After successfully opening her first Urban Farmhouse Market and Café in the Shockoe Slip in 2009, Kathleen Richardson is expanding her business to the VCU area with a store opening scheduled for 2015.
Urban Farmhouse is a restaurant where people can sit comfortably and order meals that feature fresh and locally-grown ingredients. As a market, the store also offers customers the option to also purchase items such as food, beverages and organically-made beauty products.
Before becoming a business owner, Richardson worked in marketing for several years under large corporations such as McDonald’s, Panera Bread and Starbucks. Current marketing manager for Urban Farmhouse, Peyton Ware said Richardson wanted to open a store that provided healthy options using local ingredients in a casual environment.
“It’s really something that the Richmond community has really taken to,” Ware said. “Everyone’s excited that we’re opening so rapidly.”
Ware said one of the keys to the store’s success is the supportive relationship maintained with local vendors. By hosting samplings and organizing meet-and-greet events, the store is able to highlight the vendors who help provide fresh produce.
Ware said Urban Farmhouse is a store the VCU population will be able to identify with, because students are becoming increasingly aware of their eating habits.
“Younger people want to eat locally and healthy, but sometimes they don’t know where to do that,” Ware said. “By having us on VCU’s campus, we will provide a convenient way to do that.”
The Urban Farmhouse menu changes seven times a year to keep up with the seasons, with the fall menu being released Sept. 5. Ware said currently there are crowd favorites offered during breakfast lunch and dinner.
“We do versions of a farmer’s grilled cheese which is really good, we have local soups and salads and we serve breakfast sandwiches,” Ware said.
While traveling for business, Richardson would search for healthy options in large cities like New York, which inspired her to start her own store in Virginia. When opening the store, Ware said Richardson wanted her business to resemble a farmhouse with an open-air environment.
“A guest in our location will be able to see your food being made in the kitchen, so it’s all very fresh and farm-to-table,” Ware said.
Currently, Urban Farmhouse is scheduled to open their next location in Scott’s Addition fall 2014 with the VCU location opening in 2015.