On a frigid weekend night this winter in Richmond, a lengthy line spilled out onto a parking lot as a huge industrial silo loomed above. The coat-wearing queue was waiting to enter The Park at RVA, the state capital’s hottest new entertainment attraction that sees upwards of 4,000 guests come through on a busy Saturday night.
Once inside the 55,000-square-foot sensory overload of a space, it’s hard to leave. Open since November 2022, the all-indoor complex starts off with a 60-foot, double-sided bar that’s one of the largest in Virginia (1407 Cummings Drive).
Go deeper inside the sprawling venue to find a beer garden with 30 self-pour taps. Six distinct food stalls scattered around the perimeter cater to all sorts of cravings, with options for street tacos, sushi, late-night pizza, smash burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, boozy milkshakes, and desserts.
There’s also a dizzying amount of things to see, hear, and do. That includes 18 lanes of duckpin bowling, virtual golf bays from a Tiger Woods-backed brand, a central DJ booth, cameras converting guests into 3D GIFs, a karaoke room decked out in disco balls and pop art, an 18-hole mini-golf course, a 247-seat auditorium for comedy shows that frequently sell out, and massive LED screens that cost ten figures apiece (plus 14 more TVs also suitable for sports). The D.C. area has its fair share of new food halls and putt-putt bars, with a huge pickleball and roller rink complex coming to Northeast this month. But nothing locally compares to the size and scale of what the Park’s team has managed to assemble under one roof.
Located a 2.5-hour drive down from D.C., the $8 million project two years in the making comes from a group of investors led by Michael & Sons president Basim Mansour (the HVAC giant maintains a facility next door). Richmond’s historically industrial Diamond District is undergoing a massive makeover to the tune of $2.4 billion, and the Park is a big part of its first redevelopment phase.
“What we’ve created is an indoor wonderland that caters to guests from all walks of life,” says managing partner Orcun Turkay, a hospitality vet who’s managed food and beverage programs at hotels like the AC, St. Regis, and D.C.’s W.
The Park at RVA opens 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday. A $29.99-per-person Sunday brunch buffet debuted this spring (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) with $3 mimosas and bloody marys.
The Park, which turns 21-and-up after 7 p.m. on Thursday to Saturday, pays extra attention to its ice program at the lengthy bar. A perfect sphere encapsulating frozen florals bobs inside a bubbly “The City Gardening” cocktail. Its espresso martini goes the tequila (Casamigos) and local route, with a cold brew contribution from Richmond’s cool coffee shop Roastology. Bars and stalls across the 1,300-person venue also show love for Virginia beef, ham, brews, and ice cream.
Here’s a closer look at each in-house vendor:
Pico Freako: The lively Mexican counter lined with shiny lucha libre wrestling masks translates all sorts of styles — beef birria with consomme, beer-batter fish, or fire-grilled jackfruit — into street taco, torta, or quesadilla form.
Chick Flick: The pastel-pink poultry stall lined with rows of ’80s chick-flick VHS tapes stars buttermilk-soaked wings and double-fried chicken thighs on homemade brioche buns. Offbeat handhelds include fried Belgian waffles as the vessels or Virginia smoked ham dipped in creamy cheddar sauce. Sides include garlic dill pickles and RVA’s mac and (pimento) cheese creation with smoked bacon.
Vinny Smasharinos: Wood-fired pies topped with spicy pepperoni cups and San Daniele prosciutto take a trip through a 6,000-pound oven at this corner stall. Named after a sunglasses-wearing cartoon stud who shows up on stickers and takeout boxes, Vinny’s other headliner is double-patty smash burgers built with Virginia beef. Prices top out at $17 for a wagyu sirloin variety topped with crispy onion strings. The subway-tiled stall also specializes in steak and cheese, Italian, and meatball subs. Tucked near the comedy club’s exit, Vinny turns up the strobe lights and volume on weekends with a late-night pizza party from 11 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
Nori Squad: Saddle up to this sleek sushi and sake bar for nigiri and hand rolls filled with hamachi, toro tuna, and tempura shrimp. Or build banh mi or mini bao buns with a choice of barbecue pork, katsu chicken, and curry lamb sausage. Nori is considered RVA’s main sit-down situation, and an in-the-works omakase menu will fancy up the curtain-framed counter even more.
Bowl Mama: Arguably the healthiest stall here, walk-up customers personalize bowls with a base of cauliflower rice, salad, or naan and protein picks like spicy falafel, sirloin from Lynchburg, Virginia’s Seven Hills, za’atar shrimp, olive oil-poached blue fin tuna, and bourbon barbecue jackfruit.
Sweet OG’s: Richmond’s Gelati Celasti ice cream supplies scoops of flavors like rum raisin and salted caramel. Milkshakes made with Fruity Pebbles and blueberry cheesecake join a spiked section of thick sippers like peaches or Oreos and cream. An in-house pastry chef stocks a glass case near the register with pound cakes, gorgeous tarts, eclairs, and biscotti that disappear quickly after dinnertime.