“By developing multiple different, somewhat unique concepts all on the same block, we’re hoping to create that density and that critical mass that will draw people to the area just to check out what’s going on,” says culinary director Dan Scherotter. “That density is what creates a vibrant community and the urban feel people are looking for when they move to a cool place like Richmond.”
The Butterbean is split into two distinct spaces, with a doorway connecting the two. On the market side, shelves are lined with everyday things like condiments, paper products and breakfast cereal, plus specialty items like local bread, pickles and pasta. Coolers are stocked with familiar local brands like Potter’s Craft Cider, Nightingale Ice Cream, Ninja Kombucha and King of Pops.
In the cafe, colorful stools surround wooden tables and bright green tiling lines the coffee counter. Coffee from Blanchard’s and Carytown Tea are available at the counter, along with fresh-squeezed orange juice and craft beer. Running the kitchen is John Kinser, formerly of the Church Hill staple Union Market, which Scherotter says has served as an inspiration for the Butterbean. The menu features soups, salads, sandwiches and grilled Italian flatbreads known as piadinas, and everything is $10 or less.
“I think you can do a lot with sandwiches,” says Scherotter, whose culinary background includes, sandwich shops, fine dining restaurants and everything between. “By putting together a sandwich properly and using high-quality ingredients, you can really elevate the form.”
One of those elevated sandwiches is the spicy tuna belly salad on a sesame bun, the Butterbean’s take on a tuna melt. The mayonnaise mixed in with the oil-packed fish is seasoned with charmoula, a blend of spices traditionally used in Moroccan cuisine, to give it some heat without packing too much of a punch. With a slice of buffalo mozzarella and a handful of fresh greens, the sandwich comes in at $9.
Picnic tables with umbrellas line the outdoor patio space, which Scherotter says will hopefully host live music when the weather allows.
Scherotter says you can expect most of the menu to be available this weekend, along with stocked shelves in the market. And if they don’t have something you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to let someone know.
The Butterbean Market and Cafe
1204 Hull St.
Every day 8 a.m. - 11 p.m.