After listing a bunch of places that I’m excited to eat at (Eat Here Now!), I thought it might be appropriate to rattle off some restaurants that have rubbed me the wrong way. Some of these details seem to be indicative of an unsound business, while others may have been isolate incidents, but enough to sour me against them nonetheless.
By the way, these places are concentrated in and around Carytown. It wasn’t intentional, on my part. They’re just within striking distance of my house, and being real about this, Carytown has almost as many boneheaded businesses as it does empty store fronts. I’ve got no vendetta here. I frequent Carytown and won’t be deterred by limited quality choices. Readers of this blog probably know by now that I just wanna see the good places flourish and the bad ones improve or pack up and go. So, here is some criticism toward that end, though not necessarily constructive.
Since I never see anyone go into or come out of this little pizza shop next to River City Cellars, I popped in for a slice to see what their “best pizza in Richmond” sign referred to. Hey, do you all make your own dough? “Yes. Um, no. He buys it pre-made from the food service.” Well, I’ll have a plain slice of cheese. “That’s $3.” (what!?) …When I got it and took my first bite, it was the opposite of the best slice of pizza in Richmond. So doughy and processed, possibly frozen. No flavor in the sauce and lifelessly stale cheese. After asking around, it seems the couple who run the place own the building and have no pressure to make a profit. READ: You should feel no pressure to support their shitty ass pizza. Seriously, is this a front? Can someone explain to me what the owners’ motive might be?
La Familia Deli
Cary and Addison
When I peeked inside, the open kitchen seemed to be missing something… Cooking equipment! I ordered a falafel anyway. She went to the fridge, took out tupperware, then popped two falafel balls into the microwave. (heart sinks into stomach and appetite dries up). Ate it anyways. No complaints except for the rubberiness and dry falafel balls making my mouth feel like Texas. They’re new, so maybe they’ll improve. To be continued? Probably not by me. Life is too short.
Oasis Hooka Bar
W. Broad near VCU
See above story about La Familia, but add in stoned VCU students watching a big screen with pina colada flavored hookah tobacco.
Carytown Burgers and Fries
Nansemond and… by Ukrops in Carytown
When we ordered dinner via delivery from this place, it took a good long while to arrive. The bag full of food contained virtually no heat. Inside, Karen’s burger featured a layer of lettuce soup that soaked the bun and the luke warm and tough meat patty. What had happened was the hot burger cooked the cold toppings, which gave up their water and put out the heat in the meat. Twaz nasty, but not as unappealing as the fries. They weren’t just cold. I interrogated them thoroughly and the fries couldn’t even remember being hot, it had been that long. They’d started to take on a petrified quality. Friends, beware the consequences of convenience and impulse.
The coffee is always as weak as water and the baked goods aren’t very inspired. I’m sure they do some things well (besides the outdoor lounge), but I don’t know what and I don’t think I wanna expend any more time trying to figure it out. Please clue me in with a comment.
Carytown, near McCloy
I like quirky service if the place delivers the goods. And often, Can Can does. But, if you make my wife unhappy, it’s my foot in your ass. Karen will never complain at a restaurant, so I feel like I have to stand up for her. It’s not a policy of mine, just a knee jerk reaction. Can Can has twice poisoned my wife with caffeinated coffee. She can’t have the stuff on doctor’s orders. It sends her into hours long panic attacks. But, she’s addicted to decaf (the siren song of coffee flavor will do that to you). After the second time it happened, she emailed them with polite comments and questions (at firstname.lastname@example.org) and they never wrote her back. Now, Can Can has earned a place on this wall of shame. And yes, we’ll still be seeing you once a week for our usual almond croissant and biscotti (can’t seem to quit those).
Carytown, on Colonial
I have this pet peeve against any place in Carytown with Carytown in its name. Can you be any less creative? Getting past that, the cupcake fad is another annoyance of mine. This new place makes extra small cupcakes of varying quality, with not-so interesting flavors. And, they’re $3 a pop. If there truly is a sucker born every minute, this place is here to stay. .
Ben and Jerry’s
Cary and Colonial, in Carytown
Opening an ice cream shop on the same block as a small locally owned ice cream shop is a dick move. As much as I agree with the politics and mission of the Ben and Jerry’s franchise, I have no idea what they were thinking trying to squeeze out our own Bev’s. If that weren’t enough, something about the B&J product just doesn’t taste right there. I had a coupon for two sundaes and they were aweful and still too expensive, even though one was free. I urge you to vote with your stomach by going to Bev’s for superior ice cream.
Jean Jacques Bakery
Saying a negative word about this place would have been unheard of years ago. And I’m sure there are areas where they continue to excel. But, Can Can is running laps around Jacques bakery when it comes to everyday confection, like croissants. My wife is the real connoisseur in this area, nibbling on pastries pretty regularly. As of now, she’s done with Jean and grieving quietly.