Colonial Downs has a new restaurant in its New Kent County racetrack and gaming emporium.
1609, named to reflect the “equine and legislative history” associated with Virginia and the Colonial Downs racetrack and Rosie’s Gaming Emporium, opened Sept. 19.
“Virginia’s original partnership with horses began in 1609 with the arrival of the colony’s first race horse. According to historians, the first American horse races occurred in Henrico County in 1674. Ironically, in 2018, the legislation utilized to revitalize horse racing in the state by allowing Historical Horse Racing (HHR) machines and the expansion of pari-mutuel wagering became House Bill 1609. 1609 will offer an array of dining selections by applying age-old culinary tactics to create unique blends that capture the essence of the Commonwealth,” according to a news release.
The 1609 restaurant serves entrées such as pork shank, salmon, crabcakes, shrimp and grits, and a burger ($16-$34), plus appetizers, salads and a raw bar selection. Signature cocktails are named using horse racing themes, including Secretariat and Steeplechase, and local products — including New Kent Winery wine, Edwards ham, Meadow Creek cheeses — are featured on the menu.
“When creating the menu for 1609 we wanted to highlight the true meaning of southern cuisine and the melting pot from which it comes,” sous chef Nick Thompson wrote in a release.
The new restaurant at Colonial Downs is open from 4 to 10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday at 10515 Colonial Downs Parkway.
Colonial Downs reopened to the public in April after original owner Jacobs Entertainment surrendered its license to run races in 2014. Revolutionary Racing, now Colonial Downs Group, bought the track in spring 2018, after Gov. Ralph Northam signed legislation that allowed historical horse race wagering machines, which resemble slot machines, to be used in Virginia.