May 23, 2022 - Food and Drink

5 of Richmond's best under-the-radar restaurants

A frustrated-looking man sits at the bar of a restaurant drinking a beer.

A man sits at the bar at Penny Lane Pub. Credit: Ned Oliver/Axios

This town has more than its share of celebrated restaurants (deservedly), but we wanted to give some love to a few of the hidden gems that too often get overlooked.

From diner fare and tacos to our beloved slice of Liverpool in downtown Richmond, here are a few of my picks:

Moore Street Cafe

Scott's Addition gets all the attention for its breweries and high-end restaurants, but nestled in the back corner is this little breakfast and lunch spot in a nondescript brick building where breakfast is served all day and the vibe is totally undiscovered Richmond chic.

What to order: The pancakes — with a pitcher of mimosas.

Secret Sandwich Society

How this West Virginia transplant is still a secret more than five years after opening its downtown location is a mystery, but beyond some robust lunch business from nearby offices, nobody seems to talk about the stellar sandwich shop — where one can add pimento cheese to a side of fries for just $1 more.

What to order: The Fillmore. It's fried eggplant on a baguette — with a side of pimento fries, of course.

Penny Lane Pub

This local treasure is best known for being a slice of Liverpool right in downtown Richmond, with its walls covered in Beatles memorabilia and "football" forever on a TV. But we love it because its proximity to the Virginia Capitol building — and the offices of at least three local media outlets — means you can always find a reporter bellied up to one of the bars or lounging around the covered patio.

What to order: The fish 'n chips — with a pint of Guinness.


This Mexican spot is so far down Midlothian Turnpike you're practically in Chesterfield, but that means it's also a quick drive from Chippenham Parkway, and you're in and out with your order of one of their many homemade daily guisos (stews).

What to order: Any guiso that strikes your fancy — or if you're like me, get a stew for tomorrow and the incredible quesabirria tacos for tonight.


Richmond's oldest Irish pub has been going strong in South Richmond since 1966 and seems to just keep getting better. For those who haven't been since the '80s, the restaurant expanded in the last decade — doubling the dining room and the bar. And there's always someone you know hanging around.

What to order: The "O" Burger — that's a bacon cheeseburger topped with an onion ring — and a side of steak fries.


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