Broad Street, across from David’s Bridal. It’s even easier to smell. As we walked from the parking lot, Indian spices and music drew us in from the sidewalk. I was giddy as I entered the restaurant; I love Indian food.

I immediately noticed the casual nature of the restaurant and easy-going, friendly staff. It has been around for 18 years without much updating to furniture.

Barbecue roadtrip


I was simultaneously relieved and excited when I walked into Deep Run Roadhouse on Gayton Road; I knew it was another restaurant venture by Paul Hubbard of Alamo BBQ in Church HIll, but I hadn’t considered that the menu items would be, to my delight, much of the same.

Fifteen years ago, Hubbard, a graduate of Godwin High School and longtime Henrico native, dreamed of opening a restaurant honoring his hometown park – Deep Run Park on Ridgefield Parkway. What he didn’t know was that barbecue was to be on the menu.

Burgers, by the ‘Bach’

I’ve never cared for burgers, and I’ve certainly never sought out a restaurant specialized in the sandwich. That’s until I ventured into Burger Bach (pronounced batch) in Carytown. The New Zealand-inspired gastropub made a believer out of a burger-skeptic like me with its gourmet burgers, handcut fries and homemade dipping sauces.

It’s not surprising that others loved it, too, and its second location opened in West Broad Village in November. Eager to compare the two, I headed over for lunch on a Saturday with a friend and an empty stomach.

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