Venturing to downtown Richmond? Find your stomach growling along the way? Are you craving pizza? If you answered “yes” to any of these, I recommend that you travel to Shockoe Slip for a delectable meal at Bottoms Up Pizza.
“Get your kicks on Route 66,” sang a member of ButterBean Jazz Quartet as I entered the restaurant. The place was packed for a Sunday night; no stools left at the bar, all of the booths filled, and a mouth-watering scent permeated the room. I was greeted by two welcoming hostesses who lead my dining companion and me to our table. We sat next to a wonderful group that ordered the Garden Pizza, a delicious array of vegetables and cheese with the popular Bottoms Up red sauce, and the Chesapeake, a creative variety of seafood and their delicious white sauce, which smelled exquisite.
I was most impressed by their menu. It hosted a diverse range of pizzas and other meals, such as burgers and pasta dishes. The menu proved to be the challenge of the night, since eliminating delicious options, such as the Bottoms Up Chili, Wings, and Super Nachos appetizers, was heartbreaking. We ended up ordering the Super Nachos to start and enjoyed the Hawaiian, one of their signature pizzas. Polly Sommers (‘18) and I both gladly took leftovers home. She said that a true testimony to delicious pizza is “being able to eat it the next morning [for breakfast] and having be just as delicious as fresh out of the oven,” and we both agreed that Bottoms Up makes delicious pizza.
Strategically ordering was a challenge, but what helped me was the respectful and informative service from our waitress. As a person with severe anaphylactic allergies to all nuts and shellfish, going out to eat can be a life-threatening experience. However, my experience with Bottoms Up was superb. I never doubted the allergen information, and our waitress confidently said, “You shouldn’t have too much to worry about. We take allergies very seriously here.” She then proceeded to check with the chef that my meal could be prepared safely as an added precautionary measure.
Not only was the food incredibly satisfying, but paired with the ambiance of the restaurant, my total experience was truly wonderful. The restaurant has a very contemporary theme in its layout. From the abstract artwork to the Bottoms Up neon triangle signs they have scattered about the walls, the eatery truly feels like an authentic representation of the Richmond area. Gregory J. Gilligan from the Richmond Times Dispatch wrote, “the restaurant is casual and family-friendly. Great place to gather with friends.” Jack Wyatt (‘18) says their food is “mouth-watering” and that he would love to take his basketball team there for a team dinner to bond.
I found the collective aesthetics and restaurant design especially impressive because of the devastating flood that hit the area on August 30, 2004. Hurricane Gaston left its mark on Shockoe Bottom and especially Bottoms Up. In fact, when driving to the restaurant, you can see the flood wall that is designed to protect the neighborhood. It is disputed that the wall actually contributed to the harsh flood, since the excess water would not properly drain. Despite that setback, Bottoms Up has been resilient with their food, ambiance, and service.
So if you’re visiting Richmond from out of town, or currently live here and have never ventured out of your food comfort zone, I guarantee a good time and good food at Bottoms Up Pizza. It’s a tasty trip to 1700 Dock Street that will leave you with a stuffed stomach but an even wider smile.
Featured image credit: Grant Villanueva.