When I first learned that Shockoe Whiskey and Wine was going to be part of Richmond Brunch Weekend, I was super excited because I hadn’t heard of this restaurant that serves brunch, but all the more reason to try it! Well, there was a reason I hadn’t heard of them serving brunch; they weren’t serving brunch. At least they weren’t serving brunch yet.
I had to wait until last month to visit Shockoe Whiskey and Wine for brunch. But boy, the wait was not for nothing. I do not say this lightly when I say Shockoe Whiskey and Wine, with one single meal, leaped into my top three favorite Richmond brunch places (am I allowed to say that? Does that admit bias? Oops?). Keep reading to find out why!
(I probably don’t need to write that last sentence because obviously you’re going to keep reading. I mean, that’s why you’re here.)
My friend and I originally showed up to SW&W (I’m abbreviating now because my fingers are tired and I want to give SW&W a trendy abbrev) on a Saturday, and it didn’t look quite open. Well, it turned out it was open, but there were only serving lunch.
Internally: What is lunch? How dare brunch be desecrated like that.
Externally: “Okay, we’ll come back tomorrow.”
Consequently, the following day I trotted back to Shockoe Bottom (SW&W is on the corner of East Franklin and 18th Street) with a new friend. We drove separately because my friend was trying to catch the Caps game, which I gave not a flying hoot about. She wanted to meet promptly at 11 AM so she would be ready for the noon game, but she told me that at 10:15 AM while I was sweating through a workout, so I asked, “Will you hate me if we push it to 11:15?”
Either way, I was showing up at 11:15. I think we both knew this because she agreed to 11:15.
And then we both showed up at 11:21 and 11:22 AM, respectively. I told my friend, “Never before have I let a sports game dictate my schedule.”
We had our choice of seats and, thus, sat by the window. This is where I spotted SW&W’s chalkboard easel on the sidewalk – advertising Richmond Brunch Weekend! Or something like that.
From that moment, SW&W became like an old friend to me.
Our waitress asked if we wanted any drinks. Usually I’m the “I’ll take water” guy, but I need to sell those Massey Mimosas. (Here goes my spiel: most #RVABrunchWeekend participating restaurants are offering their special take on a standard mimosa with a portion of proceeds going back to VCU Massey Cancer Center. You will (edit: should) order this this weekend. Just ask your server!)
So back to me ordering a drink: “Would it be possible to get an orange juice served like a mimosa? I know that’s weird, but…I’m here to help promote Richmond Brunch Weekend, so I need a mimosa for the Instagrams. But I have to study later.” (Grad school. Eff me.)
Normally, when Sara and I visit and review a brunch spot, we try to stay anonymous. We wear sunglasses and wigs, the whole shebang (I hope you know I’m kidding). But today, the gig was up. I had sold us out. I just felt really weird asking for an orange juice served like mimosa. Like the kid drinking water at the bar pretending it’s a vodka soda. Wait, I do that, too.
Anyhow, our waitress agreed to my request (because how else can you say no to adding ice cubes to orange juice?). My friend ordered coffee, which then prompted me to ask whether SW&W serves iced coffee. Which they do. Cue me clutching my heart. This is Richmond. This is America. No one serves iced coffee unless you’re Starbucks or a takeout place. But seriously. Sit-down restaurants don’t serve iced coffee. This was a miracle.
Me: *gasping* “I want that, too.”
Waitress: “Milk and sugar?”
Me: “Just milk.”
I knew better than try my luck and ask for soy milk.
My friend and I then ordered our food after I recovered from my stroke over iced coffee. And after we finished discussing how I would be ordering iced coffee in Key West, because this friend and I are going to Key West in about two months. And I’ve already decided I’ll be holding a Trenta on the drive down from Fort Lauderdale. As you can tell (and should know), iced coffee is life.
The other great thing about SW&W that made them scoot from “old friend” to “relative invited to my wedding” was, they have been offering their Richmond Brunch Weekend specials all month. Like, you didn’t have to wait until this upcoming weekend to get some Cinnamon Toast Crunch French Toast or the Massey Continental for $10 with $2 going back to Massey Cancer Center. (The Massey Continental is a waffle with two eggs and house potatoes.)
This probably doesn’t help you since Richmond Brunch Weekend is in four days, and we can’t time travel backward (or forward) in 2016, but STILL.
So obviously on this Sunday morning I ordered off of the Richmond Brunch Weekend specials. Which means I got Cinnamon Toast Crunch French Toast (yes, did you see that in the above paragraph?!?!?! Yes, I ordered it! Yes, it is everything!). My friend ordered chicken and waffles ($16, no proceeds to Massey, but that’s okay). Note: the chicken and waffles do not come with sausage gravy, which is a plus since my friend doesn’t eat sausage, and I’m not big on sausage either and I was going to be taking a bite. Or twelve.
I think you already know where this review is going. Everything was AWESOME. The sunlight, the iced coffee, the French toast (Cinnamon Toast Crunch, there are not enough exclamation points!), the waffle and fried chicken. Oh, and the nonalcoholic orange juice was good, too.
And you, too, can order the Cinnamon Toast Crunch French Toast or Massey Continental this Saturday and Sunday. While only normally open for brunch on Sundays, SW&W will be open both days this weekend. Go check them out!
If you're interested in brunching at Shockoe Whiskey and Wine, then mark your calendars for Richmond Brunch Weekend, which is May 14 and 15.