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The next round of good food in Church Hill

In 2008, we were waiting for Alamo BBQ and a handful of other joints to open up. In 2012, the “coming soon” list included Sub Rosa, Proper Pie, Dutch & Co, and WPA Bakery. Right now there are at least 7 more food spots announced or rumored.

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Kathi Sanders 11/25/2017 at 10:00 AM

So exciting!! Has anyone heard any possibilities for the space on the southwest corner at 32nd and Marshall?? Inquiring minds…

Imani Clark 11/25/2017 at 10:58 AM

But why

Imani Clark 11/25/2017 at 10:59 AM

We do not need no more lil restaurants in church hill we have to many already how about some good for the Communityyea that sound good

Imani Clark 11/25/2017 at 11:00 AM

Y’all just don’t understand if you did not grow up in church hill

Tom Smith 11/25/2017 at 2:19 PM

Wonderful news!

John Murden Jr. 11/25/2017 at 2:23 PM

Imani – what would you like to see open?

Martha McConnell Looney 11/25/2017 at 4:36 PM

What about the old dog and pig show spot? Heard it will be a prepared food market by @union market.

Kathi Sanders 11/25/2017 at 5:16 PM

Restaurants bring jobs and $ to the community, both of which are in short supply in the East End. I can’t find anything wrong with that prospect!

Chris 11/25/2017 at 10:18 PM

Ed Vasaios,(Owner of 8 and 1/2), PLEASE bring your crab spaghetti and meat lasagna to Church Hill.

PS – Santa’s watching…….

CMM 11/25/2017 at 11:07 PM

@2. Why? So people can have jobs, attract residents, create a tax base. Why does anyone start any business? Because they are willing to bet there is demand and they can make money for themselves, and jobs for others.

Would you prefer those buildings sit empty, and lots vacant?

Chris 11/26/2017 at 1:01 AM

Imani, so our opinion doesn’t matter “unless” we grew up in Church Hill?

Justin Cropper 11/26/2017 at 6:29 AM

8 1/2 !

Charles F 11/26/2017 at 1:32 PM

great news, I bet Church Hill can support these places easily.

Liz 11/27/2017 at 8:32 AM

This is so exciting!!! I may never leave the Hill!!

Kathi Sanders 11/27/2017 at 9:32 AM

I agree, Charles F.!! What’s even better is that people are coming from outside Church Hill to eat at our restaurants!!

Paul 11/27/2017 at 12:04 PM

I don’t think Imani meant that outsiders’ opinions don’t matter; I think she meant that, if you didn’t grow up in Church Hill, you may not see the subtle and overt things taking place.

Vacant buildings getting new life, businesses bringing in money, and jobs being created are all good things.

But I know many people who grew up in the community who see restaurants and stores that look like they are for a different demographic, with prices that make them inaccessible to a large portion of our neighborhood. They look through the windows and often don’t see customers that look like them, or more concerning, no staff that look like them.

A good thing, done in the wrong way, can become a bad thing.

I’m no CH native, but in the ~10 years I’ve lived here, I’ve seen more happen to create and benefit a new Church Hill, rather than benefit the existing, long-standing community.

The answer isn’t leaving things empty — it’s new businesses coming in with an understanding of the existing community and the willingness to move forward with that in mind. The Neighborhood Scoop and Front Porch Cafe are both examples of this. Neither started until they took time to listen and learn from the community, and both have sought to hire from within that community. They are creating business models that honor the community, not bypass it.

We have an opportunity before us as a community; not to create a different Church Hill, but to discover together how to cultivate a thriving Church Hill for all its neighbors, not just the new ones (like me).

Lee 11/27/2017 at 2:15 PM

@Imani – I think what you mean is that these places may not be affordable/practical/etc. Or lower income and/or longtime residents of the neighborhood. Even if you are correct, that doesn’t stop other businesses or organizations from opening in the neighborhood, and these places will provide jobs and tax revenue for the city.

Furthermore, I know a few of the folks opening these restaurants. It’s really not my place to comment on their plans for their business, but I believe they intend to try to make sure their food offerings are healthy and accessible/affordable for EVERYONE in Church Hill. I’ll ask them if they want to comment here.

Finally, have you seen the new front porch cafe (I believe they serve as a job training and skills development center for local youth as well as a coffee shop)? Or the not quite as new Richmond Cycling Corps. space in Fairmount? Aren’t these the kinds of business and organizations that are good for everybody in the neighborhood?

