Either we're on a lucky streak or people in Richmond are just all out fantastic!
The final stop on our "People Of Richmond" train was to meet (meat?) Chef Brittanny Anderson and experience Metzger Bar & Butchery.
We quickly found out that there's a reason Brittanny was a semi-finalist for the James Beard Best Chef Mid-Atlantic Award. Each day she and fellow owners Brad Hemp and Nathan Conway push out what they call "rustic, seasonal, German-influenced food, wine, and cocktails." The team at Metzger welcomed us with open arms, plenty of Schnitzel, and impeccable German drink! Check out a few of our snaps while visiting the quant Church Hill corner space and enjoy our exclusive interview with Brittanny.
Q. Why Richmond? You could be making food for anyone, anywhere. What’s so special about RVA?
A. Richmond is my hometown and it's a wonderful place to live. After being in New York for several years, we had an aching to come back to Richmond with its gorgeous river scenery and spectacular art, music, and food. We feel lucky to be a part of a growing food scene that is very tightly knit and full of wonderful people! It's also a very affordable place to open a restaurant, hint hint NYC cooks!
Q. What made you decide to open a restaurant with an emphasis on German food? What makes German food German?
A. People are always baffled by the fact that I'm not German, I just love German food! Metzger is German-inspired and we like to take classic German ingredients and dishes and lighten them up a bit, maybe make them a bit more playful. German food is usually perceived as being heavy and fatty, but we find that that isn't always true. We love the funky acidity of traditional fermented cabbages, and the light seafood dishes of the Scandinavian influenced North. Pork is a big factor in Germany, as in most European countries, and giant cuts of meat like Sweinhaxe and huge pounded out schnitzels are pretty rad as well.
Q. You graduated from culinary school in NY and moved upstate to begin working at Blue Hill, which is an incredible start for any chef. What was it that prompted you to work there? What did you learn while working there?
A. I was really lucky to do an apprenticeship at Blue Hill Stone Barns after culinary school- it was an amazing learning experience and I'm grateful for the time I got to spend there. In addition to the great kitchen training I received I was also able to work in the livestock program and it has really informed the rest of my career. Knowing about the small details and hard work that goes into raising the meat we eat has influenced many of the decisions I make as a chef.
Q. Metzger is a butchery. But being a butcher doesn’t seem like the sexiest job. In the public’s eyes, why has it become hip and cool?
A. We opened Metzger with a small retail butcher counter but removed it a year later to focus more on our dinner service and add more tables. I think it's important to allow your business to grow organically and not get hung up on ideas that may not always work, so since then we try to focus on doing as much cutting in house as we can. Over the past decade there has been a renewed interest in butchery among cooks, which I think is a great thing. The more we know about the meat we eat and the more time we spend with our fingers dug into some pork fat, the better we are at nourishing and educating our guests and our staff. I love when my cooks are interested in learning more about traditional butchery and charcuterie, and if it's because we've somehow made it seem cool than we've done our jobs!
This may have been the final stop on "People Of Richmond" series, but it will definitely not be our final visit!
What are some cities you'd love to see the brothers explore?