This 89-year-old restaurant is a Fan Favorite

On a recent Friday night, my husband and I tried to swing by Beaucoup to grab a drink and check out the space. When we turned down Robinson St, we could already see the line outside. (We shouldn’t have been too surprised. It was a Friday night after all.) So we kept walking down Robinson until we came upon Helen’s. I’ve lived in Richmond since 2010, and Helen’s has been open since 1935, so I really have no excuse for taking so long to finally check this place out. We popped inside, and even though we didn’t have a reservation, we managed to snag a space at the bar.

Helen's Richmond

We ordered drinks while browsing the menu and I was immediately happy that our night had taken an unexpected turn and led us to Helen’s. I quickly started naming dishes that I wanted to order. I knew Helen’s was a popular spot, but I have to admit that I was not expecting the menu to have so many interesting veggie options. I think I was assuming it was more like bar food or steakhouse staples, so I was pretty thrilled with the creativity on the menu!

Helens

Here’s what we ended up ordering:

  • Roasted cauliflower $14
    romesco, pistachios, capers, sage, brown butter
  • Gigante bean bruschetta $11
    with whipped feta
  • Curry roasted carrots $15
    whipped feta, tzatziki, citrus, pistachios, pickled radish
  • Truffle & pecorino fries $9
cauliflower

I’m not sure I could pick a favorite but maybe I’d say the roasted cauliflower. They didn’t skimp on the brown butter and capers and our server offered to bring us some bread to soak up the remaining sauce. (Which we happily accepted.)

carrots

The curry roasted carrots had a great flavor and I loved the crunch of the pistachios paired with the creamy feta.

gigantes

I have a soft spot for gigante beans, ever since I had them at Stella’s. (I do make them at home but they can be kind of hard to find!) I love the tender beans on top of some crusty bread. Clearly, we were in the mood for whipped feta.

fries

While the truffle and pecorino fries were kind of an afterthought for us (they were listed as an amuse-bouche), they were a pretty generous portion of deliciously crispy fries. Not a single fry was left.

Not only was I impressed with the quality of the food, I felt like the prices were more than fair. Even the drinks were pretty affordable. Cocktails were $14-17, which feels pretty standard in Richmond, but they had plenty of beer, cider, wine, and mocktail options that were in the $5-7 range. If you’re looking to save a few bucks, go during happy hour! They have specials from 5p-7p, Tuesday-Thursday with half-off drafts, half-off glasses of their house wine, and $6 mojitos. Not a bad deal!

We loved Helen’s and I’m kicking myself for not trying it sooner. But that just means it might be our go-to spot for a while as I make up for lost time.

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