Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The State of Things and Looking Ahead

It's been so long! I can't keep up. The economy sucks and has taken its toll on a handful of great restaurants that I'd tried or who were on my list to try.

Regina's Pasta Factory - Cosner's Corner - Closed
Was amazing the first few visits. I loved the family atmosphere that Dario and his wife provided there, it was as if one was walking into their home. Warm, welcoming, the smells of garlic and tomato permeated the air. The antipasto salad was incredible, the fresh pasta unbeatable. The sauces were flavorful, authentic and delicious. I loved that we could bring our own bottles of wine to enjoy.

And then something happened. I don't know if it was too much business too soon, if there wasn't enough business, if things were mishandled or inconsistent, if the location was poor... but something happened. Regina's in Southpoint is no longer. I had heard unfavorable reviews over the past few months and the last time I went, the pasta wasn't as good, but everyone has a down day now and then, right? I'm sad.

Thankfully, J and I were able to take a one-on-one cooking class with the owners of Regina's last November, when times were good. We know how to make the pasta and I've figured out the Mi Amore sauce, which was my favorite there.

I'm sad for Dario and Elizabeth, I hate to see good ventures fail. I don't know if their King George restaurant closed also, but I wish them well, hope for the best and I'm thankful that we were able to learn something from them and enjoy their hospitality for even a little while.

Sully's Steak and Seafood - Southpoint - Closed
My personal experiences at Sully's were always good. I loved the firecracker shrimp, they grilled a mean steak, their lunch deals were amazing, everyone was friendly and I was always pleased with the service.

I tried to run in there a couple months ago and saw that it was no longer open. (I don't get out much) The Mad Crab has a second location there now, so I'll need to check it out.

Buttermilk and Olde Lace - Downtown Fredericksburg - Closed
This was a fairly new restaurant at The Chimneys downtown. I'd heard good things, and my daughter and I ran in once to grab a menu. It was overly decorated with antiques and Victorian charm and the food smelled amazing... but it also apparently fell victim to either a floundering economy or the ridiculous politics associated with owning a restaurant in downtown Fredericksburg. I never saw a bad review for B&OL, and was really looking forward to a Sunday brunch one day. Nothing seems to stay at The Chimneys for long.

Barefoot's Seafood - Downtown Fredericksburg - Closed
Closed Oct 2011. I can't comment too much on Barefoot's because I worked there. A lot. I was there to open the restaurant, I was there to experience first hand the drama, the chaos, the weirdness that every restaurant has it's share of. I made good friends during my time, and it was definitely a learning experience. I think that with a couple minor changes and one major tweak, Barefoot's would have been a huge money maker... but for various reasons, couldn't make it through the growing pains. I saw the very best and the very worst that the business has to offer at Barefoot's, realized it was a sinking ship and eventually left. I've been fortunate enough to stay in touch with some of my favorite customers. I miss the fried oysters and being able to have crab bisque every day. I miss my wine distributors. I do hope that someone can build a successful business there because it appeared that Fredericksburg really enjoyed having a crab shack and seafood house.

I'm sure I'm forgetting some, but I am looking forward to trying some new places soon. I owe you a years' worth of reviews and am working on them now. In the next few weeks, look for my searches for the best reuben, the most amazing crabcakes and the tastiest steak in the 'burg and just my usual two cents on:

Soup and Taco, etc. - Downtown Fredericksburg
Smyrna Mediterranean Cuisine - Ferry Farm
Fujiya House - Central Park
The Tavern at Lee's Hill
Delaplane Winery - Delaplane, VA
Vintage Ridge Winery - Rectortown, VA
Lake Anna Winery - Lake Anna, VA
Red Bowl - Spotsylvania
Castiglias - Downtown Fredericksburg
Palladio Restaurant at Barboursville
The Inn at Poplar Springs, Casanova, VA
Blarneystone - Downtown Fredericksburg
Vita Felice - Lee's Hill
Colonial Tavern - Downtown Fredericksburg
Amy's Cafe, Downtown Fredericksburg
Paul's Bakery
Old Towne Steak and Seafood - Downtown Fredericksburg
The Bavarian Chef - Downtown Fredericksburg
Pho Saigon -
Carl's - Downtown Fredericksburg
The Bavarian Chef - Downtown Fredericksburg

...and probably a few others, depending on where I happen to be when hunger strikes.

I'm really going to try to be better about posting updates and getting out there to try out new places and foods, and love getting suggestions on new restaurants (or just new to me) and specific dishes.

Is it lunchtime yet?

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