Photo Credit: TallTravelEats
TallTravelEats Shares Where To Find The Best Food In Richmond, VA
Dominic “Dom” Brown was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, where he still resides to this day. Though today he is well-known for his food and travel blog, TallTravelEats, he wasn’t always a food connoisseur. Growing up, he was actually a very picky eater.
“I would eat a lot of Southern cuisine, but I didn’t venture out from it and try new things,” says Dom. “My family made a lot of homecooked meals, so I told myself, once I got the opportunity to try new things, I was going to take advantage.”
This opportunity came after high school, when Dom left home to attend college and play basketball for his school in Sonora, CA. Attending college in another state allowed him to discover new foods and restaurants, and his food palate gradually began to expand.
“I had an animal-style burger from In-N-Out Burger and smoked tri-tip while in Northern California. These are two things you couldn’t find in Virginia at the time. This made me want more unique, mouth-watering foods to try.”
His college days in Northern California were also what sparked Dom’s passion for travel and exploration. Though a small town, Sonora is one of the closest cities to Yosemite National Park. Being so close to Yosemite, Dom would venture out and visit the park to explore in his downtime from school and athletics.
“I was amazed at how big the trees were at the park. Some of the redwoods are so big that you could drive a car through them. I had never seen anything like that in my life. I was truly amazed. That made me wonder what else is out there in the world?“
In his second season of junior college basketball, Dom was offered a scholarship to play basketball in another small town in Nebraska called North Platte. The school was surrounded by farmland and corn fields.
“Again, Nebraska was entirely different from Northern California and my home state of Virginia. There weren’t many tall buildings, and chain restaurants were limited. I used to find the town’s best ‘hole-in-the-wall’ restaurants to dine at. To my surprise, I found that at many restaurants, you could tell that the staff put their hearts into preparing the meal. I became even more eager to see what else the world had to offer.”
Dom told himself that after he completed college and got a job, he would begin a journey of traveling and eating around the world. After injuring himself in his second season of junior college basketball, he decided to return home to enroll at VCU School of Business. Soon after graduating from college, he worked as a business contractor for a Fortune 200 company and coached high school varsity basketball after work.
Being a business contractor gave Dom enough time to do what he loved: travel and eat. So, true to his word, he began booking trips at every break in his schedule. Little did he know, a trip to Madison Square Garden in NYC to see his alma mater play in the 2K Classic would change his life.
“I was sitting at the basketball game with my fiancée. When she tapped me to tell me people were staring at me, I told her they were probably just doing a double take. Just before halftime, the group of three made their way to my section. They asked if I was Dom Brown. I replied yes. They said they followed my online travel and food reviews and noticed me because of my height. That’s where the idea for the TallTravelEats name originated. This was also when I decided to take my travel and food journey more seriously. I started TallTravelEats and took more photos of my food travels.”
As of today, Dom has visited 40 states and various countries around the world. One of his favorite international foods he has eaten are stroopwafels from Rudi’s Original Stroopwafels in the Netherlands. Always one with a sweet tooth, he is something of an expert on desserts.
“Most of us have had stroopwafels, either from the store or served on an airplane. You will find this sweet dessert hot off the press at Rudi’s. It comes freshly made with caramel dripping down the sides. Hot stroopwafels are hands down the best dessert I’ve eaten while traveling.”
“Next up, London is known for its fish and chips. During my first visit to the UK, I tried a variety of fish and chips restaurants. The flavor profile of the lemon basil fish and chips at Hook left me wanting fish in the UK for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”
But Dom says you don’t have to go far to find great food. Some of his favs can be found right here in the US, in cities like Miami, Nashville, and even Scranton, PA.
“The table-side Cacio e pepe cheese wheel pasta at Sapore di Mare is one of the best hidden gems I have found for Italian food. Cacio e pepe is pasta tossed in a cheese wheel until it’s extra cheesy and then topped with truffles. I’m getting hungry just thinking about this delicious pasta.”
“The Cuban burgers (fritas) at El Rey De Las Fritas are also a must-have every time I visit Miami. These Cuban burgers are seasoned perfectly and topped with thin potato straws. I like my fritas with added sweet plantains. I could eat these awesome burgers daily.”
When it comes to pizza, New York and Chicago are usually the first cities to come to someone’s mind. But Dom says Northeast Pennsylvania is a hidden gem for pizza. A couple of hours outside of Philadelphia is the city of Scranton, where Maroni’s Pizza serves up one of Dom’s favorite pizzas.
“Now, everyone knows Nashville is the king of hot chicken, but the Nashville hot shrimp at 400 Degrees are the best fried shrimp I’ve ever eaten. These shrimp are cooked to order, and you’re able to pick your own spice level. Going three hours west, Memphis, Tennessee is known for its BBQ. The Bar-B-Q Shop ribs are in a league of their own. These ribs are cooked to BBQ perfection. Every bite leaves you wanting more and more. Whether you’re in the mood for dry-rubbed or sauced ribs, The Bar-B-Q Shop has the flavor.”
