Homemade pickles, Croque Monsieurs, desserts made fresh daily, and a simple chalkboard wine list—we found our local haunt.
Now we just have to become locals—a status that can’t be quantified by a certain number of visits… or mayoral rankings on Foursquare. It’s a sense of belonging; it’s neighborly, it’s taking ownership of the handful of blocks that loosely comprise your neighborhood, and winning the little victories. Les petites victoires.
Our first bike ride had a few notable moments. Where the old trees uproot slabs of concrete sidewalk, patches of asphalt filler form bridges so bike tires go popping over them and old ladies don’t eat shit. Carey kept trying to talk to me over her shoulder from her proud stance 3 pedal pushes ahead of me. “This here? This would have made me so happy when I was a kid!” she’d crowed, moccasin-clad feet planting on the pedals, rear end lifting up out of the seat, and the bike basket rattling loudly as she crashed over the roughest possible patch of sidewalk.
We tooled around the fine arts museum, listened to some kids opine how they’d spend lottery winnings at the crosswalk of Boulevard and Stuart (it’s no wonder why so many lottery winners go broke!) and theorized about a sickly sweet smell coming from a nearby dumpster sunning in a hot alleyway.
Then I took an opportunity, during a blinking orange hand signal—“do not ye cross now lest ye want bent bicycle frame”—to suggest we shuffle down the sidewalk for another dinner at Garnett’s.
So far, we rarely need much prodding. It’s a place among places.
The menu is succinct, perfect, and sandwich-shop sophisticated. The decor is scattered, eclectic and multigenerational.
The crowd is young and unwilling to swallow the work week without breaking for simple pleasures.
It could be in Brooklyn or San Francisco, but luckily it’s not. It’s in Richmond; it’s in the Fan—and it’s on our block.
Have a seat at the bar…
The Croque Provencal:
And the most delicious house-made pickles on earth [ask Meg to describe them when you order them; we couldn’t possibly do them justice]:
Try anything with the Benedictine spread; rail through all the Croques if you can; the spinach salad has these maddeningly good sweet nuts on top; ask about beer specials and don’t be shy; and, try one thing and don’t be surprised if you leave with the goal of trying every ‘wich on the menu.
See you there. And keep an eye out for the chubby cat on the block who has a habit of charging visitors for a head scritch.