RICHMOND, Va. -- Ben Watters and Rachel Best. the couple behind Blue Atlas Restaurant and Market in Richmond, Virginia, started their business and their family during the pandemic.
For Watters, Blue Atlas was born out of his passion for food and learning how other cultures eat.
"I love being a food dork," Watters told Scott Wise and Robey Martin during his Eat It, Virginia podcast interview. "If I find something on Instagram that I've never heard of before, like the Georgian flatbread we now serve, we both do the deep dive on why they make it the way they do, why they're using this certain type of yeast, why they do this with the cheese, and all these cool components. So that we're learning along."
It's that curiosity which has shaped Blue Atlas into its current mission.
"We're a shared, small plate experience of global cuisine," Watters said when asked to describe Blue Atlas. "We have the menu broken up into the four regions of the world and we try and represent them to the best of our ability."
Blue Atlas is located in an old school building on Carlisle Avenue in Richmond's Fulton Hill neighborhood.
Watters said he and his team put a lot of work into the property since it opened.
"I do love our patio. It's come a long way," he said. "Derek my bar manager, is a super handy guy. So all those lights...those didn't exist originally. We actually did a wedding and a random lighting company did that very similar setup. As soon as I walked out there, I was like we should copy this immediately. Then he came up with the plan and he put in two little garden beds, which were really great because we did a ton of preserving and different methods but then they use later in the winter season. So it's kind of cool to be able to take stuff we actually grew and continue to use pickled peppers way into January as opposed to you know, buying not great peppers."
Learn about the couple's journey toward opening a restaurant during the pandemic, their attempt to balance restaurant ownership with parenthood, and the meal that helped Ben win Rachel's heart.
Also on this episode, Scott and Robey share their Best Bites of the Week, Robey's at Parterre Restaurantin Richmond and Scott's at Fine Creek Brewing in Powhatan.
EAT IT, VIRGINIA restaurant news and interviews