Heading further out west to Las Vegas, one of Dom’s favorite brunch spots is Truffles N Bacon Cafe, which he says is home to one of the best mac and cheese dishes he’s ever had.
“Their Hot Mama Mac is four-cheese mac topped with brisket, bacon jam, and hot Cheetos. All these ingredients combined create a flavor explosion in your mouth.”
If you’re going to be a food blogger, you better be knowledgeable and a go-to source when it comes to food in your hometown. Having lived in Richmond his entire life, Dom continues to make it his business to try every type of food in the city. Whether it’s a hole-in-the-wall or an upscale restaurant, you will find TallTravelEats exploring the menu.
“I know where to find hidden gems that most people didn’t know about. This gives me an advantage in discovering more places. I started to display food no one was posting or talking about. As time went on, I realized how many restaurants I had eaten at in Richmond. I always tell everyone I became a Richmond food expert on the day the Los Angeles Lakers owner, Jeanie Buss, started following me on Instagram.”
Though Richmond has a thriving food scene with tons of great restaurants, Dom feels his city is underrated as a food destination. Because most tourists come specifically to visit its many historical attractions, the food scene is often largely overlooked. However, TallTravelEats is changing that narrative by showcasing some of the amazing dishes and restaurants the city has to offer.
Here are some places you can find the best food in Richmond, according to TallTravelEats:
“The honey fried chicken is cooked to a nice crisp with a sweet finish. The sweetness paired with the savory chicken is a hit. Southern Kitchen is one of my most frequented places for fried chicken.”
The Original Ronnie's BBQ
“They are located just east of Richmond. Their BBQ ribs are smoked and seasoned just right. When you bite into their ribs, you can taste the love. These are some of the best smoked ribs ever.”
“If you travel to the southside of Richmond, there will be a family-run Mexican restaurant serving up authentic Mexican stews (guisos). Abuelita’s stews are flavorful alone but paired with house-made tortillas, you will quickly find out why everyone raves about Abuelita’s authentic food.”
“This is a Richmond staple. Croaker’s Spot fries fish to perfection. Their famous fried fish platters will have you smiling after just one bite. Fish platters come with onions, peppers, house potatoes, and sweet cornbread. Croaker’s Spot is one of the restaurants you cannot miss when you’re in Richmond because it is true Southern cuisine.”
“In one of the most popular neighborhoods, there’s a BBQ restaurant serving up Texas-style craft BBQ. If you haven’t been to Texas, ZZQ will take your taste buds to the Lone Star state. The Tres Hombres sandwich is one of the best BBQ sandwiches in Richmond and it’s always piled high.”
Buttermilk and Honey’s
“Chicken sandwiches have become one of the most popular foods in the country. Richmond has a new restaurant pumping out insanely delicious crispy chicken sandwiches. Whether you’re in the mood for a Korean fried chicken sandwich or a classic plain Jain, Buttermilk and Honey’s chicken sandwiches are must-haves for foodies.”
23rd & Main
“I can’t forget the honey truffle fries at 23rd & Main. Crispy fries tossed in truffle oil, honey, and shaved Parmesan. Need I say more? The fries come in a big bowl and are perfect for sharing.”
Festivals and Food Trucks
“A lot of people are not aware of the number of festivals and events that take place in Richmond. Throughout the year, Richmond hosts an array of themed festivals throughout the city. These festivals have great food, local entrepreneurs selling different items, live entertainment, and various family activities. To name a few, some of the more popular festivals and events in Richmond include River Rock, 2nd Street Festival, Watermelon Festival, Richmond Folk Festival, and Bacon Festival.”
“Unlike a lot of major cities, Richmond doesn’t have a large, designated food truck area where the trucks park daily. Most of the food trucks in Richmond go around to various pop-up events, like festivals. If anyone is visiting Richmond, don’t overlook the food trucks in the city.”
For more of these mouth-watering dishes and more, check out TallTravelEats’ 100 Best Things You Must Try When Visiting Richmond, VA list. This is the ultimate food guide for anyone visiting Richmond, Virginia curated by Dom.
“I look forward to continuing to expand the TallTravelEats brand by finding more mouth-watering dishes and unique travel experiences. I want to continue to inspire people as well as bring more exposure to small businesses in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia.”
Dom is looking forward to his upcoming trip two-week trip to Greece during which he will explore tourist attractions, hidden gems, and street foods in Santorini, Athens, and Thessaloniki. You can connect with TallTravelEats on Instagram, YouTube, and the website.