Historic landmark restaurants, high-performers, outstanding new concepts—meet the best operators in cities that are gaining traction as culinary destinations.


Richmond, Virginia

Chef de Cuisine Matthew Robinett delivers Italian-inspired small plates with a Southern flair, in this upscale take on casual, hip dining, housed in a historic building with massive windows lining the dining room—a legacy item from the early 20th- century furniture showroom that was the original tenant.

Opened ∕ September 2014

Annual Sales ∕ $2.5 million

Average Check ∕ $40

Chef/Owner ∕ Mike Isabella


Richmond, Virginia

Located in Jackson Ward (Richmond’s equivalent of Harlem), Comfort excels at the fresh farm-to-table fare others aspire to—serving up the classic Southern “meat and three,” all made from scratch, and finished with a beverage selection that showcases a true affinity for whiskey, beers, and wine.

Opened ∕ 2002

Average Check ∕ $20–$35 (estimate)

Chef/Owner ∕ Jason Alley


Richmond, Virginia

Known for its focus on regional American cuisine with an emphasis on fish—especially the signature crab cakes, Acacia defines casual fine dining. It all starts with sourcing the freshest product, and Chef Reitzer drives twice weekly to a crabber on the Rappahannock River whom he’s worked with for more than 16 years.

Opened ∕ February 1998

Annual Sales ∕ $$1.7 million

Average Check ∕ $35–$45

Owners ∕ Chef Dale Reitzer and wife Aline


Richmond, Virginia

Stylish cocktails meet contemporary food, as this family-run establishment raises the reputation of Richmond’s burgeoning dining scene with affordable plates, such as the bourbon-barrel smoked pork belly, and an in-house charcuterie program.

Opened ∕ October 2012

Sales ∕ $1–$3 million

Average Check ∕ $38 for dinner, $17 for brunch

Owners ∕ Chef Joe Sparatta, Emilia Sparatta, Mattias Hagglund

Angus Barn

Raleigh, North Carolina

At this landmark steakhouse, the wine list is consistently ranked one of the best in the country—Wine Spectator Grand Award—and Van Eure received the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association Gold Plate award in 2004.

Opened ∕ June 1960

Annual Sales ∕ $Over $15 million

Average Check ∕ $60

Owner ∕ Van Eure


Durham, North Carolina

The first solo venture from Chef Kelly, Mateo blends Spanish flavors with Southern delights, resulting in a refined and exciting tapas bar augmented by a stellar wine list and one of the largest sherry lists in the country.

Opened ∕ August 2012

Average Check ∕ $40–$50 (estimate)

Chef/Owner ∕ Matthew Kelly



Chef Wolf, a finalist for James Beard Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic this year, brings classic French and South Carolina Low Country flavors and techniques to the three- and six-course tasting menus, while Foreman has curated a wine list that features more than 800 labels.

Opened ∕ December 1997

Annual Sales ∕ $2–$3 million (estimate)

Average Check ∕ $150

Owners ∕ Chef Cindy Wolf and Tony Foreman

Parallel 38

Charlottesville, Virginia

The Mediterranean menu is inspired by the world’s most iconic food and wine regions, from Spain and Italy to Napa Valley; the wine list is expansive and all wines—even the most expensive—are available by the glass; and, before the restaurant was even a year old, Chef Ross and the Parallel 38 team hosted a dinner at the James Beard House.

Opened ∕ January 2014

Annual Sales ∕ $2.2 million

Average Check ∕ $42

Chef/owner ∕ Justin Ross

The Barn at Blackberry Farm

Walland, Tennessee

Winner of this year’s James Beard: Outstanding Service award, which comes on the heels of having won the 2014 James Beard: Outstanding Wine Program, the restaurant’s fine-dining tasting menus start at $125 for a five-course sampling.

Opened ∕ 2007

Average Check ∕ $400 (estimate)

Owner ∕ Sam Beall

Woodberry Kitchen


Winner of this year’s James Beard Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic, Chef Gjerde looks to the Chesapeake region for ingredients and inspiration, and an entire section of the menu is devoted to locally sourced oysters.

Opened ∕ October 2007

Average Check ∕ $75

Chef/Owner ∕ Spike Gjerde


Wilmington, Delaware

The menu features a four-, five- or six-course chef’s tasting menu, which Chef DiBianca is known to tweak to the pleasures of loyal guests.

Opened ∕ October 2002

Annual Sales ∕ $1.6 million

Average Check ∕ $40

Chef/Owner ∕ Michael DiBianca

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