Yes, Richmond Is a True Foodie Town

The Roosevelt restaurant in Church Hill.
The Roosevelt restaurant in Church Hill.

Richmonders like to think of Richmond as a serious “foodie” town. But we tend to be parochial and prone to self-delusion, so I do wonder if we’re just kidding ourselves. Well, our friends at WalletHub have ranked 150 American cities for foodiness — combining 18 metrics of affordability (weighted 30%) and diversity, access & quality (weighted 70%). Lo and behold, Richmond ranks 11th in the nation, entirely upon its quality rank (10th best in the country), and not its affordability (a mere 66th).

According to WalletHub’s methodology, Richmond is the top foodie town in the vast swath of America south of Rochester, N.Y. (No. 9), north of Tampa, (No. 8) and west of Cincinatti (No. 6). Our major league sports scene may stink, but our restaurants are terrific.. Eat your artichoke hearts out Washington (No. 26), Charlotte (No. 92), and Hotlanta  (No. 23).

The other Virginia cities listed by WalletHub are better than average: Virginia Beach (No. 46), Norfolk (No. 53), Chesapeake (No. 65), Newport News (No. 71).

The top-ranked foodie city in America: Portland, Ore. The worst: Moreno Valley, Calif.

I’m no gourmet, so discount my opinion accordingly…. My favorite restaurant for both food and ambiance is The Roosevelt in Church Hill. But it’s a tough call — there are many great restaurants in this town.

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6 responses to “Yes, Richmond Is a True Foodie Town”

  1. David Botkins Avatar
    David Botkins

    Great to see some metrics around what we’ve all heard to be true…the Richmond-Metro restaurant and dining scene is superb and continues to get better.

  2. Somebody else likes the Roosevelt! See you two for dinner there some night.

  3. Interesting methodology including the cost of a six pack of Heineken and the number of butcher shops per 100,000 people. Giving double weight to the cost of groceries only makes sense in light of median incomes. Gr4oceries cost a lot on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and people make a lot on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Where’s the beef as they used to say?

    Richmond has some swag when it comes to food. Tuffy Stone’s Q Barbecue joints in Richmond, Midlothian and Glen Allen are very well regarded. However, as a constant traveler, I struggle with both Richmond’s and Washington’s overall rating. They are both too high. Wallet Hub must rank affordability very highly since any list of food cities that doesn’t have New Orleans #1 is suspect from the start. Chicago rated #70 makes me wonder if the authors of the study have ever been to the Windy City. I also wonder about ranking Aurora, IL (Party on, Garth) vs New York City. They try to get down to per capita numbers but Aurora has fewer than 200,000 people. And Orlando at #2? Any chance Wallet Hub can provide a list of the restaurants they actually like in Orlando?

    1. I agree about New Orleans — it has some of the best restaurants and one of the strongest culinary traditions in the country.

      But to play devil’s advocate, those great restaurants are concentrated in the French Quarter where they cater to the tourist trade. Does New Orleans have fabulous restaurants outside the French Quarter? It takes more than a few great restaurants to make a “foodie” city, it takes a community-wide culture.

      1. Good question. I’d have to dig deep into my memory to recollect whether I’ve eaten in New Orleans outside of the French Quarter. Distribution of good restaurants across a city would be a fair metric to consider. It would apply more to a geographically relatively big city like New Orleans than to a relatively small city like Richmond or DC. In fact, smaller cities ought to have an advantage since the best restaurants are more accessible to residents of the city than would be the case of Houston for example.

  4. LarrytheG Avatar

    New Orleans is one of those places where you don’t wander too far afoot from the “official” tourist areas…

    they’re not alone… there are places on the fringe of Shockoe Slip that don’t look that safe at night – either.

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