Henrico County VA
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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.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health.

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.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health.

A taste trip through Latin America


If you're looking for something a little different from the standard, ho-hum restaurant experience, look no further than The Village shopping center. Among the recent success stories to put down roots in The Village is Estilo, created by the owners of the gastropub Toast (featured in a Feb. 21 review in the Citizen), only a few steps away.

Estilo – which translates to style – offers a taste of Peru, Chile and Bolivia, among other countries, and a menu that rotates regularly through the rest of Central and South America.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health.

Scene sparkles, food falls flat

On a rare warm night in late November, the newly opened American Tap Room was, to my surprise, bright and packed with guests – many eating outside.

I didn’t have a clue what to expect from this unheard-of restaurant in an unexpected spot – right in the heart of Willow Lawn. I came to learn it’s not unheard of; it’s a restaurant chain out of Northern Virginia.

“It definitely improves the look of Willow Lawn,” said my friend, who ventured to the new spot with me on a Monday night for dinner one week after the restaurant opened.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health.

Brick oven bravado

Before I am comfortable writing a review of a restaurant, I like to visit it twice. Invariably, I find that differences in the timing of a visit can result in vastly different experiences.

Even though I may find a place appealing the first time around, it frequently disappoints me the next time. And if I don't care for a place on the first try, I think it deserves a chance to redeem itself – which it almost always does.

Tazza Kitchen is that rare restaurant that had me at hello, at the getting-to-know-you stage, and at goodbye after both my visits. And trust me, there will be more visits to come.

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