There is something about Scott’s Addition that really resinates with me. It is quant yet bustling, and brings a unique flavor to the RVA scene. Richmond is a history lovers dream, and Scott’s Addition has a very long past. To begin to understand the dynamic that sets Scott’s Addition apart you need to understand it’s history. Scott’s Addition was originally part of a much larger piece of property owned by Colonel John Mayo. In all the glory that is the 19th century, this piece of land was given to Major General Winfield Scott as the dowry for marrying Colonel Mayo’s daughter Elizabeth. Scott, who is famous for his accomplishments in the War of 1812, was nicknamed “Old Fuss and Feathers” making it easy to surmise why the land wasn’t developed until after his death. The area was originally set to be a residential development, which is why you see random Row Houses trickled down side streets. For better or worse, no one will ever know, the railroad moved to the edge of Scott’s Addition, and the areas fate would forever change. Am I boring you with the history lesson yet? I’ll move on in a second.
In 1927 the city designated all of Scott’s Addition for Industrial use, leading to an influx of businesses. These weren’t just your small town companies, Scott’s Addition became home to big name corporations like Coca-Cola Bottling Co and Nabisco. Fast forward to 2005 (ish) when the Scott’s Addition Business Association was founded and immediately ran for a historical designation of the area. This designation gave developers the much needed tax breaks to revitalize places like the Loft’s on Summit Avenue. Jump to 2015 and the retaking of Scott’s Addition seems to be a success. Incredible locally-owned companies set up shop on this side of town, helping make it a city within a city.
A slew of industries and businesses are scattered over the 152 acres, but the heart of the commotion lies on Summit Avenue. Coming from Broad Street and turning on Summit, you immediately notice a hole in the wall style restaurant that seems to have ever walk of life standing outside its doors waiting to get in. Business associates, tattooed hipsters, baby strapped mothers, and even your grandparents, are all waiting to pack inside Lunch/Supper, an instant Richmond classic that opened in 2012. Originally Lunch was just that, lunch, but Lunch got so popular, they had to make Supper, and extend their business to the next building. Continue down Summit for a few more blocks, and before you even see it, you smell it, Lamplighter Roasting Company. Lamplighter originated in the Fan in 2009, where they not only serve great coffee and delicious food, they do it out of a refurbished service station on Addison Street. While Addison Street is the original location, Summit Avenue has become home to the actual roasting, which means you can look forward to that amazing aroma every day. Summit Avenue is also home to local favorites like Isley Brewing Company, Richmond Bicycle Studio, and Health Warrior Inc.
Summit Avenue may contain a lot of restaurants, companies, and housing, but it isn’t home to all Scott’s Addition has to offer. Another bustling street is Roseneath Road, which runs Parallel to Summit but on the opposite side of Scott’s Addition. Roseneath has a few restaurants including Oyster Pearl, Infusion’s Taste, and The Dairy Bar. The Dairy Bar has been open since 1946 as the restaurant attached to Curles Neck Plant, a processing plant for dairy and ice cream. The plant closed in 1986, but the restaurant stayed, and has since doubled in size and been named one of the “Five Best Breakfasts in Virginia” by Southern Living Magazine. Along with the infamous Dairy Bar, Roseneath Road is home to many old warehouses resurrected into apartments. One thing that sets Scott’s Addition apart is the unique style of its residences. Since much of the area was industrial to begin with, most of the homes have an urban industrial feel with large open spaces, big warehouse windows, exposed beams, brick, and metal. This type of living is a stark contrast to the parlors and galley kitchens of the houses found in the Fan District.
Each of the 14 streets that make up Scott’s Addition seem to be home to an important Richmond start-up, centuries old local company, or new locals-favorite restaurant. In February of 2015, Urban Farmhouse’s 5th restaurant opened on Norfolk Avenue. Urban Farmhouse focuses on bringing locally farmed foods to the city, and in my opinion they rarely disappoint. The decor of Urban Farmhouse is the perfect combination of exposed air vents and brightly colored chalk board signs; the opposite of this would Moore Street Cafe, the american diner of yesteryear. Moore Street Cafe, located on, you guessed it Moore Street, has a classic diner ambience with a time honored diner menu at prices only seen 20 years ago. Restaurants owners aren’t the only ones taking notice of the growing popularity of Scott’s Addition. Local Brewers Kevin O’leary, Tom Sullivan, and Paul Karns, picked Scott’s Addition, and more precisely W. Leigh Street, to house their brewery, Ardent Craft Ales.
Earlier this year, Peter Chang, who owns restaurants in practically every city in Virginia, has decided his next venture will be in Richmond. Unlike some of his more upscale restaurants, this one is set to be quick and casual dining experience. Peter Chang’s location of choice wasn’t the Museum District or The Fan, it was Scott’s Addition. The building Chang leased on Broad Street is 15,000 square feet, but he will only be using 3,000 of that. The Snipes, who bought the property back in early 2015 hope to see another start-up brewery become residents in the building. Some 4,000 of the remaining 12,000 square feet of space is a rooftop area, which would be incredible if it became a patio/bar. Rooftop patios are a rarity in Richmond, and it would be like Scott’s Addition to start a new trend.