RICHMOND, Va. – One of Richmond’s most successful restaurant groups is co-owned by a woman who got her taste for the business while working as a VCU art major at the Tobacco Company.
“It was from there that the chef suggested I go culinary school because I asked a ton of questions,” says Michelle Williams, who will host #CBS6TakeoverTuesday. “The rest is history.”
Chances are you have eaten at one of her six restaurants – The Daily, Pearl Raw Bar, East Coast Provisions, The Hill Café or The Hard Shell.
The Richmond-native and Freeman grad formed the Richmond Restaurant group in 1995, with partners Jared Golden and Ted Wallof. She was in her early twenties when she opened The Hard Shell in Shockoe Bottom.
“Twenty-two years ago when I got into business it was unheard of to be a female chef and owner of a restaurant,” Williams says. “I had a lot to prove to gain the respect of the typically male dominated industry.
“You just have to be tough, but fair and kind,” she adds.
Apparently, one has to also be very industrious.
Not only does she juggle the details of six open and two under construction restaurants, she also helped start a non-profit and an oyster business.
Williams and her husband are founding partners of Real Local RVA, whose mission is “to educate, support and raise awareness of the local food movement and choices in the Greater Richmond area.”
Add a six-year-old boy into the mix and let’s just say that Michelle’s day has a lot of moving parts.
Speaking of children, when asked which restaurant is her favorite, she responds: “That’s like asking what is your favorite kid.”
“Really, I love them all,” she says. “They all have unique things about them.”
Takeover Tuesday was launched by CBS 6 as a way to introduce you to different faces of the Richmond community.
We are doing this all summer long, and at the end, you vote for who had the best takeover and we donate to the winner’s chosen nonprofit.
Michelle chooses FeedMore, which is Central Virginia’s core hunger-relief organization comprised of programs like the Central Virginia Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, the Mobile Pantry and Kids Cafe.
#CBS6TakeoverTuesday by @michellewilliams8 Good morning #RVA. I'm excited to take over @cbs6 instagran today. In case you missed yesterday's post l am Michelle Williams @michellewilliams8. I am an operating partner of the Richmond Restaurant Group. We currently have six (soon to be eight) restaurants, East Coast Provisions, The Daily, Pearl, The Hill Cafe and two Hard Shells. (@eastcoastrva @dailykitchenbar @pearlrva @hardshellbellgrade ) Appropriately, my charity is FeedMore @feedmoreinc. If you like my feed today I hope you will vote to help raise some money for this fabulous hard working charity. FeedMore's mission is to provide nutritious meals to central Virginia's most vulnerable populations. My day starts with the pitter patter of little feet coming down the hall. Meet my 6 year old son Beckett. I cherish our morning snuggles before a busy day. Alright, let's go have some fun and feel free to ask questions if you want. #visitrichmond #explorerva #visitrichmond #loveva #explorerva #richmond #virginia #richmondva #dining #rva #rvadine
#CBS6TakeoverTuesday by @michellewilliams8 Every morning before work l enjoy going for a run or walk. #RVA is so beautiful. I live by the #jamesriver so I get the added bonus of beautiful views like this one. It's my me time for the day. I spend most of my day inside so I love to soak up the bright morning sun. #visitrichmond #visitvirginia #loveva #explorerva #richmond #virginia #rva #rvadine #jamesriver
#CBS6TakeoverTuesday by @michellewilliams8 I love all of the wildlife you come across in #Rva. We have eagles nesting, a fox family and lots of deer in our neighborhood. Added morning bonus this little guy. #visitrichmond #visitvirginia #loveva #explorerva #richmond #virginia #rva #rvadine #jamesriver #outdoors #deer #wildlife
#cbs6takeovertuesday by @michellewilliams8 First stop @dailykitchenbar. Did you know we serve breakfast starting at 7am 7 days a week? #rvadine #rva #carytown #visitrichmond #visitvirginia #loveva #explorerva #richmond #virginia #richmondva
