Richmond Bucket List Restaurants

By Annie Tobey | January 11th, 2024

Two tastes of many, to whet your appetite

Pimento cheese burger and beer and waffle fries at Crafted Restaurant in Richmond, Virginia. Image credit Crafted, created for "100 Things to Do in Richmond Before You Die" by Annie Tobey and used in article on Richmond bucket list restaurants.

The restaurant scene is booming in Virginia’s capital city, and my new book, “100 Things to Do in Richmond Before You Die,” guides readers to some of the best Richmond bucket list restaurants.

The Richmond Region was recently included in Essence Magazine’s list of “Best Destinations for Culinary Travel in 2024.” Of the 10 destinations, others included Paris, Toronto, and Charleston. For visitors and locals alike, Richmond’s restaurants offer high-quality fare across a variety of cuisines, from Southern soul to ethnic options, from comfort food to special occasion. Best of all, you don’t have to blow the budget to eat out and savor every bite.

Front cover of "100 Things to Do in Richmond Before You Die" by Annie Tobey“100 Things to Do in Richmond Before You Die” (by Annie Tobey, published by Reedy Press, September 2023) presents must-do activities and must-see venues in five categories. Twenty-four entries in the food and beverages category suggest bucket list restaurants and craft beverage spots. A few entries capture multiple spots, such as “Worship High Cuisine on Church Hill” and “Get in the Spirit with Craft Distilleries.” The book includes classics like Stella’s and Sally Bell’s Kitchen as well as newer but established, respected restaurants like L’Opossum and ZZQ.

I’ve been exploring Richmond since 1982, and I’ve seen the phenomenal growth of quality dining and drinking options. I’m always happy to promote my hometown, so I eagerly accepted the offer to author this book. You can get a copy for yourself, or for a gift, at online retailers, including Reedy Press, Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as numerous Richmond-area booksellers, retailers, and even craft beverage taprooms. (You’ll find a list of retailers at and read more about the book on

Here are two sample entries of Richmond bucket list restaurants to whet your appetite.

Savor a Perfect Pairing

Much has been made of the art of pairing wine and food – pinky extended, of course. Fortunately, the concept has expanded beyond the carafe. The flavors in craft beers from various malts, hops, and other ingredients complement food, too. And if pairing works with wine and beer, why not cocktails? The bottom line is this: drink what you want, eat what you want, at a restaurant that offers the best of both! Two restaurants provide quality food plus well-curated beers, cocktails, and wines. Crafted has 32 draft beers and other drinks to pair with its Southern-inspired menu. Just as a sample: with The Lady Bird chicken sandwich, pair a Pilsner or Riesling; with the Southern Gentleman burger, an IPA or Cabernet; with the Bison Chipotle Meatloaf, a robust porter or Manhattan. Or heck, just order what pairs with your taste buds. It’s all there!

4900 Libbie Mill East Blvd., Richmond

Sedona Tap House
15732 WC Main St., Midlothian, 804-379-0037
5312 Wyndham Forest Dr., Glen Allen, 804-967-3500

Get Twisted at GWARbar

You could go to GWARbar for the gimmicky décor, a tribute to the Richmond-based heavy metal/hardcore punk band, known for its gory stage show and irreverent humor. You could go for the gruesome heads suspended throughout the restaurant, splashes of faux blood, GWAR memorabilia, and metal music. You could go to pay homage to the band, founded in Richmond in 1985. Or you could go simply for the food. The “intergalactic junk food” presents dive bar meets gourmet: McDuckets made with chicken and duck; freshly ground brisket burgers; vegan Gwartichoke patties; build-your-own mac with an abundance of toppings. While some food names reflect a unseemly spirit – Nachos Destructo, Baconecutioner burger, and Hail Seitan – the kitchen is led by experienced restaurateurs, not by dark copy writers. It’s all f’ing good, as Oderus Urungus might sort of say.

217 W. Clay St., Richmond

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