Friday, June 21, 2013

Richmond Rave: Garnett's Cafe

What follows is going to be one big long love letter to my most favorite Happy Hour spot in Richmond - Garnett's Cafe. Ever since my first trip there, I have been meaning to write a Richmond Rave about Garnett's, but for some reason it just never happens. I've been collecting photos with each successive visit and have finally decided that it is high time that I sit down and tell you all just how much I adore this place.


Garnett's is nestled in the Fan on the corner of Park and Meadow. It's a tiny tiny place that makes me think of my grandmother's kitchen, circa 1950. There's a Kit Cat Klock on the wall along with mish-mash collection of prints and photos; colored glass vases catch the light from the windows; the well loved dishes might be chipped; and your menu is likely to have battle scars. 






It all adds up to a retro, kitsch, pleasantly scruffy, cozy atmosphere. 

I was first introduced to Garnett's as a good Happy Hour spot. Every week day they offer $3 happy hour snacks and glasses of wine until 6:00 pm (I think... could be 6:30...). And on that snack list is my most favorite food item in all of Richmond: Devils on Horseback.

What, exactly, is a Devil on Horseback? All that you really need to know is that they would be more accurately be referred to as Heaven on a Toothpick and are also known as bacon wrapped dates stuffed with gorgonzola cheese. Here, let me show you:

Just the fact that I got to make a collage of these
babies has made my day.
I know, I know. It sounds a bit weird. Maybe even scary. Before I had DoH, I had never even consumed a date. And truth be told, I am not one of those bacon-obsessed people who has to eat bacon wrapped things if they are available on a menu. But the combination of the sweetness of the date plus the savory, salty bacon and the sharp, pungent gorgonzola is just perfection. 

Marcey and I have been known to order a second plate of these. At $3, it is nearly impossible to resist. 

But it's not ALL about the DoH. The other $3 Happy Hour snacks are delightful as well.

I love how worn this card is
My second-favorite item is the White Bean Spread Crostini

The $3 glass of wine isn't just some sub-par house red or white either; I've had excellent Riesling, Pinot Noir, and a Viognier. Bonus that they are served in these adorable stemless RVA wine glasses.




On one Happy Hour date with my Work Wife, we each had 2 glasses of wine and split 3 appetizers. We walked away full and happy for the total price of $15 each including a 20% tip.  It simply can't be beat. 

Beyond the excellent Happy Hour specials, Garnett's menu offers a huge variety of sandwiches, a handful of salads with unusual but delicious dressings, and a unique sampling of side items. Sandwiches are conventional with a twist: Roast Beef with gorgonzola, for instance; or the Grilled Cheese made with gouda and gruyere. Some other beauties include:

Turkey and Bacon
 {with lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and garlic aioli}

WBLT
{roasted garlic white bean spread with lettuce and tomato}

From the special VCU Basketball 2013 Seniors-themed menu:
The #10
{bacon, hard boiled egg, green tomato relish, lettuce, and avocado}
MLT
{sliced cold meatloaf, lettuce, and tomato on ciabatta,
choice of garlic aioli or gorgonzola cheese}
My favorite side is the black-eyed pea salad. Until I went to Garnett's, I had never really eaten black-eyed peas before, but I find that this "salad" is a perfect light accompaniment to the hearty sandwiches.


Like many Richmond restaurants, Garnett's offers a slew of vegetarian options and any of their sandwiches can be made with Gluten-free bread, making it a good choice if you have a group of folks with a variety of dietary styles. It's extremely reasonable prices (at $9.75, the Big Daddy sandwich is the most expensive thing on the menu) also keep it accessible to just about anyone. 

For a no-fuss, no-frills, casual, down-home with a twist kind of meal, take yourself right on over to this gem. And even if you think you don't like dates, get the Devils on Horseback anyway. You'll love them... and if you don't, at $3, they will at least have been a cheap adventure. 

The lowdown:

  • Parking is on the street and not metered, so bring your parallel parking skills. I always find something on Park (punny!).
  • It is a tiny place, but I've never had trouble getting a table. Then again, I'm always there extremely early and by the time I leave all of the seats are filled. So if you aren't an early bird like me, you might be out of luck.
  • Their Happy Hour is the best deal in Richmond.
  • They also offer a $30 Date Night Deal every night from 6-9 pm: any two menu items and a bottle of Virginia wine. Not a bad deal, though I have never partaken of it myself. 
  • If you're looking for a fancy, sleek atmosphere, this isn't your spot. This is casual with no frills - in a good way. You'll feel just like you're sitting at your kitchen table, except someone else does all the work.  
  • Service is fast and attentive without being annoying or overbearing. 
  • Devils on Horseback. That is all.

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