#cbs6takeovertuesday by @michellewilliams8 My day to day activities have changed drastically since Jared, @tedwallof and I opened our first restaurant The Hard Shell in 1995. Now that we have 6 restaurants I don't cook anymore, my job is more about running the businesses. Today I'm meeting with Marty from Victor Products so he can tell me how over budget our proposed kitchen is for @dailykitchenbar at Greengate. The package is 33 pages long and 30% over budget. My smile didn't last very long when he gave me the price. Time to get out the red pen 😣. #rvadine #rva
#cbs6takeovertuesday by @michellewilliams8. Here's a little behind the scenes peak of @dailykitchenbar. Top left some of our walkin cooler space with @urbanchoicemushrooms, @cabbagehillfarms herbs and micro greens and lots of other organic goodies. Top right our delicious pastured eggs from Avery's Branch Farms. Bottom left a portion of our wine cellar. And bottom right the lunch crew hard at work. We average 6 minute ticket times for lunch and everything is made from scratch to order so we can meet everyone's dietary needs. #rva #rvadine #eatclean #whatsforlunch #explorerva
#cbs6takeovertuesday by @michellewilliams8. I run around a lot throughout the day. Next stop is @eastcoastrva to check on my wonderful always chipper hubby (see his face 😜) @oscar_enroughty and chef @trevor_a_knotts. They cook a mean lunch. You should check it out if you haven't already. Pictured here are the fresh Maine lobster roll a Salmon Salad. #whatsforlunch #rvadine #rva
#cbs6takeovertuesday by @michellewilliams8. A quick lunch before a meeting with my brother @echadwilliams from Creative Visual Design and his girlfriend @wodehizzle @eastcoastrva. #rvadine #whatsforlunch #rva
#cbs6takeovertuesday by @michellewilliams8 My phone was on the fritz so I went to see my friends over at @fruitfixed across from @eastcoastrva. He had me in and out in less time than it took for me to eat lunch. Of all days for my phone to not be holding a charge. Thanks Justin for always taking care of my phone issues….and trust me I put my phone through some abuse.
#cbs6takeovertuesday by @michellewilliams8 Working with my brother and owner of Creative Visual Design @echadwilliams. We are making updates to the @reallocalrva and @eastcoastrva websites. I have an office but rarely am in it because it's in the basement of @dailykitchenbar with no windows. Every inch of a restaurant is used for something so there is no room for an elaborate office space. I have a table in each place that I normally do my work from and it's typically where I can watch what's going on in the restaurant at the same time. My friends will tell you I'm always multi tasking. #rva #rvadine #explorerva #feedmorerva
#cbs6takeovertuesday by @michellewilliams8 My partner Jared and I had to run out to the construction site for a quick meeting for @dailykitchenbar at Greengate. @echadwilliams came along with his new toy to take a cool shot of the project. The Daily is the building on the front right. The building for @westcoastrva has broken ground in the background but isn't up yet. We are really excited to be working with Markel Eagle on this project. Our eta for The Daily is by the end of this year. Tick toc! #feedmorerva #explorerva #rvadine #rva
#cbs6takeovertuesday by @michellewilliams8 All work and no play is just no fun. Today I enjoyed a tasting with the folks from Williams Corner Winery. They have wines in more than 60 Rva restaurants. They specialize in organic and biodynamic wines. We are looking to add their products soon @dailykitchenbar and @eastcoastrva #feedmorerva #explorerva #rvadine #rva
#cbs6takeovertuesday by @michellewilliams8 pre service lineup with @trevor_a_knotts @eastcoastrva. Every night we go over the specials and let the staff see and try them so they know what they are selling. One of tonight's specials is a watermelon salad , avocado, pea shoots, hibiscus consommé, lemon perserve, and mint infused oil. #rvadine #feedmorerva #explorerva #rva
This post is out of order but I ran out of time this morning! I stopped in to see my friend Beth the owner of @sugartwine bakery located a couple of doors down from @dailykitchenbar. She makes all of our buns for @dailykitchenbar @eastcoastrva and @pearlrva out of the little kitchen she has in the back. Baking starts at 5am and goes until closing. She's a genius with the flour and sugar. In addition to her busy retail bakery she makes us over 750 buns a week and around 50 GLUTEN FREE chocolate lava cakes that are to die for. I promise if I didn't tell you, you'd never know they are gluten free. Pic on the left are buns coming out and going in on the right is the #callebaut chocolate used in the lava cakes. #mmm #rvadine #feedmorerva #cbs6takeovertuesday #rva @michellewilliams8
