While much of the country is in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic, life in Richmond, Virginia remains relatively normal.
Indeed, while other parts of the country are enduring an economic downturn and a decline in travel, the capital of Virginia is embracing the changes, and the resumption of everyday life, with gusto.
This week, we’ll explore some of the ways in which Richmond is rebounding and how you can get involved.
The Recovery Has Been Spectacular
Since March 15, the day before the countrywide lockdown was initially implemented, Richmond has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people out and about on its streets. The number of cases doubled between then and Friday, April 10, and now stands at just over 1000. As of today (April 17), there are 23 officially-documented cases in Richmond.
The city’s resurgence was prompted by a combination of factors, including proactive measures taken by public health officials and the businesses that serve them. While much of the country is still struggling to recover from the economic fallout of the pandemic, Richmond has seen a steady uptick in both retail and residential activity. More people are working remotely, and those that are on the streets frequently wear masks.
In an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the city, public health officials have restricted certain types of social gatherings and banned non-essential business travel. These measures appear to having been effective. As of today, there have been no reported deaths due to COVID-19 in Richmond, and only eight cases of the disease.
In addition to limiting the spread of the virus, Richmond public health officials have encouraged residents to get active. The city is a hub for both professional and amateur sports, and residents have taken advantage of this. Baseball and basketball have both seen spikes in gameplay, with games being held both in person and online. Virtual golf and tennis leagues have also become popular.
In light of the recent uptick in the number of cases, and the ease with which the virus is spread via aerosolized droplets, staying fit is once again, of paramount importance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that people in the U.S. stay active and reduce their risk of infection. The agency also advises that people in the community often interact with animals, touching them without washing their hands to see if they are becoming sick.
Dress To Impress
One of the most noticeable changes in Richmond since the beginning of this year is the increase in the city’s healthy-dietary choices. While much of the country is enduring an obesity epidemic, Richmond has bucked the trend, with an increase in both the number of people who eat and exercise healthily. The change has been noted by public health officials, who have attributed it to the city’s vegan and vegetarian restaurants and grocery stores.
Whether or not this trend will continue remains to be seen, but for now, healthier eating and active living are the order of the day. On that note, here’s a list of 10 restaurants in Richmond that are serving up vegan and vegetarian delights.
Big Vegan Panda
Located in the city’s Central District, this restaurant serves up a combination of Chinese, Japanese, and Western dishes such as pizza and pasta. What makes it special is that it sources all of its food from farms that provide sustainable and organic produce.
You’ll find many vegan and vegetarian food options here, from salads to soups, as well as some vegan alternatives to traditional Chinese and Japanese dishes. One of the best things about this restaurant is that it serves as a great starter for those who are looking to explore a new cuisine style.
Serving up healthy and organic produce, this Richmond restaurant is a place where you can get a salad pre-made or have it prepared by the chef on the spot. For those who want to get a bit more creative, you can make a meal out of vegetables from their garden or go for one of their signature chicken sandwiches, which are egg-free.
Fresh is located in the city’s Museum district, and offers both indoor and outdoor seating. Since much of the district is scheduled to close now that the weather is improving, this could be a good option for those who want to grab a bite to eat after a long day at work. Many of the restaurant’s dishes are made with chicken or fish, and you can find many vegan and vegetarian options too.
El Cuadro Chicano
While some people are still in shock that El Cuadro Chicano, the famed Mexican restaurant here in Richmond, is still open for business, the fact is, it is, and it’s been that way for a long time. The restaurant first opened its doors in 1959 and according to its website, the iconic eatery offers diners a veritable cornucopia of Mexican cuisine, including handmade tortillas, creamy chorizo, and succulent slow-cooked meats.
Like other restaurants on this list, El Cuadro Chicano sources most of its food from local producers, and uses organic produce whenever possible. You’ll also find many vegan and vegetarian options on the menu, which the restaurant promotes as containing “no animal products,” although it does serve fish and chicken.
Bread & Butter Deli
Here’s another restaurant on this list that serves as a great starting point for those who are looking to explore the Mediterranean diet. With locations in the city of Richmond and surrounding areas, this small chain offers a make-your-own pizza concept, along with Greek and Italian specialties. What makes this particular restaurant special is that it offers vegan and vegetarian options, as well as food allergies and dietary restrictions are taken into consideration when planning each pizza. The latter is a rarity in today’s world of quick eateries.
Toppings range from traditional to more unique choices such as oysters, artichokes, and goat cheese. You’ll also find many vegan and vegetarian options, including a mock meat option made from rice, chickpeas, and breadcrumbs.
Located in the heart of the city’s museum district, Jack’s Bar-B-Que is a chain with outlets across the Southeast. Specializing in ribs and pulled-pork sandwiches, this eatery is well-known for its dry-rubbed beef and its slow-cooked, pulled-pork sandwiches. What’s more, they serve as a great introduction to those who want to explore the southern-style barbecue cooked in modest homes throughout the region.
You’ll find a wide range of traditional southern cuisine here, from shrimp and grits to green beans and fried chicken. Jack’s Bar-B-Que sources much of its produce from local farmers, and they use free-range pork and beef, as well as hormone-free dairy.
Another restaurant serving up Latin American fare, this time from Costa Rica. You’ll find a veritable Peruvian festival at La Cacería, with restaurants and food trucks serving up authentic dishes such as ceviche, potato salad, and chicken pie. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, and has an array of vegan and vegetarian dishes, including a black-market burger blend that is seasoned with pepper and paprika. This is one place you shouldn’t miss if you’re in the city.
The Flying Squirrel
Also known as the Squirrel Cafe, this eclectic restaurant serves up a variety of globally-inspired food, from pho to pizza, as well as a range of vegan and vegetarian dishes. The cafe’s tagline is “Healthy Food, All Day Long,” and that’s exactly what you’ll find here. This place has been getting rave reviews from diners who love both its food and atmosphere. While you’re there, you can’t help but notice the variety of coffees and teas available, all organic and fair-trade.
Serving up authentic Thai cuisine, this Richmond restaurant is a great option for those who want to explore the flavors of Thailand. The eatery sources most of its food from farms in Thailand, and uses only the best seasonal produce. What’s more, it offers both vegan and vegetarian options, along with food allergies and dietary restrictions considered. Thai Kitchen is located in the city’s central district, and has outdoor and indoor seating.