Joining the small but expanding ranks of Richmond’s farm-to-table dining establishments, The Savory Grain embraces the same ethos that guides Jami Bohdan, owner and operator, in her daily life as a consumer.
To the 18-year restaurant industry veteran, indulging in the bounty of nearby farms, breweries, and wineries just makes sense.
“I don’t see why it’s not done more. With all the outsourcing that’s done with the big companies, I think everyone in every town should try to work as much as they can with local vendors and local products,” she explains, pointing out that the freshness of ingredients born and bred in our neck of the woods is itself a considerable benefit.
Local sourcing of fresh ingredients has its challenges, such as a relatively limited range of options. But Bohdan, who co-founded the business with her husband Jason Bohdan, believes that Virginia’s selection of locally produced offerings is expanding. And she’s confident that businesses such as The Savory Grain can play a role in driving that trend and keeping it alive for years to come.
“It’s a great way to work within the community and support local companies. And in turn, they support us,” she explains.
Braised rabbit pot pie and stuffed chicken sandwiches are among the popular dishes served at the West Broad Street eatery. Chef Sean Murphy’s meatloaf and shrimp and grits, Bohdan shares, draw repeat patrons from all over town.
The extensive beer selection includes brews from such sudsy neighbors as Hardywood, Blue Mountain, Devil’s Backbone, and Lickinghole Creek.
Buying from area farms also demands deference to nature when it comes to menu planning, so the West Broad Street eatery happily adapts its selections to suit the season. Local tomatoes and greens find their way into the summertime fare, while peanuts make frequent appearances in dishes served both at the restaurant and through its affiliated operation, Imperial Catering.
Paying tribute to enduring favorites that have garnered the enthusiasm of generations, Bohdan says the menu includes family recipes, such as her grandmother’s yeast rolls—served at the beginning of every dinner—and her grandmother’s crab dip, which is offered in the summer.
In addition to general dining areas, The Savory Grain provides separate spaces suitable for family gatherings and private events.
Bohdan, whose resume includes experience at area establishments such as Out of Bounds, Bandito’s, and the Fish Bowl, was most recently the general manager at the Republic. When the former Empress—next to the Republic—closed, she seized the opportunity to create the dining destination she had envisioned for years.
“I’ve always wanted to create a restaurant where you have great food, great service, and a great overall experience.”