The Village Cafe: I doubt thee, Guy Fieri…

I’m watching Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on the Food Network, and let me go ahead and apologize for that. My only excuse is that there really isn’t anything on Monday nights. In any event, one of the restaurants that Guy et al are featuring tonight is Richmond, VA’s The Village Cafe. I must say I am a little flabbergasted, and I’m feeling a little old.

Now, I moved away from Richmond a long LONG time ago– 15 years ago– and I am aware that things have changed around there. In fact, even the location of The Village changed; sometime right before or right after I moved (I can’t remember), it moved from across the street– Harrison Street, that is. It stayed on Grace Street. In any event, when I first moved to Richmond (gulp) 20 years ago, I lived about 2 blocks away. This was before VCU bought up a lot of the property around there and expanded toward Broad Street. In those days, the Village had pretty decent food but was still a skanky dive. I mean, it wasn’t completely and utterly scary, but it was right across the street from a porn theater (for the youngsters out there: pornography used to be in public theaters and not readily available on the internets), there was some much more scary bars down the street one way, and there was an intersection notorious for crack dealers and transsexual hookers in the other direction.

In short, the Village was not exactly a, um, wholesome destination. In fact, since I generally ate there after more than my fair share of “party beverages,” I cannot accurately attest to the quality of the food one way or other, at least not with a clear or completely sober conscious. Further, in the handful of trips I’ve made back to Richmond since I left for PhD studies (since Annette’s parents moved in 1998 or so, I think I’ve been back briefly twice), the Village is not even remotely on the radar. I realize that area of Grace has improved quite a bit in the last 20 years and the Village Cafe looked at least a bit cleaner on TV this evening, but Annette and I have so far have made Joe’s Inn our Richmond Fan restaurant visit.

So maybe the Village Cafe is really good right now. Or maybe not. After all, Guy and his little show featured Blimpy Burger not to long ago, which is far from my favorite place to get a burger around here. But regardless, it brought back some memories. Maybe we’ll stop by the next time we’re in RVa.

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