Fall is in the Air

The grapes are in. The leaves are turning. The intense heat is all but a wistful memory. Here on the banks of the James a cooler breeze is rolling in with the tide. At last, Virginia’s delicious autumn outdoor season is upon us. What better way to celebrate than on our riverside dining porch, with delectable food, tasty wines, and the best river view this side of the Mississippi?

In addition to our locavore Prix Fixe Dinners, cooked up every Thursday night by Chef Carlisle, we’ve added a few special events to our calendar to ring in the new season:

The Tunes:


Saturday, Oct. 8th (1-4pm): The homegrown dynamic duo COLIN & CAROLINE return for an afternoon sip-n- serenade session on the patio, where they’ll perform creative covers of your favorite jams and some melodic originals. Their first YouTube video, a stripped-down acoustic version of the manic Brit rock hit “I Believe in a Little Thing Called Love” by The Darkness, has over 200,000 views! So bring your friends, order up a round of red, white or bubbly and some delicious small plates of Chef Carlisle’s always fresh cuisine, and groove with the egrets and eagles to the river view.


Sunday, Oct. 30th (1-4pm): SCATTERED SMOTHERED & COVERED, a Richmond- based acoustic roots group, are not your grandmother’s bluegrass band. They pick and strum their old-time, country, blues, and grassy tunes with a distinctive Grateful Dead vibe. Wait ’til you hear “Wild Horses” with a mandolin lead. (And the band has some special arrangements they play for wedding ceremonies, so any brides-to- be out there, don’t be bashful; request a sample of their gorgeous ceremony tunes.) We think this quartet’s melodic and soothing riffs are a perfect fit with our serene vistas. The band also reaches into a wide range of other genres, including Western swing, classic rock and reggae, with a few tasty originals we recommend pairing with any of our lush red, white, and rosé wines.


Sunday, October 23rd (1-4pm): We’re proud to welcome OAK LANE to Upper Shirley’s patio series! This six-member, RVA, acoustic super-group, featuring Andy Smith, Bill Hardy, Liz Nance, Massie Valentine, Russell Lawson, and Tim Glundach, will make their way from band HQ on the West End’s Oak Lane to our river bend to serenade us with an eclectic mix of folk, bluegrass, and pop with three- and four-part harmonies emerging from their church choir roots.

The Tastes

Friday, Nov. 18th, SWINE AND WINE (4-7pm): Chef Carlisle is proud to announce that he and Upper Shirley will be hosting one of the featured stops of RVA’s nationally renowned Fire, Flour & Fork festival.

In case you’re not yet familiar with Fire, Flour & Fork, let me assure you: You don’t want to miss this feast for the stomach and the mind! At our Smoke on the Water/Swine & Wine evening, you’ll get to eat some of the best backyard cooking in the country from nationally recognized chefs, learning about the provenance of their dishes and about their unique cooking techniques as you go.

After a good story? There’s perhaps no better yarn spinner at Upper Shirley than Chef Carlisle. He’s a BBQ legend around these parts – he and his forebears grew up in Richmond’s kitchens, most opening their own local spots. Ask him about his great-great-grandfather, who was a drummer boy in the Civil War, then opened a BBQ restaurant downtown to feed his fellow war veterans until eventually he was the oldest living Civil War survivor left in the city!

But Carlisle won’t be alone in this. Oh no, he and our house crew will be joined by ZZQ, Phil Bryant, Travis Grimes, Mike Moore, Autumn Olive Farm, Randall Doetzer, Carena’s, and Tazza Kitchen to provide you with a veritable feast for the palate and taste buds. We’re talking a smoked meat extravaganza, paired with Virginia’s best wines, craft beer, oysters, and, of course, some tasty tunes from Richmond's own Sturgeon City. This is one backyard BBQ you won’t want to miss. Tickets and details here.


Thursday, Nov. 24th (11-3pm): In addition to our Prix Fixe dinners every Thursday, we'll also be putting together a special reservation-only Thanksgiving lunch, cooked up right by Chef Carlisle. Bring your appetite, and keep your eyes peeled for the menu update – this one's gonna be good! Reservations by phone.