by Charles McGuigan
Vickie and Tre Hall, the owners of Stir Crazy, have completely revamped the kitchen and the menu, creating even more from-scratch dishes that have made this popular coffee shop and eatery the go-to place in Northside.
“We have our regulars, but we’re pulling a lot of people from outside the neighborhood,” Vickie tells me.
We’re seated around table in the conference room late on a weekday afternoon.
“I wanted us to be more of a sandwich and coffee shop,” says Tre. “A nice additive to what we had already going. In the morning with the bagels and the biscuits and everything simple and fast, and with lunch more sandwich offerings. Most of the sandwiches we have now were not on the menu before.”
He mentions the little mushroom sandwich made with roasted mushrooms, tomatoes and sweet pepper relish on wheat berry bread. They’ve also added flatbreads, including an eggplant caponata with roasted sweet peppers topped with arugula, balsamic onions and balsamic vinaigrette. “We also have a barbecue chicken flatbread, and one with a roasted mushroom medley,” he says. “We’ve brought in more vegan and vegetarian options.”
The menu itself is easier to follow. “It was hard to read and understand,” Tre says. “I wanted to clarify it and give people an idea of what we have. You can get basic deli sandwiches, and specialty sandwiches that I wanted to create.”
One of the new additions is the Kinda Cuban, which is made with ham and pulled chicken topped with Swiss cheese and pickles. “We also have our club sandwich, which is huge,” Tre says. “It’s about three and half ounces of turkey, three and a half ounces of ham, stacked up tall with bacon.”
For sides, customers can choose from kettle chips, bean and corn salad, coleslaw, and a seasonal side. As the days lengthen and grow ever warmer, they plan to add cold soups to the menu, things like vichyssoise and gazpacho.
They have also began doing a sandwich and side special on Thursdays. “Last week we did a beef tenderloin sandwich with sun-dried tomato and horseradish sauce with provolone on ciabatta,” says Vickie. “They sold out pretty quickly.”
“I want to do a pastrami sandwich this week,” Tre adds.
And much of what comes out of the kitchen these days is made onsite. “A lot of things are made from scratch,” Vickie says. “We roast our own peppers. We make the balsamic onions.”
They also have a baker who comes to work every morning at four. “She bakes scones with a lot of different flavors,” says Vickie. “There’s a ginger fig, a vanilla apricot. She also makes flourless chocolate cake, a couple different crumb cakes, and salted caramel brownies.”
“And we may soon move into making our own cakes,” Tre says.
“People have embraced it all,” says Vickie. “People come in and they try something new every day, and they like it. We do still have people that want some of the old favorites, and even though they’re not on the menu people can still get them.”
There may be more changes on the horizon. They may extend weekday hours during the summer, and begin offering tapas during special events like the monthly Open Mike Nights and Third Thursday Music Nights. “Little appetizers that can be shared,” Vickie says.
Her husband nods. “Things like bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with parmesan cheese and baby spring rolls,” he says. “Something you can nosh on.”
They consider the kitchen changes and the menu enhancements.
“We wanted a way for us to stand out from some of the other coffee shops in the area,” Vickie says. “And we already do stand out because it’s like a living room, as if you’re coming home when you come in here. With the new menu we’ve made Stir Crazy stand out even more. Food has set us apart.”
“And there’s more to come,” says Tre.
Stir Crazy Café
Mon-Fri, 7-5; Sat & Sun 7:30-5
4015 MacArthur Avenue
Richmond, Virginia 23227