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Looking back at the Richmond food and drink news of 2015

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Posted at 12:27 PM, Dec 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-29 12:27:44-05

RICHMOND, Va. — Local restaurateurs added to their holdings, out-of-towners made further inroads, and upstarts picked up where others had left off in another busy year for Richmond’s dining and drinking scene in 2015.

Chris Tsui and his Eat Restaurant Partners were among the Richmond industry veterans laying the foundations for expansion during the year. To add to its five existing restaurants, Eat Restaurant Partners has three new ventures in the works: Boulevard Burger and Brew in Scott’s Addition, a sushi and steak houseat the forthcoming GreenGate development west of Short Pump and an unnamed downtown restaurant at 412 E. Grace St.

Josh Wright opened Pop’s Market in a long-empty space downtown. Photos by Michael Thompson.

Josh Wright opened Pop’s Market in a long-empty space downtown. Photos by Michael Thompson.

That stretch of East Grace further cemented its place as a new restaurant row by attracting Lucca Enoteca Pizzeria at 525 E. Grace St. on the ground floor of the Berry Burk building, a West Virginia sandwich chain,Pop’s Market and others.

One of two new pending Mellow Mushroom franchises will be built in GreenGate, with the otherin the works in Chesterfield.Tsui’s group wasn’t the only local outfit with an appetite for GreenGate. Richmond Restaurant Group plans to open a second Daily Kitchen & Bar location at the new development, which would give RRG six eateries around town

Just to the east in Short Pump Town Center, Kevin Healy opened a fourth Boathouse location inside the Hyatt House hotel. And bulldozing its way into the market in front of the mall is Washington, D.C.-based Matchbox American Pizza Bistro, which has plans to build a restaurant from scratch in place of a shuttered Chili’s at 11720 W. Broad St.

Also making moves in Henrico County was Johnny Giavos and Manny Mendez, who opened Kuba Kuba Dosin the former Flinn’s space at 403 N. Ridge Road in the Tuckahoe Shopping Center. In addition to the original Kuba Kuba, Giavos and Mendez own seven Richmond eateries between them.

Farther east in the county, a former chef at The Jefferson Hotel’s Lemaire restaurant signed on as a tenant at Libbie-Mill Midtown.

Peter Chang plans to open a new restaurant on West Broad Street. Photo courtesy of CVRMLS.

Peter Chang plans to open a new restaurant on West Broad Street. Photo courtesy of CVRMLS.

Expanding from Henrico into the city, Peter Chang announced a new restaurant in the works at 2816 W. Broad St. in the Hofheimer Building in Scott’s Addition.

Elsewhere in the city, Ed Vasaio, who has five restaurants to his name including Mamma Zu and Edo’s Squid, along with husband and wife Tuffy and Leslie Stone of Q Barbeque, opened Rancho T at 1 N. Morris St.

After nearly four decades at 325 N. Robinson St. in the Fan, Buddy’s Place doubled its size less than a mile away with a new location at 600 N. Sheppard St. in Devil’s Triangle. Taking over Buddy’s former spot is Secco Wine Bar, which is leaving its Carytown location for the Fan.

Speaking of Carytown, Carytown Burgers & Fries expanded with new locations in Lakeside and Short Pump.

In Church Hill, the owners of Dutch & Co. opened a second venture, a hot dog shop called Stroops. And the owners of the Mill on MacArthur plan to open Liberty Public House in the renovated New East End Theater building.

On the Southside, James Talley of The Cask Cafe & Market is part of the ownership group that opened theWhite Horse Tavern near Forest Hill Park.\

Doors shut

The local industry also saw some turnover throughout the year.

Pie restaurant at 214 N. Lombardy St. shut down. The property was bought in a foreclosure auction by Antar Abouzaki, who also opened Shawarma Shack on West Grace Street this year. He’s searching for a new tenant for the Pie space.

Moo Burgers closed after less than a year in business at 309 N. Laurel St. near VCU. The property was eventually taken over by Deep Run Roadhouse, which opened its second location there.

Also near VCU, Aroma Cafe opened at 1322 W. Broad St., where a Classic Rock Coffee franchise closed after six months in business.

Brews and booze news

Brothers Joe (left) and Jason Trottier plan to open a new brewery in Goochland. Photos by Michael Thompson.

Brothers Joe (left) and Jason Trottier plan to open a new brewery in Goochland. Photos by Michael Thompson.

The local booze scene also had its share of news.

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery announced a new $28 million facility in Goochland County, where Kindred Spirit Brewing is also in the works. And Stone Brewing Co.’s East Coast headquarters at 4300 Williamsburg Ave. is coming together.

Charlottesville-based Three Notch’d Brewing Co. is opening a location in Scott’s Addition, where The Veil Brewing Co. and Buskey Cider are also set to open. And James River Distillery opened a tasting area and store at its production facility at 2700 Hardy St. near the Diamond.