Richmond Neighborhood Guide: The Fan

Whether you’re a new or old Richmond resident, the Ukrop name shouldn’t be new to you. Ted Ukrop and his wife Katie have not only been huge patrons of the creative community in Richmond, and are helming the cities very-first boutique hotel, (Quirk Hotel) opening this month in the Arts District. They also happen to be some of the nicest people in town and we were lucky enough to be welcomed into their home to talk to Ted about Fan life and what he’s most looking forward to in the city.

How long have you lived in The Fan?

26 years, well actually 22 – spent four in the Museum District when it was known as West of Boulevard.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

I am a native Richmonder that grew up on the Southside and then the city’s west end.  I went to DePauw University where I met my wife Katie.  I worked in the family businesses, Ukrop’s and First Market Bank…I also dabbled in some historic rehab and development projects.

What’s your favorite part of your neighborhood?

The architecture and the fact that the Fan District is largely in tact.  I also love the convenience and walkability of the area.  I believe the Fan is prettiest in the the fall season.

What’s your favorite block in The Fan?

I have a few, but if I had a gun to my head I would say the 1800 block of Hanover.

What’s your go-to brunch spot?

We live equidistant from Joe’s Inn and Kuba Kuba, so we frequent both quite often! Manny makes a mean breakfast burrito, and of course, the tres leches cake is delicious anytime.

Kuba Kuba
Kuba Kuba

What does “old Richmond” mean to you?

That’s a loaded question.  Like anything, there is good and bad.  Richmond’s history is America’s history, so it can be both inspirational and tragic.  The Valentine tells our story the best!

What are you most excited about Richmond’s future?

It’s too hard to limit my excitement to one thing. The fact that the city’s population is increasing for the first time in decades is huge.  I credit VCU, historic tax credits and millennials for that growth.  Between the art world, awesome culinary happenings, and the outdoor scene, Richmond is becoming more of a destination.  We’ve always had the history and beauty, but now we are being recognized for so much more.  I am also pumped for the Capital Trail and the work that Capital Trees is doing on the “Low-line.” Ted Elmore’s River Park Bridge project is really cool too. Like I said, I can’t pick one thing!  There are a lot of folks working hard to help us reach our full potential.

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Classic row house architecture in The Fan

What do you hope Quirk Hotel brings to the city?

First, I hope it becomes a place that locals will want to frequent.  Whether it’s enjoying a “staycation”, having coffee meetings, dining in Chef David Dunlap’s Maple and Pine Restaurant or sipping a drink on the rooftop lounge, I want Richmonders to experience excellent service in a pretty awesome building.  The art and design should hopefully inspire as well.  This may sound trite, but we would like for our guests, locals and out-of-towners alike, to feel a little better when they leave Quirk Hotel than when they entered.

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EAT:

Kuba Kuba (1601 Park Ave.): Located in the heart of The Fan, Kuba Kuba has been serving up classic Cuban fare with an atmosphere straight out of Little Havana since 1998. Get a slice of their heavenly tres leches cake and a kuban cafe or try the masterful huevos for brunch, or anytime of the day.

8 1/2 (401 Strawberry St.): Named after the Fellini film, it’s widely considered to have the best pizza in town. Order the simple arugula salad, a couple pizzas, and grab bottled Coke’s to-go and take it to the park.

Dinamo (821 W. Cary St.):  Blending Italian with traditional Jewish fare, probably one of few places you can get matzoh ball soup with your bolognese. The eggs in purgatory is another standout (only available at lunchtime) and all their pasta is made fresh.

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High Point Barbershop

DO:

Scuffletown Park (Strawberry St. between Park St. and Stuart St.): A charming gem of a pocket park right across from 8 1/2 that’s host to a weekly concert series. Grab a red pizza from 8 1/2 and enjoy a quiet dinner outside when the weather’s nice.

Harvest Grocery (1531 W. Main St.): A beautiful neighborhood market and general store complete with an in-house charcuterie and butcher shop from J.M. Stock Provisions, and a vast selection of local wines, cheeses, and produce.

High Point Barbershop (112 N. Meadow St.): Where the majority of Ledbury gents get their hair cut the space is done up in traditional barbershop flair with a modern edge. Walk in for a hot shave and entertaining conversations.

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Harvest Grocery

Photography by Jeffrey Ocampo. Follow Jeff on Instagram @jocampophoto. Illustration by Will Godwin. See more of Will’s work on Instagram @buffallowill.

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