When people think of Richmond, Virginia, they typically picture the Flying Squirrels baseball team, the rich war history, and the VCU Rams. Richmond is also home to fine dining that distinguishes itself from many other cities. It's full of diverse restaurants that pride themselves in delivering healthy and nutritious food for their consumers.
Allergies have skyrocketed in this country, and Richmond has adjusted by providing gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, and shellfish-free options that are both appealing to the eye and to your taste buds. Dive into these RVA restaurants that I consider to be the best, and see for yourself how easy it is to eat allergen-friendly while dining out.
1. Sugar Shack
This famous local chain features hot and fresh donuts beginning at the crack of dawn and ending past your bedtime. While Sugar Shack offers regular donuts in flavors ranging from M&M's to caramel, they also offer gluten-free donuts, which are equally mouth-watering. Stop on in and you'll know how dangerous it is to take a single bite of these babies.
The atmosphere at Urban Farmhouse is similar to a cute, hipster cafe. Extremely healthy options are offered at this breakfast café/mini grocery store located on Cary Street and Midlothian. They sell sandwiches, various types of breads, brunch items, and refreshing drinks. Best of all, they offer an extensive list of gluten-free options, my favorite being the scrambled eggs with cheese pictured above.
This one is my favorite restaurants in Richmond. The Daily offers a large variety of local, organic, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free options, and they all taste amazing. Menu items include calamari, appetizers, fresh greens, buns/bread, turkey burgers, seafood, pancakes, pizza, pasta, and sandwiches, all of which can be made without wheat flour.
This eccentric restaurant proudly believes in preparing the freshest and best tasting pizza in town and is very popular with the younger crowd of Richmond. Guests will find strange music and thought-provoking images on the walls to entertain visitors while they enjoy their delicious pizza. The gluten-free cheese pizza with green peppers pictured above did not last long, let me tell you.
5. Burger Bach
This popular local chain prides itself on receiving the highest quality beef and lamb from New Zealand. The atmosphere is lively and there are always a ton of people waiting to dine both inside and outside. A perfect date night spot, consumers can try large, crunchy fries, fresh greens drizzled in olive oil, and burgers (with gluten-free buns!) that are worth every decadent bite.
Similar to Whole Foods, this small-scale grocery store has a plethora of healthy, raw, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, and allergen-free options. I call it Whole Foods on steroids, as the people who shop here are very artsy, fit, and in tune with their health. My favorite part about this unforgettable place is the Ellwood's Hot Bar, where trained chefs prepare nutritious meals ranging from superfood kale salads to marinated tilapia with lemon juice. I encourage anyone looking for a healthful dining experience to try the food here. Most of it is free of allergens, and the consumers don't even notice a change in taste.
With so many allergy-friendly restaurants in the Richmond area, it was hard to choose just six. However, I have dined at all of these places multiple times and can say with confidence that the experience, taste, customer service, and quality will exceed your expectations. So head to Richmond, take a bite, and have your allergen-friendly culinary expectations soar to new heights.