Buddy’s Place: Dive Into this Neighborhood Bar

By Steve Cook | December 23rd, 2021

Like Rick’s Café in RVA with a Happy Hour

Buddy’s Place Neighborhood Bar

Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, I walk into Buddy’s. Okay, so maybe I am being a bit overly dramatic, but I do occasionally enjoy hanging out in a true neighborhood bar. I wandered into Buddy’s Place neighborhood bar primarily to get the latest scoop on their Happy Hour so I could share it with you, but I enjoyed the atmosphere so much, I decided to make this my restaurant and Happy Hour of the week.

Buddy’s Place … the restaurant

Buddy’s is the epitome of what Rick’s Café might have been like if it had been located in Richmond’s Fan/Museum District. Even reading the history of the place on the website conjures up images of an era long past. The names of the owners may well have been dreamed up by some Hollywood writer. Buddy Mollema was the original owner back in 1976. Then, in 1982, Mike “Kid” Dealto and Al “Tuna” Evans bought the place. Today it’s owned by the Dealto family, Greg Nevi and Shelby Luiggi. Shelby was on hand when I walked in, and he came over to chat for a bit about the restaurant.

He told me that currently Buddy’s is operating with a limited menu in an effort to not have to raise prices in view of skyrocketing food costs. His pterodactyl wings, on the appetizer list, are still just $10 a serving. Shelby says they are among the more popular items.

If you’re looking for a bargain, head over to Buddy’s Place on Wednesdays when their basic burger is half price. I can’t pass up a half-price deal, so I ordered the burger. With the Wednesday bargain, the burger with lettuce, tomato, and onions, served with a mountain of tater tots or French fries, is only five bucks. Can you believe that deal? The burger and tots were good. Keep in mind, this is not Ruth’s Chris, but if you want hearty fare in a super-friendly neighborhood bar atmosphere, it would be hard to beat Buddy’s.

Shelby says, “We have a huge following,” and I can see why. It’s the loyalty of locals, he says, that has helped to keep the business running through the last 22 months of infection and inflation.

There weren’t that many in the bar when I was there in the middle of the afternoon in the middle of the week before Christmas, as might be expected. But everyone was friendly. One of the neighborhood regulars had just brought in a gift for the restaurant – a Shoot the Moon game – you know, the game where you take two metal rods and try to see how far you can roll the metal ball before it drops. Everyone at the bar was taking turns shooting the moon. This is a casual, fun place. It’s too clean and too spacious to actually call it a dive, but for those who crave a dive, this will do.

Again, the menu is limited, mainly appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, and a couple salads. But the portions are generous and the food is good. Plus, almost every day there’s something special going on to keep the crowds coming back. On Tuesdays, which is trivia night, bottles of wine are half price and, of course, Wednesday has that delicious half-price burger. Brunch is served from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Pitchers of mimosas are offered for only $13 each during brunch.

So what more could you ask for? Oh yeah, the all-day Happy Hour. I’ll list that below.

 … the Happy Hour

Buddy’s Happy Hours are from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Here are the deals:

  • Beer, domestic bottles – $2.75
  • Beer, small Miller or Bud – $1.50
  • Beer, drafts – $1 off
  • Whiskey, house highballs – $3.75
  • Wine, house, by the glass – $4

Buddy’s Place
600 N. Sheppard St., Richmond

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