Update: Scuffletown Garden is now open at 421 N. Strawberry St.
Check out the opening menu here.
Previous from June 14:
Scuffletown Garden — the new restaurant in the former Strawberry Street Café space — didn't open as initially planned on Friday evening.
The restaurant now plans to open Monday, according to its Facebook post on Friday evening.
"Due to a couple unforeseen setbacks, we will not be able to open until after the weekend," the post said.
Co-owner Derek Salerno and team are putting the finishing touches on the iconic restaurant at 421 N. Strawberry St., which was home to Strawberry Street Café and its bathtub salad bar from 1976 to 2019.
Salerno and Octavio Camacho Andrade bought Strawberry Street Café restaurant and the building in December and closed the restaurant on March 31 for a renovation and rebranding.
Following the sale, there was an outcry from Richmond diners to save the bathtub that had been used in the salad bar, and save it they did.
The reclaimed clawfoot bathtub that held bowls containing salad ingredients throughout Strawberry Street Café’s entire history now sits in front of the building where baby lettuces are growing to be used for ... well, all kinds of things, but also salad.
Executive chef Adam Campbell tends the bathtub garden, as well as the rooftop one where many of the ingredients for the menu come from. Campbell was previously at Rappahannock restaurant and worked with its rooftop garden. He also spent time working at Manakintowne Specialty Growers farm in Powhatan.
Campbell’s opening menu builds on the “meat and three” concept — that is, a restaurant where the menu consists of a protein plus two or three sides.
At Scuffletown Garden, though, everything can be ordered a la carte, so diners who only want one side with their protein — or no protein and a bunch of sides — can have that.
The proteins include beef (made with ramp butter, pickled ramps and ramp powder) a fish of the day, chicken or pork. There are also pastas and a burger on the menu, plus a kids’ menu (chicken fingers, butter pasta, etc.).
Most of the proteins are cooked on the giant, outdoor grill made especially for the restaurant.
The real fun on the menu is with the sides, divided into starches, veggies and starters. Sides include kimchi-braised fennel, braised kale, farrow salad and black garlic potato salad.
Campbell said he’s still putting the finishing touches on the menu since he and Salerno were very hands-on with the renovation.
The entire interior of the restaurant has been gutted. A wooden partition now separates the bar from the dining room; another, the entry from the dining room; and a third separates the dining room from the open kitchen.
Greenery is everywhere — there are plants on the walls, floor and partitions — the outdoors brought in to create a warm and inviting space. Amrit Singh of Fultz & Singh Architects did the design work.
Scuffletown Garden even has a skylight.
Salerno took the lead on (and is still polishing) the cocktail and wine list. Sous chef Hosea Roberts is collaborating on the wine list (he’s a certified sommelier), and general manager Alexis Diggs is also working on the cocktails.
Salerno is also polishing everything else in the restaurant — ready and eager to show off Scuffletown Garden — a Strawberry Street restaurant that’s completely transformed and completely his own.
Scuffletown Garden will be open for dinner nightly with lunch hours coming in about a week and brunch about two weeks after that.