If you’re looking for a greasy, mouth-watering burger, the Artisan Kitchen & Cafe isn’t the spot for you. If you want a locally-sourced, organic, freshly-prepared meal, however, the Artisan Kitchen & Cafe is your lunch-time mecca.
The Cafe’s menu is packed full of sandwiches and wraps made with specialty ingredients. The sheer quantity and quality of them vanquishes any doubt that this place is throwing around the word “artisan” loosely.
One of the most decadent sandwiches is essentially just fruit and cheese on bread, but the unique qualities of its ingredients make it more than just another deli sandwich. Short of an official name, the gourmet sandwich is listed on the menu by its ingredients: St. Andre cheese, sliced pears, and greens with a sweet candied walnut spread on walnut bread.
The sandwich comes out equal parts sweet and savory. The St. Andrew cheese (a sort of intensely flavored brie) serves as a melty, delicious adhesive to keep everything between the slices bread in place. The slices of pears — juicy, fresh, and (of course) organic — keep the sandwich from being too heavy, and the walnut bread carries a good amount of crunch throughout the meal.
Beyond the myriad food options available at the cafe — from scones, to fresh bread and side salads — the Artisan Kitchen & Cafe hosts a robust cooperative community kitchen space in the back. Deborah Moss, of Quiche and Carry, uses the spot for its convenience and accessibility. The commercial kitchen space is available for caterers, food photographers, and everything in between. As such, it is the only open kitchen space of this magnitude in Richmond.
The kitchen in the back is available to just about anyone, but the vast majority of the Cafe’s customers opt for a tasty, high-quality meal prepared by the staff on hand. The line is typically out the door during the peak of the lunch rush, and finding a spot at one of the cafe’s communal tables can be a challenge.
The owner of Artisan Kitchen & Cafe, Liane Ingham, wasn’t available to comment on what she thinks makes her spot such a popular lunch destination, but the woman working the register thinks it’s pretty simple.
“We have just really good, really fresh food,” she shrugged with a small smile.
Sometimes that’s all diners need: something fresh, tasty, and maybe even good for you -- a break from the grease that seasons the food of many traditional diners.
The Artisan Kitchen & Cafe
865 Marina Bay Parkway, Richmond
Monday - Friday 7:30 am to 3:30 pm
Saturday - Sunday: Closed
View their website here.