Dining Trio

Acacia, Mockingbird, and Rockafeller’s deliver new looks and flavors.

Richmond foodies have been eagerly anticipating the return of Acacia, which closed in early 2020. And now is the time. Acacia Mid-town is set to reopen in Libbie Mill this fall.

A year after the original Acacia opened in 1998, chef and owner Dale Reitzer was recognized as a “Best New Chef in America” by Food & Wine magazine and earned numerous James Beard Award nominations. 

Jumbo lump crab cakes and velvet soft shells—two Acacia mainstays—will return, with Reitzer and his wife, Aline, offering “modern coastal cuisine, fresh-catch seafood, pasture-raised meats and local, seasonal ingredients,” he says. “We’ve traveled to The Keys, Mexico, and Belize, and I have read a lot of cookbooks in the last two years—we are excited to incorporate a fresher approach of cooking into Acacia’s menu.” AcaciaRestaurant.com 

Chef extraordinaire Melissa Close-Hart has opened Mockingbird on Monticello Avenue in the town Mr. Jefferson built. Close-Hart first revealed her culinary prowess at Barboursville Vineyards’ Palladio Restaurant. 

A nod to Harper Lee’s novel, the flavors at Mockingbird reflect the chef’s Alabama roots. Look for whipped pimento cheese-fried green tomatoes, local bison hanger steak with Virginia whiskey black pepper demi-glace, and chocolate-bourbon pecan pie. Mockingbird-Cville.com

The venerable Rockafeller’s Restaurant, long located on Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach, has a new look and new menu. Modern touches like new lighting, seating, cool colors, and a swanky bar complement the waterfront views. 

Rockafeller’s partners with local purveyors to source ingredients and supports initiatives to secure future oyster colonies by recycling shells. 

Despite the new look, it’s no surprise that Oysters Rockafeller remains a signature dish, along with favorites like Seafood Mac ‘n’ Cheese and authentic Lobstah Rolls. Rockafellers.com

This article originally appeared in the October 2022 issue.

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