Last post before heading home to cook dinner for my hubby @oscar_enroughty and son Beckett. Top picture is tonight's tuna special @dailykitchenbar, bottom picture is command center. These screens have changed our lives in the kitchen. They are one of the best investments we've made. It helps streamline the process for the kitchen. They get to concentrate on a handful of tickets at a time instead of getting bogged down with the other 15-20 orders they can't see. They are able to focus on fewer things at once and the result is timelier better tasting food. Plus we are doing our part by saving a few trees in the process. #cbs6takeovertuesday #feedmorerva #rvadine #rva @michellewilliams8
#cbs6takeovertuesday by @michellewilliams8 25 things you may (or may not) want to know about me: 1. After dinner we like to take a walk in the neighborhood and hang out with our neighbors and their kids. We feel lucky to live in the city but still have a neighborhood feel. 2. One of my pet peeves is tardiness. If I can be on time anyone can. 3. I always have a water bottle with me. 4. I gave up caffeine 1 1/2 years ago and feel much better since I did. 5. My nickname is Mama because I have a couple hundred kids (my employees). 6. My husband likes to call me Matt Lauer because I know a little something about everything. 7. My husband @oscar_enroughty and I have started an oyster business on the Rappahannock River. Our oysters are called Cedar Pointe Oysters named after the road our house is on. They will be available in our restaurants this fall. 8. I was a gymnast and can still do the splits. 9. I am the clumsiest person I know…well except for maybe my mom and my best friend @mistymclark, cuz you know birds of a feather… until I step into a kitchen and then the butterfingers disappear. 10. We have a menagerie, 2 cats, 2 dogs and a lizard. Because you know, we needed something else to do 😂 11. My partner Jared Golden and I really love projects. Whenever we finish one we start looking for another. We are opening 2 restaurants and remodeling @thehardshellbellgrade in the next 12 months. 12. I didn't get married until I was 37. Probably because I couldn't find a man that was patient enough and crazy enough to put up with me….thanks babe for loving me for me 😘 13. I have a hard time being out in public. I'm so used to being behind the scenes that I struggle with small talk. 14. I drive my friends crazy when we eat out together because I'm listening to the conversation and even participating but my eyes are going everywhere looking at what's going on. Right @staceymeredith? 15. I talk very fast….And have eagle ears. Ask my employees. 16. Speaking of employees. I think they would tell you that I'm tough, but fair and kind. Unless you cross me then I'm done with you.
One of Richmond’s most successful restaurant groups is co-owned by a woman who got her taste for the business while working as a VCU art major at the Tobacco Company. “It was from there that the chef suggested I go culinary school because I asked a ton of questions,” says Michelle Williams, who will host #CBS6TakeoverTuesday, tomorrow. “The rest is history.” Chances are you have eaten at one of her six restaurants – The Daily, Pearl Raw Bar, East Coast Provisions, The Hill Café or The Hard Shell. “Twenty-two years ago when I got into business it was unheard of to be a female chef and owner of a restaurant,” Williams says. “I had a lot to prove to gain the respect of the typically male dominated industry. “You just have to be tough, but fair and kind,” she adds. Apparently, one has to also be very industrious. Not only does she juggle the details of six open and two under construction restaurants, she also helped start the non-profit Real Local RVA and runs an oyster business. Takeover Tuesday was launched by CBS 6 as a way to introduce you to different faces of the Richmond community. We are doing this all summer long, and at the end, you vote for who had the best takeover and we donate to the winner’s chosen nonprofit. Michelle chooses FeedMore, which is Central Virginia’s core hunger-relief organization comprised of programs like the Central Virginia Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, the Mobile Pantry and Kids Cafe. Make sure to welcome her tomorrow and follow along!!!!