Eating your way through Richmond-Wayne County

Elaborate sweets are the star of the show at Gigglebox Sweets & Treats, in the Loft in Richmond’s Depot District. Photo by Gigglebox Sweets & Treats



WAYNE COUNTY – Six months ago Jordan Service and Lindsay Garner didn’t know each other. But a mutual friend knew of their singular passion— baking—and suggested the two meet.

Separately, they’d been creating intricately-decorated cookies, cakes, cupcakes and doughnuts in their homes. The two 20-somethings hit it off right away, and voila! In a business marriage made in baking heaven, they’ve opened Gigglebox Sweets & Treats in the Loft in Richmond’s Depot District.

The Jar O’ Bacon at Firehouse BBQ & Blues. Photo by Elizabeth Granger

Oh-so-girlish pinks and florals combine with sights and scents of elaborately-trimmed sweets to welcome shoppers to a space that exudes fun. They’re calling it a bakery boutique, with items to enjoy there with a cup of coffee or to take out.

The sweet shop is the newest addition to Richmond’s varied dining scene. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon bite, late-night snack— there’s a place for all that in Wayne County.

Breakfast begins early at AJ’s Main Street Diner on U.S. 40 in Richmond. It’s been AJ’s a mere three years, since owner Josh Orbik moved from Paulee Restaurant in the Depot District. It’s got 14 stools at the counter and five booths, all generally filled each morning with locals—and visitors who ask where the locals eat. (The 10-seat Paulee, meanwhile, is being renovated by Tom Broyles of Firehouse BBQ & Blues and will re- open in the summer for breakfast.)

The Old Richmond Inn features casual fine dining. Photo by Elizabeth Granger

Freshly roasted craft coffees are available at 6 a.m. weekdays at Roscoe’s East on U.S. 40, and 7 a.m. at Roscoe’s Coffee & Tap Room in the Depot District. Hours are a bit later on weekends. From early morning to late night, there are light sandwiches and salads as well as craft beer and wine.

Downtown has the Tin Lizzie Cafe, with opening hours a little later since it offers both breakfast and lunch.

Lumpy’s Café in Cambridge City opens at 6 a.m. And now it’s open until 8 p.m. weekdays.

Cinnamon Spice Bakery, on the west edge of Centerville, is a quick breakfast stop for coffee and doughnuts unless the inviting atmosphere compels a respite at one of the small tables.

Little Sheba’s Burger

Lunch spots also provide something quick as well as tasty invitations to linger. Most remain open until late in the evening, when diners plan to enjoy an unhurried dinner.

Little Sheba’s Sandwich Shop opened in 1990. In 2002 Steve Terzini bought it, name and all. “Every time they (the previous owners) would get in an argument, he’d say, ’Who do you think you are, the Queen of Sheba?’”

Now the sandwich shop is a restaurant/bar/banquet room.

The Sheba burger is the No. 1 seller. “That’s what we’re noted for,” Terzini says. Also popular are Italian subs, Greek pizzas, Reubens. Altogether, more than 40 custom sandwiches. There are no fried foods.

It’s definitely a lunch spot, with a growing dinner crowd. 

On the next block, where Firehouse No. 1 was built in 1860, there’s Firehouse BBQ & Blues. Fireman Broyles had always loved the old building. “It was so cool, but it was in bad disrepair,” he said. “I like historic preservation, refurbishing buildings, fixing up a place.”

And he’d always been interested in barbecue.

So in 2012, his passions merged with the opening of Firehouse BBQ & Blues. The restaurant honors its firefighter past with murals, patches from fire stations throughout the country, even a fireman’s pole. Entrees focus on hickory smoked meats—and that jar o’ bacon. The music speaks of Richmond’s strong history of recordings in the 1920s with Gennett Records. On Friday and Saturday nights there’s live music.

The classy/casual Cordial Cork, opened just last year, began with the idea of wines by owner Adam Melton and desserts by Liza Cakes, but diners wanted more. So chef Charles Henderson is always cooking up something new. His lollipop chicken is a hit, as are his loaded brisket nachos and salmon capellini. “We started small, and we keep adding,”
Melton says.

Legends Southside Bar & Grill, on the other hand, was established decades ago. The tavern at South 5th and D Street became the neighborhood gathering spot along the lines of “Cheers.”

The Legend burger is its No. 1 seller, with the roast beef sandwich coming in at No. 2 and the Penguin— that is, the Legend’s tenderloin—at No. 3.

Cambridge City’s No. 9 Grille boasts of great steaks, burgers and other proteins.

Casual fine dining that makes you feel special and comfortable at the same time: That’s the Old Richmond Inn. Comfort foods, dishes with international influences, and decadent desserts are created by chef/owner Galo Molina. Other local options owned by the Molinas offer different experiences: Galo’s Italian Grill, Ainsley’s Café & Harbor Bar, and 5th Street Coffee and Bagel where all the restaurants’ breads are made.

On U.S. 27—the Quaker Trace— Fountain Acres Amish Market offers samples aplenty: ice cream, cheeses, salads, even frozen items in small sample cups on the freezer shelves. Be aware that the market does not accept credit cards.

In Hagerstown, the place to stop is Abbott’s Candies. And the candy to get is caramels. Crafted the old- fashioned way—small batches, hand cut, hand wrapped, hand packaged. And while the huge cooking pot is stirred continually by a hand-made paddle that’s been mechanized, its molten treasure is still poured by two workers. Another must-stop in Hagerstown is Willie & Reds, which features a full-service menu, bar, and historically popular smorgasbord.

A mid-day treat—ice cream, perhaps—is available at Ullery’s Homemade Ice Cream in Richmond. Or mix it up a bit and have ice cream for dessert before dinner. Lots of choices morning, noon, and night.