This post will seem so silly to all you native Richmonders, but I just celebrated my third year anniversary for moving to this strange little place, so I find new neighborhoods, restaurants, and pockets of culture pretty much every day. I am like a goldfish, every time I turn around something is surprising and exciting. This Sunday we took a short bike ride over Broad St. to explore an area that transported me to the 1950′s. MacArthur Ave is sort of like your Layaette St. or Strawberry St., one of those hidden blocks of shops and cafes that you wouldn’t find unless you knew where to look.
Something about this street is very throw-back to me. It has an old dance hall/theater smack in the middle of it, that does not look like it has had patrons in years. It has an almost eerie ghost town feel to it, but there are still people coming in and out of restaurants, antique stores, and the yoga studio, so you do not need to worry about any post apocalyptic mayhem breaking out.
There are a handful of great looking restaurants and cafes that line this street, my new goal is to just head straight for MacArthur Ave. next time I have that whole wtf should I eat thing that happens every three days. From diners, baked goods, a grilled cheese truck, to fine dining at Tastebuds, there is something for everyone. Eating a gourmet grilled cheese and sitting in the parking lot of Once Upon a Vine with a beer sounds blissful to me.
My favorite stop off on the North Side adventure was ducking in to Dots Back Inn, a hole-in-the-wall that owns all other Richmond dive bars.
This place was quaint, friendly, and just buzzing with activity. They had all kinds of funny “soda” cocktails like the Orange Crush, Grape Nehi, Cheerwine, and the Moon Pie, I have a crazy aversion to sweet sweet drinks though and aired on the side of safety and ordered their house made bloody mary. It was spicy, vegetably, and perfect.
The menu is actually really extensive and has all the best things you would expect from a diner with some greek flare, from an entire list of 4390587495 different kinds of burgers, or a killer looking greek salad and hummus plate, I will definitely go back to watch football (commercials duh) on the big screen and try the other options. Staying with the classic feel of the day we split a cheeseburger that reminded me of my childhood. It was no Burger Bach lamb concoction, or Peacock Pantry bliss on an onion roll, it is exactly what you want, no extra fancy flare just perfectly grilled, simple, and American. The fries were actually pretty unique and more like chips, I was a big fan even though I weirdly don’t really like potatoes too much. I know. Sue me.
I just think that is so sweet. I love when a restaurant has story and character, and Dots Back Inn definitely has all of that and more. Hop on your bike, take a stroll, or drive if you must to the North Side. It is a really cute neighborhood and a good way to feel like you have apparated out of Richmond to a different era.