Tucked in the middle of Manhattan’s graffiti-chic Alphabet City lies Virginia’s — an easygoing oasis in the middle of the city’s mile-a-minute, food-crazed urban jungle. The menu, though small, is mighty in flavor and masterful in execution, with top-notch service to match.
Owner Reed Adelson is an alum of Locanda Verde (Robert De Niro and Andrew Carmellini’s TriBeCa hot spot) while Chef/Partner Christian Ramos is a former Per Se sous chef, and the duo met while working at Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago. We spoke with Adelson on the influence his parents had, guilty pleasures, plus his top spots for eats and drinks in NYC.
How would you describe Virginia’s style?
Virginia’s is a casual neighborhood restaurant serving modern American food in a relaxed setting.
You’ve honored both of your parents with this restaurant — in what ways did they influence you?
My parents both contributed in different ways. My father is a major foodie who happens to have an enormous menu collection. We used the menus as artwork throughout the restaurant. My mother’s contribution is more obvious, as she’s named Virginia.
What’re the best food things we have to look forward to about spring and summer?
As the weather warms, we have beautiful accordion doors that open up and give the restaurant a great vibe. We love to visit nearby Union Square Market to pick out all that the season has to offer, from peas and ramps to rhubarb.
Something surprising people don’t know about you? I’m an avid golfer, and I love to travel.
Typical breakfast? Granola, berries and yogurt or soft scrambled eggs with avocado and pepper relish on toast.
Late night snack? Defrosted pizza from Rubirosa. I live around the corner, so I always have some leftover in the freezer.
Guilty pleasure? Ice cream!
Favorite condiment? Any kind of spicy relish sauce — there’s a place called Bo Ky on Grand Street that has the best condiments ever.
Finish this sentence: I can’t live without… ice cream or booze.
Is there any food you hate? Not a big fan of fennel.
What’s always in your fridge? Sriracha, limes, Miller High Life.