Located in an ordinary shopping center in Stratford Hills between Vegas Nails and Mandarin Palace Restaurant, The Galley appears to fit right in. But even if the outside of the restaurant is not enticing, after opening the door it is clear that it has its own vibe. The restaurant is long and narrow, with a small divide between the dining area and the kitchen, which, in addition to pots and pans hanging on the wall, provides a comforting atmosphere. The defining characteristic of the place, besides the colorful chalkboards lining the walls that display the daily specials, is the pull-up garage door that constitutes the front wall. Anna Galanides (’17), a veteran Galley visitor, described how in the summer the garage door is raised, opening the entire restaurant up to the fresh air. Of course, Richmond can get hot and humid in July, but The Galley is prepared and has fans throughout to maintain air flow to accommodate the needs of restaurant-goers. Galanides describes it as being “like a diner, and it was really small and quaint.”
With options ranging from breakfast to subs, burgers, pockets, and pasta, it would be hard to leave unsatisfied. We began our meal with a few appetizers. I tried the meatballs and chips and salsa. Four large meatballs garnished with parmesan cheese lay in a bed of tomato sauce. While meatballs can often be dry, these were the opposite; these were the juiciest meatballs I have ever eaten. Next we dug into our chips and salsa, which did not last long. Unlike your average chips and salsa combo, both the items were homemade.
The names do not give justice to the colorful and diverse entrees. First, the chicken sandwich was served. Inside a massive bun lay a chicken breast, mozzarella, and pesto. The semi-sweet pesto nicely complimented the slightly salty chicken. With each bite the mozzarella stretched from between your lips back to the sandwich, just as any good piece of pizza does. The side of fries made the meal nearly unfinishable, but it is always better to have too much than to be wishing for more.
The meatball sub consisted of several of the same juicy meatballs from the appetizer smothered in the same marinara sauce. While the bun could make a sandwich like this dry, the juiciness of the meatballs and just the right amount of sauce provided the perfect ratio: not too dry, not too sloppy. Dorcas Afolayan (’16) informed me of the common flaw of meatball subs. She said sometimes the meatballs fall out of the back of the sandwich, but at the Galley, this problem has been solved. Without excess sauce and sizable meatballs, there is no worrying about runaway meatballs.
The Galley has several types of “pockets,” made from a pocket of pita bread filled with ingredients. The hummus pocket is filled with greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, and hummus, with a choice of side items such as mashed potatoes, collard greens, fruit salad, side salad, or apple fennel slaw. When accompanied by a choice side of onion rings, you get the feeling of eating healthy with the veggies and hummus pocket but still get the diner taste with the onion rings. Marnie Brennan (’17) says “the hummus itself was spicy, but the tomatoes and cucumbers were fresh, which made it taste really good.”
The bacon cheeseburger, like the rest of the portions, was massive. Galanides describes it as “a really good mix of smok[iness] and sweetness.” The bacon provided the smokiness that is not present in every type of burger. With a side of mashed potatoes, this hearty meal warms the stomach and heart.
With so many options to try, I will definitely return to The Galley. With a casual environment, quality food, and good company, it is no surprise that you might encounter a wait, especially as you enter prime dinner hours on Friday night. But of course, the wait is worth it. Style Weekly compares the vibe of The Galley to the Fan by saying “but instead of gaggles of 20-somethings, you’re likely to see families and couples looking for a filling meal.” This appeared to be true; there was a mix between young couples on dates, friends grabbing a bite, and families coming to dinner. Afolayan describes her dinner at The Galley by saying, “I loved it… there are never any restaurants like that anymore, so it was really cool… to go back in time.”
Unless otherwise stated, all photos by Morgan Baxter.