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Broad Appetit: Dive Into Richmond’s Diverse and Famous Culinary Scene

Serving as the Capital of Virginia since 1780 and the Capital of the Confederacy until the end of the Civil War, Richmond’s combination of historical significance and modern attractions make it one of the top destinations in Virginia. If you’re a fan of art and culture, then this is the city for you. From more than 100 public murals to plays and musicals at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, travelers will find art and culture around every corner. Those looking to get outside and enjoy the beautiful local scenery will be enamored with the local trail system. The Buttermilk and Northbank Trails offer stunning natural visits without traveling far from downtown.


Broad Appetit has been the leading Spring culinary showcase in Richmond since it began more than a decade ago, and it will take place June 3 on West Broad Street. This year’s edition will include more than 70 of Richmond's top chefs serving mini dishes ($3 a piece) of their favorite signature culinary creations. A panel of expert judges will determine the top dishes in a variety of categories including To Dine For Award (best dish), To Diet For Award (best dessert), The Healthy Dish Award (best well-balanced dish), and The Ambiance Award (best-decorated booth). Attendees will also have the opportunity to vote for their favorite mini-dish in the People's Choice Competition. Aside from all the delicious meals, people will encounter a variety of beers, ciders, and libations from Virginia producers such as Bold Rock, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Steam Bell Beer Works, and more. Three live entertainment stages will entertain the masses with regional bands and performers, as well as demos by talented local chefs. A portion of the event’s proceeds will go to FeedMore, a non-profit that helps provide food to Central Virginia's most vulnerable residents. interviewed Event Representative, Tracey Leverty, to learn more about this excellent culinary experience.


RAL: How long has the event been running?

TL: 2018 will mark the event’s 11th year.


RAL: How many annual attendees do you draw?

TL: We expect around 40,000 attendees.


RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?

TL: It’s a diverse crowd of foodies, comprised mostly of patrons between the ages of 21 and 60. However, lots of kids, babies, and dogs are in attendance as well!


RAL: What makes this event unique?

TL: For a festival this large we have still managed to keep almost everything local. Only local restaurants are on the street, as well as specialty food vendors and growers/producers. The Virginia Department of Health has said we are the largest food festival in the state.


RAL: Take me through a day at the event. What can I expect as an attendee?

TL: There will be a full day of competition at the Chef Showdown on the Street Stage (at one end of the four-block festival). The other end hosts the main music stage with amazing regional bands that all perform for free to help the cause. We always have various activities for the kiddos, including chef hat making stations, magicians, storytelling, and more.


RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?

TL: We have welcomed Bug Chefs, ice carving artists, Joel Salatin from Polyface Farms, and a bevy of James Beard winning chefs to the event each year. Nothing announced yet, but the real focus is the food!


RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?

TL: We have 60-70 local restaurants serving up $3 savory or sweet dishes, or a $5 combo plate. Judges stuff their faces to come up with the Best Dish, Best Dessert, Best Health Dish and Best Ambiance for booth decor. Another 60-70 local vendors sell specialty food, local delicacies, farmers market-style items and artists are welcome, too.


RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?

TL: Quirk Hotel is right in the event footprint, and The Graduate is two blocks over on Franklin. Linden Row, The Jefferson, The Richmond Downtown Hilton, Marriott and various others are all within walking distance.


RAL: What does this event mean to the community?

TL: We have a burgeoning food community, and this is a time to all come together and celebrate where we are heading as a city in the culinary world. The chefs love hanging with each other, and many say this is the most critical marketing day of the year.


RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?

TL: Absolutely, people come to the event to sample as much food as possible at a fair price and then make dining decisions throughout the year. We also charge as little as possible for restaurants, so they can sell their dishes and keep the proceeds entirely.


RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?

TL: We have always benefited FeedMore, our local food bank.


RAL: Why should people come to your event?

TL: This event is the pinnacle of a “taste” event. Many others allow chain restaurants, and we are roots-oriented and highlight our local food scene. Tree huggers will appreciate our dedication to recycling, composting, and greening every reasonable part of the festival.


For more information about Broad Appetit, please visit the event website.