Throughout 2014, the food and foodways that flavor Virginia received a lot of attention, from James Beard nods, awards recognizing chefs and restaurants, and write ups in newspapers and magazines.
In fact, Esquire magazine named Virginia the food region of the year.
We blush with all the attention.
And while 2014 was a great year, 2015 is shaping up to be even better. In Parts 1 and 2 of this post, we looked at 24 new restaurants that tempted our tastebuds; in this post we take a glimpse at a few restaurants yet-to-open that are on our radar in the new year.
Here are five for 2015:
This is the third of a three-part series.
COCHON ON 2ND | WILLIAMSBURG
Cochon on 2nd promises “seasonal menus with local ingredients and regional flavors.” The restaurant will offer an upscale-but-comfortable experience.
A sample menu from Chef Neil Griggs showcases a number of dishes; the Wood Grilled Red Barn Berkshire Cochon Chop with White Bean Cassoulet sounds divine.
COMMUNE CREPES | VIRGINIA BEACH
Already operating at a pop-up restaurant in Coastal Virginia, Commune Crepes will be opening a brick-and-mortor store in 2015. The eatery focuses on local, sustainable ingredients. Behind the efforts is New Earth Farms’ Kevin Jamison.
Look for a number of savory and sweet crepes, in addition to soups and salad. We love the sound of the Shroomery: mixed, sautéed mushrooms and herbs with Appalachian cheese.
ESOTERIC VB | VIRGINIA BEACH
Raising a phoenix from the ashes, restaurateur Kristina Chastain and her chef husband, Tim, are taking a dilapidated, historic building and turn it into a “juxtaposition of outdoor and indoor space” with an urban streetscape feel and outdoor terrace.
Chef Ian Hock will head up the kitchen with modern American cuisine and a new take on 100-year-old Cypriot family recipes from Kristina. Craft beers and soda along with creative cocktails will wet the whistle.
GWARBar | RICHMOND
Spoiler alert: GWARbar has already opened. Jan. 2 was the first day for “gourmet junk food” eatery partially owned by and inspired by the science fiction-themed thrash metal band, which formed in Richmond. Travis Croxton (Rappahannock Restaurant, Richmond) is also behind GWARBar, which we’ve been told you have to see to believe.
As promised, look for gourmet junk food: hand-ground burgers, housemade hot dogs, The Meat Sandwich (GWAR-B-Q?) and we’ve heard something about upscale Twinkies that we have to investigate.
JUNCTION | CHARLOTTESVILLE
Palladio’s (Charlottesville) acclaimed chef for 14 years, Melissa Close-Hart, is leaving in 2015 to head Junction, which promises “Modern Mexican cuisine” in a character-filled 100-year-old building.
The dishes will be a big change from the fine Italian dining folks have come to love from Close-Hart at Palladio, but photos foreshadowing some potential menu options at a benefit dinner in December looked ah-maz-ing.
We’d love to hear about all the great plans for 2015 – if you know of a restaurant opening, a new chef coming on board, a cool wine dinner or other event, please leave a comment!
Patrick Evans-Hylton, a Johnson & Wales University trained chef, is a Norfolk, Va.-based food journalist, historian and educator. His work has appeared in print, television, radio and social media since 1995. Evans-Hylton calls his cookbook, Dishing Up Virginia, his love letter to the state’s foods and foodways. He blogs at PatrickEvansHylton.com.