Exploring North Side

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.

Zorba's Pizza, it was a little early for za, but I will definitely be back to sit on these cute picnic benches!

Zorba’s Pizza, it was a little early for za, but I will definitely be back to sit on these cute picnic benches!

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.

The answer to the question that is undoubtedly burning in your mind! Maybe it wasn’t, but it was certainly on mine when I was there, Who is Dot???

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.





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About btypes

I’m Bty. I live. I blog.
This entry was posted in Biking, FOOD, Restaurant Reviews, RVA, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Exploring North Side

  1. Justin says:

    whoaaaa orange crush??? those are fantatic.

    • btypes says:

      I know right. Come visit and we can have “soda night” people will wonder why we each drank ate Nehis and Cheer Wines…we will know the real reason.

  2. LOVE this post. Note to self, must explore north side!

    Every time I drive through there, I think about another era, I know what you mean. We’ll have to go back for Pizza some time, yummmm…

    • btypes says:

      hahaha I love that you capitalized it. It is important, it needs to be dignified. I would love to have a pizza night there soon, it wasn’t open when we first rode by so Pizza-Brunch wasn’t even an option, otherwise I would have jumped for it. I love the picnic tables I really want to hang out there in the fall :)

  3. (PS I don’t know why I just capitalized pizza?)

  4. Molly says:

    I can’t explain how excited I am that you just posted about this. Jonathan and I pretty much only go to the North Side when it comes to “going out”. Of course the restaurants are amazing-have you tried the Mill? But a lot of times we go to North Side Grill just to have a beer. I’m just over the bottom/fan bars filled with Rhianna remixes that make it impossible to hear what the person next to you is saying. I know I just made myself sound 87 years old, but North Side just has a “Cheers” element to it. :)

    • btypes says:

      No. I tottttallly agree Molly. I am tired of the same ol’ same ol’ next time you and Jonathan head over pleaseee give me a buzz, because Trey and I really want to “go out” on the north side, which sounds so dumb, but I am sure getting tipsy at those bars is way more fun than the starlight frattyness that I am just sick of!

  5. Shannon says:

    I used to live two blocks from this little strip. It was so nice to be able to walk over to Once Upon a Vine for wine tastings and Dot’s for brunch. You must try The Mill which is also over there. They also have great Pizza…I did that for you Katherine:)

    • btypes says:

      I am jealous! The yoga studio, the cafe, all the yummy restaurants! Is that theater/dance hall still in use or not?

      • Shannon says:

        Don’t think so…there used to be a place called Shenanigan’s that had live music. I saw Jimmy Dean sing there in his wheel chair. We walked in one day and everyone was in their 70s, he wheeled up to the microphone and the place went crazy!

  6. Brittany Burns says:

    Dots is one of my favorite places. It was on diners, drive ins and dives. Such a cute street!

  7. vegology says:

    I haven’t tried many of the places on that street; I agree that it looks super cute! Kyle and I love to go to the Mill. I feel like it’s our secret spot, because you never hear anyone rave about MacArthur Ave… until now! It’s good to know that Dot’s is a winner too.

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