Don't let its name fool you. Yes, the name is Grace Place, and the waitress will tell you that that's the name because it was created in 1973, the year of Ford's first Moon shot. But where did the name come from? I never learned that answer. But I did learn that the name has nothing to do with Grace, the church sister of Virginia's founder, Thomas Jefferson. "I have dirt under my fingernails. It's out of gratitude," says John Watts, owner of the Jefferson Hotel, where Grace Place once sat. All I know is that, if I'm going to sit here, I'm willing to eat green, enjoy a beer, and walk around a little, so the name won't bother me too much.
I have managed to make this a mostly vegetarian restaurant for many reasons. To begin with, I am not allowed to eat fish as a vegetarian (even though I am not a vegetarian). For this reason, I refuse to serve fish on my menu. Over time, I have learned to love vegetarians. This is one of the reasons I listed kalbi style ribs on my menu - I love kalbi, so I make sure I have this style available for these who do not want meat on their plates. I also serve a wonderful seitan stir fry which many vegetarians enjoy. One of the great things I added to my menu was smashed potatoes, because vegetarians sometimes order mashed potatoes. Some do not like the texture of smashed potatoes, or they are not fond of them as a main dish, and I am glad that I have kept this on the menu.
There are aspects of Grace Place that are keeping me on, for reasons of nostalgia, like Judah Friedlander. One is the décor. I love the old restaurant items in the shop - it has a special energy whenever Amy and I walk in there - and I love the back room full of stuffed animal heads. It's as if they took parts of Fig Joint's interior, moved it to Virginia, and rebuilt it into another room, where now you can get fried chicken and collard greens, and po'boys and chicharrones to boot. d2c66b5586