Rappahannock in Richmond, VA
On my last work trip, I had the opportunity to pop into Rappahannock in downtown Richmond. I had heard so much about the Rappahannock Oyster Company, their great staff (Bella Macbeth is one) and their true farm-to-table concept. Ryan and Travis Croxton inherited 200 acres of oyster farm leases from their dads, and refused to let the family history fall to the wayside. With the help of a local group of retirees ("oyster gardeners") showing some oyster cultivating promise, off-bottom aquaculture, and even a little googling, they planted their first crop, 3,000 oysters in March 2002. They refined their technique for years to become one of the first commercially viable aquaculture operations in the Chesapeake.
With that start and a desire to bring the farm to consumers, Rappahannock has opened a tasting room in Topping, VA (Merroir) and restaurants in DC, Richmond, and most recently, Charleston. They have been featured in Travel and Leisure, Thrillist, Food & Wine, and more.
Richmond's restaurant, as they quote, goes "beyond oysters and partner[s] with like-minded farmers/fisherman across the spectrum to bring a fresh approach to fine dining, whereby the “story” (good food grown well) is at the forefront."
And it feels like family there with stories to tell. Warm welcomes by the staff, servers and bartenders make you feel like you belong. I was so thrilled to have a moment with Travis and Wendy to talk about the bars and the recent feature of Bella. The oysters were nothing short of goodness and highly recommending the oyster chowder - savory, smokey heaven.
Be sure to add this to your list. I personally cannot wait to visit Merroir, a concept I love and admire.
(Rop photo of bar source: blog.virginia.org, picture below my own)