I just love Richmond in the fall. Truth be told, I love anywhere along the Eastern seaboard in the fall. College in North Carolina and visits down to Charleston and up to Washington and Virginia cemented a love of a fall weekends spent in charming Southern towns accessible via I-95.
Fall feels like school, football, and excitement in the air—and we all love a weekend getaway. So, when I was offered the option to try Getaround, a car sharing service, I jumped at the chance to borrow a car for the weekend. Getaround is the ultimate in the sharing economy: you literally borrow your neighbors car, by booking the make and model from a selection of vehicles near you, and you reserve it for a period of time through the app. While I loved the concept, I was worried about how this would work in practice. Would I be able to find the car? (They’re geotagged and painted with a Getaround logo.) Would I be able to enter the car? (The app locks and unlocks the car easily for you.) Could I find the key? (The instructions were clear and easy.) What sort of gas would I use in the Mercedes? (There were explicit instructions from the owner.) I was surprised by how simple and convenient this was. For an early stage start-up, I found minimal issues.
The Quirk Hotel is a bright, airy and historic hotel, which once hosted a historic department store, J.B Mosby & Co., built in 1916. It’s been modernized into a posh, kitschy, and cute hotel, with pastel pink accents, high ceilings, and retro, playful decor.
As you enter the hotel, bell hops open the doors to greet you and there’s a modernized take on a vintage check in. Behind the concierge is an art display of vintage hats. To your left, there’s a coffee bar and bakery. And, beyond that, a charming art gallery and boutique.
The hotel’s lobby doubles as a restaurant and bar, with high, arched ceilings and low, round, retro tables. The focal point, at the back of the lobby, is the long bar with plush pink velvet stools.
When we arrived Friday evening, the restaurant was bustling with beautiful people having dinner—it was lovely to watch watching through the hotel’s floor-to-ceiling windows.
The boutique and art gallery was hosting a private party when we arrived Friday, but I made a mental note to peek my nose in later in the weekend.
We enjoyed a delicious dinner around the corner at Saison, and then took in a cocktail at the bar.
We spent the night at Quirk, and found the rooms to be utter perfection. Honestly, I couldn’t have designed it better had I done so myself. The room was modern, with enormously high ceilings, white oak flooring and, again, those floor-to-ceiling windows. Quirk’s aesthetic of modern touches with playful, retro vibes continues to the rooms—I loved the pastel pink noise machines alongside the bed. The enormous beds are re-purposed from 100-year-old Virginia wood beams and are oh-so-comfortable with their classic, fluffy white linens. The bathrooms are grey-and-white marble and tile, with great lighting, lots of mirrors, and delightful, posh, nectarine bath products. I might have taken a soap with me—which is something I am loathe to do, but in this case I just couldn’t resist.
The next day, we trotted off to yoga and then made our way back to the hotel for brunch at Maple & Pine, Quirk Hotel’s restaurant. The servers are charming Southern boys dressed in bow ties and aprons, making me love the Quirk even more.
We began with a mimosa for the lady and a Bloody Mary for the gentleman. The mimosa was served in a rather tall champagne flute, and was frothy and light. Just how I prefer my mimosas. The Bloody Mary was utter perfection: light and spicy—it packed flavor, but went down smooth. I normally eschew Bloody Marys but I continued to steal sips of his.
The menu is filled with hearty, seasonal dishes that’s modern American with a touch of Southern. There are plenty of vegetables, such as a quinoa with pickled poblano peppers, a cauliflower bisque, or a Greek yogurt parfait with marinated blackberries and verjus sorbet. It’s inventive and seasonal—with some brunch dishes that I’ve never seen before.
To begin, we shared the quiche, a beautiful slice layered with slices of zucchini, tomato, and goat cheese and served with a side salad. It was incredibly moist, flavorful and fresh, with soft egg and a buttery, flaky crust. I don’t normally go crazy for quiche, but I will say I absolutely loved this.
As this is the South—God Bless it—we went for the sammiches. For my date, the breakfast burger, with porkstrami, cheddar and a fried egg on a buttermilk biscuit. This thing was hearty, decadent and messy. The egg was delightfully runny and the cheese melty—and oh that biscuit.
I would have been sorely disappointed if I’d traveled all the way to Richmond for lackluster biscuits, and happily this was not the case.
I was tempted by the pork belly with kimchi polenta and a poached egg, but instead I selected the fried chicken sandwich. The Buttermilk fried chicken was moist, but sadly there was too much fried and not enough chicken on the sandwich I received. It was dressed with a green tomato poblano relish, slices of greasy bacon and Frank’s mayonnaise, which was an epic combination. Had I gotten a different slice of chicken, this would have been perfection.
This was not a light brunch—so we went all out with the brioche French toast, served with Hickory syrup and a seasonal compote.
This dish was enormous bricks of fluffy bread, which surprised me by being packed with cinnamon flavor and not at all bland. They were topped with roasted apples. The whole thing was heaven.
After brunch, we perused the pink, posh boutique adjacent to the art gallery, which is loaded with thoughtful gifts from local designers—everything from jewelry to candles to baby gifts. I appreciated the candles that smell like your boyfriend and the absolutely darling hand-made baby clothes. I definitely did not leave empty handed.
The Bitches say: A. A delightful, playful and posh hotel that’s perfect for a weekend getaway and for brunch, which offered delicious, inventive, and fresh Southern fare served by cute boys in bow ties.
Maple & Pine
The Quirk Hotel
201 W Broad St.
Maple & Pine serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Quirk Hotel invited us in for the visit, so this was on the house.