The Greater Richmond area has grown into one of the nation’s hottest food destinations. Surrounding the City north of the James River, Henrico County plays a key part in the area’s culinary scene. With its array of fine dining options, food festivals, and some of the nation’s best craft beer, Henrico’s growing menu has something for every palate.
New Restaurants, Old Favorites
Henrico’s repute as a dining destination is at an all-time high, especially with the success of Shagbark in the mixed-use Libbie Mill neighborhood. Since opening two years ago, Shagbark’s farm-to-table menu has garnered accolades from USA Today, Wine Spectator, and is one of only 14 restaurants in Virginia to earn an AAA Four Diamond rating. Chef and owner Walter Bundy says Shagbark’s fare is what everyone should be serving – fresh, seasonal items from local farmers, foragers, and fishermen, cooked with love and heart.
Henrico also has its share of locally-owned longtime favorites with loyal customers. Roy’s Big Burger has been a Lakeside neighborhood mainstay for 57 years, Melito’s has served the Tuckahoe neighborhood since 1981, and Boychik’s Deli has been in Innsbrook since the community’s infancy in the early 1990s. Buckhead’s, an upscale chophouse in Tuckahoe, has been going strong since the early 1990s and has consistently won Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence,” among other accolades.
Expanding and New Eats
Many noted Henrico restaurants are expanding both regionally and nationally. From one of its earliest locations in Short Pump, Peter Chang has expanded to locations in Northern Virginia, Williamsburg, Virginia Beach, and Rockville, Maryland.
Henrico’s Tazza Kitchen, known for its wood-fired specialties, got its start in Short Pump and has since opened two locations south of the James River in Midlothian and in Richmond’s Scott’s Addition neighborhood. Eat 33, a homestyle neighborhood favorite on Staples Mill Road, will soon open Eat 66, a sister restaurant, in the Forest Hill neighborhood south of Richmond. To appease sweet tooths, Gelati Celesti Ice Cream, opened in 1984, has has spread to 3 additional locations across the area.
And the expansion flow works both ways. Henrico’s bustling food scene has attracted regional and national restaurant and entertainment groups like Mezeh, Chopt, Dave and Busters, B. Good, Rise, The Wine Loft, Carolina Ale House, and Cooper’s Hawk to expand to the area. A growing number of Richmond City-born restaurants have also added locations in Henrico, including:
Award-Winning Craft Breweries
If you like beer, Henrico is home to some of the best in the Richmond area – Vinepair’s top destination for beer in 2018. Highlighting the group is Mekong and The Answer Brewpub. The Vietnamese restaurant and upstairs brewpub on Broad Street is known to have some the Country's best and most diverse beers offerings, from its award winning Larceny IPA to a delicious imperial stouts. To boot, owner/chief beer officer An Bui was recently named a James Beard finalist.
Final Gravity, in Lakeside, is crushing the IPA category this year. The Henrico brewery recently took home both first and second place in the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild's annual Virginia Craft Beer Cup Awards. And Strangeways, a craft brewery off Dabney Road, was named one of "The South's Best Breweries" by Southern Living magazine.
Food, Festivals, and More
In addition to excellent restaurants and breweries, Henrico hosts popular annual food events, including: Henrico Restaurant Week, French Food Festival, Lebanese Food Festival, Fresh Food Fest, and more. Don't forget Henrico and the Richmond region's music festivals and the mobile army of food trucks and food stands.
So, the next time you're hungry and thirsty, remember: All roads (and forks) lead to Henrico!
Young Chefs Train and Food Scientists Experiment
Henrico is cooking up its culinary future by training the region’s aspiring chefs at Young Chefs® Academy in Short Pump. And food scientists are pioneering pulse and grain applications in Nutriati’s Henrico test kitchen, making the future tastier for those with gluten-free dietary restrictions.
Kitchen Thyme Keeps Richmond’s Food Truck Fleet Cooking
The growing fleet of food trucks in the Richmond region is flocking to Kitchen Thyme, a commercial kitchen in Henrico that supports their need for access to large-scale prep space on a part-time basis. If you’ve been to a festival around the region, chances are many of the food trucks there prepared their dishes at Kitchen Thyme.