Branching Out

Chef Walter Bundy’s new Richmond restaurant celebrates Virginia.

Stay rooted, but branch out. For Chef Walter Bundy, these are words to live by.  

“Really it’s about knowing where you came from, and being all that you can be in order to grow,” says Bundy, whose culinary resume includes nearly two decades at the helm of Lemaire at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, and the French Laundry in Yountville, California.

Bundy is a Virginian, born and raised in Richmond, and for years he’s dreamed of a place where his culinary skills and affection for his home could come together.

A chandelier made of deer antlers hangs in the main dining room. 

Photo courtesy of Shagbark  

Bundy fulfills his wish in Shagbark, the new spot for dinner and drinks in Richmond that debuted last month (the name was inspired by the old shagbark hickory trees on his family’s James River farm).

Virginia is a dynamic state, and Bundy’s vision was a restaurant that represents its contrasting elements. Elegant dishes from the dinner menu like a slow-grilled quail, Alaskan King salmon and day boat scallops with applewood-smoked bacon are served on rustic hand-thrown plates made by Mike Brown at Tree Hill Pottery in Richmond.

The idea of contrasts also plays out in the décor. In the main dining room, a chandelier made out of deer antlers hangs alongside delicate, turquoise globe light fixtures crafted by Richmond designer Wendy Umanoff, and tall room dividers are made out of shagbark trunks.

And Bundy emphasizes local: The menu lists specific ingredients like stone-ground grits from Byrd Mill in Ashland and Camembert from Goats R Us in Blackstone. The wine comes from all over the world, but the drink menu features an all-Virginia beer list, plus cocktails crafted with regional spirits and housemade ingredients.

“That’s just how I cook, just what I know,” Bundy says. “I want to support our local farmers because I think the world of them. I don’t want to pay for greens from California when I can buy them from Rob and Jo at Manakintowne Farms.”  

Bundy says to expect significant menu overhauls at least four to six times a year, with new specials (like last week’s rockfish, pulled straight out of the Chesapeake Bay) rotating in and out every night or two. 

4901 Libbie Mill Blvd, Richmond •

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