Virginia Barbeque first opened shop in a 100-year-old home in Ashland. The building's long history helped convey the sense of community roots that founder Rick Ivey wanted to express in his eatery's friendly, wood-smoked meats, and fresh-made sides. Now with locations across the state and a slew of accolades from the local media, Virginia Barbeque's mission to build a devoted following and pave a state highway with barbecue sauce is well under way. The restaurant's signature meats begin with a dry rub in a house spice blend before they take a 12-hour stint in a rotisserie smoker filled with hickory wood. Then, cooks hand-pull the meat and slather on house-made Virginia-style red sauce or North Carolina-style vinegar sauce.
As a 20-year veteran firefighter, Shawn Gregory saw his share of action and understood how draining a day on the job can be. So when Shawn and his wife decided to open Halligan Bar & Grill––named after a common tool used by firemen––they wanted to pay homage to the brave individuals in the fire service. “I built this place kinda to be a clubhouse for me and my firefighter friends to kick back after a long hard day on the job,” Shawn describes on his website.
Alongside firefighter-themed gear decorating the walls, including helmet-covered lights and uniforms pinned to the wall, the original eatery’s pride and joy is a 1973 Seagrave fire engine donated by the Mangohick Volunteer Fire Department. The engine, cut in half, sits behind the bar and portions out libations from its pump panel-turned-beer taps. Fully operational lights dance across the bar, and sirens blare every time someone says the word “refill.” At Halligan’s second location in Glen Allen, bar stools flank an entire fire truck in the massive dining room, and the roof holds tables reserved for VIP seating.
Lauded for its succulent pork ribs on Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate and ABC’s The View, Ronnie’s Ribs, Wings & Other Things supplies feasters with expertly executed barbecue classics. Originally founded on the parking-lot grounds of a former gas station, the eatery has since moved to a larger 300-seat location, where 50 TVs entertain customers as they dine. According to the Food Network feature, pit master Ronnie Logan flavors his pork ribs with a mixture of dry rub, brown spices, paprika, and secret ingredients. Each rib rests atop a hickory smoker, which cooks the meat with smoke and heat so no errant flames burn a customer’s meal or convince someone the Olympics are nearby. Along with ribs, pulled-pork sandwiches, jumbo chicken wings, and beef brisket make it hard to ignore the alluring scents drifting about the air, which is also filled with traditional sides and drinks. The family-run Ronnies also caters large familial or corporate events.
Before opening Deep Run Roadhouse, Chef Paul Hubbard plied his cooking craft at some of the city's finest dining establishments. But once he learned how much Richmond folks love their barbecue, he applied his well-cultivated hospitality know-how to giving the people what they want?slow-smoked meats, corn bread with honey butter, and mac and cheese. And unlike many barbecue joints, he caters to vegetarians. The Deep Run Roadhouse menu includes BBQ portobello mushrooms stuffed in sandwiches and quesadillas or lounging on piles of nachos, just like all the tourists on the beach in Cancun.
The cooks at Benny's BBQ believe that "meat speaks for itself." They've been serving BBQ, cooking up homemade sides and desserts daily for over 20 years. Voted best BBQ in Richmond, Benny's sources local ingredients whenever possible, including a selection of craft brews that complements the homestyle dishes.
With its earth-toned stucco and red-clay tile roof, Alamo BBQ's mission-style building seems more at home in Texas than in Richmond, but that's precisely the point. A Texan flag waves over the small eatery's outdoor patio, inviting diners to dig into feasts of barbecued pork and Southwestern tilapia tacos. All meals are served alfresco under the patio's cozy white tent as the chefs inside prep beef brisket in traditional Texas style: slow cooked and stirred with a spoon whittled by Willie Nelson. Half and full racks of dry-rubbed st. louis spareribs join inventive entrees, such as barbecue quesadillas or the texas train wreck with barbecued meat over mac ?n??cheese and baked beans. Country-style sides are nearly hearty enough to stand on their own, including fresh collards with or without pork and cowboy beans with brisket that Joseph Wcates of Style Weekly praised as "exceptional." Cap off meals on a sweet note with desserts of pecan pie and gourmet brownies.