There are certain parts of “Richmond” that when I find myself hungry or thirsty for more than just a convenience store soda/snacks that I am at a loss for what to do. I’d prefer not to spend my money on a salad in some chain restaurant and I’d rather not stop at a grocery store in an effort to piece together a meal for myself. Inevitably, I swallow down my rolling stomach pains and simply wait until I get back into the city.
Thankfully, over the past year, two new cafes have popped up just outside the city’s limits. Both cafes are under a year old and gradually building a name for themselves.
Perk started in February 2015, just over the river, in what is considered Bon Air. Open 7 days a week, they offer breakfast and lunch options, including an extensive case of pastries. There is usually at least one to two choices that are vegan. Some of our favorites include a cranberry streusel cake, a mixed berry hand pie and banana bread cinnamon rolls. The highlight of their menu, apart from the delicious locally-sourced coffee they serve, is a spicy breaded tofu sandwich that is stuffed between a locally-made everything bagel. Ask for hummus, the lime aioli or bring an avocado to cut the heat and you’ll find yourself wondering why you don’t eat more breakfast sandwiches on a regular basis. Perk does offer coconut, almond and soy milk, making most of their mixed coffee drinks easily vegan.
Apart from the food, Perk is easily accessible from Huguenot road. They do have their own parking lot and they are family-friendly. The overall, quaint and laid-back atmosphere of Perk is an inviting refuge for those heading back into the city after a long day driving around Midlothian and the outlying areas of Chesterfield county.
ShoreDog Cafe started slinging their first coffees and ice cream this past November 2015. Nestled away in a small shopping strip over near the University of Richmond, they are technically located in what is considered the Tuckahoe area.
ShoreDog’s chic interior with washed out neutrals, plenty of aged wood and subtle natural details give the cafe a very contemporary feel. They are currently open 7 days a week. They serve breakfast and lunch. All of their syrups are made in house so most of their mixed coffee drink menu can be made vegan. Above all, ShoreDog emphasizes using the best ingredients possible to deliver an overall superior product to their customers. To the best of their abilities they try to source the bulk of their products locally. For example, their coffee beans come directly from Lamplighter and all of their tofu is from Twin Oaks.
Since opening their doors just a couple months ago, the cafe is still trying to find it’s feet. When ordering from their breakfast menu, the one bit of advice I would give is to load up on toppings. The scramble/tofu egg patty although good, is a little bland without any other veggies or accoutrements to help add flavor. In the future, hopefully the cafe will also look into offering pastries or other small nibbles that are vegan.
Apart from the food, ShoreDog is both kid-friendly and dog-friendly. They do have their own parking lot and they are just one turn off River road (Cary street). This trendy little cafe is a welcome addition to the Richmond restaurant scene. Just one more oasis to retreat to when you’re stuck the middle of suburbia.