Tim Parker 11/27/2017 at 5:16 PM

Very nice input. I agree.

Blue Wheeler will be Lee Gregory’s Alewife - Church Hill People's News | Richmond, Virginia 11/27/2017 at 7:51 PM

[…] a detail to update the recent roundup of restaurants planned for the area: the former Blue Wheeler will be Lee Gregory’s […]

CMM 11/28/2017 at 4:28 PM

Are you kidding? You just defended people objecting to folks who “don’t look like them” being in their hood. That is racist as hell.

Also the reason those businesses aren’t courting low income crime ridden areas is because that is a crappy business plan, just ask every grocery that has failed in the area.

Paul 11/29/2017 at 10:38 PM

Hey Jaron and CMM,

I apologize that something I wrote upset you. I don’t know your stories, nor in what ways you’ve been wounded enough to warrant calling my comments insipid and racist, and it’s not my place to take guesses.

To be clear, I’m not “defending people objecting to folks who don’t look like them being in their hood”. Neither I, nor Imani, said that, nor do either of us believe white people shouldn’t be here. I’m very much a white guy, and I’m here.

I get it though; “gentrification” is a loaded topic, and the hint of it can lead us to hear and assume plenty from words on a post. This is why dialogue is so important, and if that’s something you’re interested in, I am too.

Honestly, I’m not anti-gentrification; it’s an odd stance to take, as neighborhoods will always change. I am, though, a proponent of intentional, community-centric change — change that considers the existing community as it seeks to bring improvements.

I’m also not anti-restaurant — I have many restaurant friends — but I do think any business, coming into any environment, should consider the impact they may have on that environment. They should listen to the voices that predate them there.

When they do, they can discover a business plan in which they, and the full community, thrive. Yes, grocery stores have failed, but the fact ground has broken on one within walking distance of 4 housing projects on 25th is a big deal. They knew the all of the troubling stats, but they also knew what the community needed, and they made a plan. They believe it is possible to improve a neighborhood in ways that benefit the low-income sections too.

People like me — white, well-meaning guys — have a habit of wanting to make neighborhoods better without stopping to find out if we really know what’s best, without stopping to listen. 10 years ago I knew all the things that would make Church Hill better; 10 years later I’ve learned to humble myself and listen to the community members that lived her long before me. It’s helped me to learn that, just because something seems affordable to me, doesn’t mean it is affordable to everyone. It’s helped me to stop seeing the “poor areas” as crime-ridden, and instead as communities of people of value that have clear obstacles and challenges impacting them daily. More importantly, though, I’ve learned, if I don’t listen, my best intentions can cause the most harm.

My desire is not to argue — I imagine you could both take me down in an argument — but I do desire to challenge myself, and any willing to listen, to step back and find the ways our worldviews and understandings might be limited (spoiler: all of ours are).

There are — and have been for a long time — so many voices like Imani’s that are silenced or ignored because we assume they are ignoring logic, or seem anti-progress, or simply don’t carry weight because of what part of the neighborhood they’re coming from. But those voices matter.

We are all a part of Church Hill, and as change inevitably comes, we can choose to work towards the beauty of embracing full community, or remain in the tension of division.

I’m happy to dialogue more. He can even hit up a local establishment.

BRENDA 11/30/2017 at 10:29 AM

Thank you for your thoughtful, constructive approach to this discussion. I value this forum for getting different perspectives on issues affecting our community and appreciate voices such as yours that help to frame input in a respectful way.

Paul 11/30/2017 at 7:55 PM

Thanks Brenda (and Tim)! I agree, CHPN Is a great space for important conversations to start. The civic associations too!

Dubois2 12/02/2017 at 9:17 AM

This is like comedy up in here. Thanks for the Saturday morning couch coffee laughs. Ima go hug it out on the corner, but intentionally.

lanny 12/02/2017 at 10:34 AM

#24 – Full agreement.

People posting things; other people explaining those things by saying “…I think what you mean…” or “…I don’t think you meant…;” meandering discourse on business as charity (or vice versa); and on gentrification – which the city’s mayor has jumped into with both feet in his plans for downtown revitalization (but it’s OK when your “superiors” do it).

“You could tell by the way he talked, though, that he had gone to school a long time. That was probably what was wrong with him.”
? John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces



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