I was led by Moses to the Promised Land. Except Moses did not have a beard, sandals, or a robe. Nor were there any plagues or a parting of the Red Sea. This Moses had red curly hair, lots of freckles, a smile that makes you smile, and is a local food enthusiast. Yet this Promised Land had food fit for a king, and milk and honey so sweet it should be outlawed.
Nestled amongst the hustle and bustle of some of RVA’s finest shops, boutiques, and restaurants, and championed by none other than my dining companion Caroline Goggins (‘16), The Daily has been serving up eclectic plates with a healthy flair along with creative cocktails in mod quarters for a few years now.
In an attempt to help widen my horizons and change my typical food pallette, I ventured into a vegan’s dream. Managing to avoid parallel parking, I pulled onto a side street, threw the car in park, and was on my merry way. Walking the unfamiliar strip, I was buzzing, excited to partake in something that felt almost dodgy–dangerous, even–to me. Encouraged to break ties with my typical lunch of PB&Js and salads and become a more refined and informed consumer, The Daily was the perfect choice for a feast. The hostess sat us promptly upon arrival, and it being such a warm, beautiful early spring day, sitting outside was the right move. The Daily has an open-air setting and very relaxing vibe. As we ate outside, and let me remind you muppets, the weather was perfect. I felt like I was eating at an open air bistro in France. It gave us prime positioning for people watching, and there was no absence of sights to see, from purple poodles, to men with parrots, to a jolly good lady with neon pink hair.
With the warm spring air all around us, we managed to keep cool and comfortable thanks to the waiter always checking on us and filling our waters. Excited to try something new, Caroline began to recommend and describe each plate and dish that the restaurant offered. After looking at the menu, and hearing Caroline’s promotion of The Daily, it was no surprise to hear that it has a rather large following.
After considering all the possible enticing options that the menu had to offer, we settled on the Wild Mushroom Bruschetta to start. It was absolutely delicious, slightly messy, but light and tasty with smoked cipollini onions, broccolini, basil, roasted garlic, balsamic reduction, and a creamy and sweet goat cheese. I was gobsmacked, without a doubt.
Moving onto the main course, I wasn’t absolutely starving, so I chose a lighter fare and went with the grilled chicken panini with sweet potato fries. Mine was delicious; it had everything you could ask for and more. Thick, juicy cuts of fresh, organic chicken cutlet, perfectly caramelized onions, and a bit of arugula for a growing boy who needs his greens, with a rich chipotle aioli and white cheddar to finish off the beauty. Nothing short of smashing, and the sweet potato fries were all hunky-dory.
Caroline got the quinoa salad with chickpeas, mixed greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, carrots, red peppers, and feta cheese. This dish is vegan optional and gluten-free for people with specific dietary needs. Caroline describes her entire experience: “The food was delicious and the atmosphere was great. It was awesome to have such great food and know that it was produced locally and sustainably. It made the food taste that much better. Being a vegetarian, it was a treat to have such a wide range of vegetarian options, the menu catered to any type of dish I wanted.” Despite the dish seeming a bit too health conscious for me, Caroline thoroughly enjoyed her quinoa salad.
The Daily attempts and succeeds at running an outstanding and prosperous restaurant that is sustainable. They use local produce that comes from Agriberry, Origins, Dodd’s, Murray’s, Mole Hill, Fresh 20, Crown Orchard, Sunny Side, Dickie Brothers, Va Produce Company, Shenandoah Growers, and Shoawalters Farms. Their organic turkey and chicken comes from Coleman Farms in Kings Mountain, NC and Free Bird in Fredericksburg, PA. There entire business is transparent; they cover every detail about what they serve on their website.
I highly recommend this restaurant, especially if the weather is nice and you have the chance to eat outside. Yelp gave it a solid four stars, and I give it five. With a huge menu, there is something for everyone, and with absolutely succulent food, you cannot go wrong. Add a lively atmosphere, great staff, and local and organic ingredients, The Daily is the place to go.
All photos by Caroline Goggins.