With this outdoor event raising money to open their permanent location, Ms. Girlee’s Kitchen brings summer fun and a taste of community to Fulton Hill.
What better way to start the weekend than with a fish fry? The first ever fish fry in Fulton Hill, hosted by Ms. Girlee’s Kitchen and Community 50/50, fed over 450 people last Saturday.
Helen Holmes is the owner of Ms. Girlee’s Kitchen, and moved the restaurant to its current location, on Parker Street in Fulton Hill, a year ago. She raised her children in Fulton Hill and knew it was the perfect place to bring her restaurant.
“I just want to bring that home feeling to the area,” Holmes said.
Holmes began the restaurant with her brother in 2015, as a full-service catering company. They prepared the food at home before moving to a building in Downtown Richmond where she inititally created Ms. Girlee’s Restaurant.
“I had to continue with the business because it was named after my grandmother.” Holmes said, “It has been a long, hard road. But I can’t stop.”
Holmes has spent years battling contractors, family and other businesses, trying to open her restaurant. She is currently operating out of a temporary building while generating money needed to complete renovations for the new building.
“I want to earn the money,” Holmes said. “I don’t want to borrow it. I don’t want to ask anybody for it. I want to earn it.”
For the Fulton Hill fish fry, Ms. Girlee’s Kitchen partnered with the non-profit organization Community 50/50, a mentoring and community outreach program geared toward helping youth and families in the Richmond area. Community 50/50 CEO Zenobia Bey says Ms. Girlee’s helps feed the Blackwell community every third Sunday, and serves from 75 to 100 people. Holmes has been working with Community 50/50 for three years.
“Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, she provides a hot meal for those in need,” Bey said. “Ms. Girlee’s is definitely one of our biggest sponsors.”
“For every meal that I sell, I give away a meal to feed our homeless community,” Holmes said. “We feed about 500 homeless brothers and sisters every single month.”
While Holmes works to open her Parker St location, she’s currently serving Sunday brunch on a temporary basis from 11-4 PM at 6335 Jahnke Road. However, the Fulton Hill Fish Fry last Saturday took place outside the new location she’s working to open at 4809 Parker Street. Entertainment included vendors, karaoke, face painting, and music by DJ Crush Groovey. Cookie Monster also made an appearance for the kids’ entertainment, and the Virginia Sweet soft-serve ice cream truck served sweet treats and beverages.
Highlights of the fish fry menu included the Fulton Bottom fish sandwich, a staple of the Ms. Girlee’s Kitchen menu, as well as fried chicken wings, and signature crab cakes. Each was offered as a dinner, with a side of mac and cheese. All entrees came with a complimentary piece of cornbread. The mac and cheese was such a hit that it sold out two hours into the event.
More a family cookout than a simple fish fry, many guests brought lawn chairs to sit and enjoy the scenery. Kids played with bubbles and drew with sidewalk chalk. The music brought together all ages to the dance floor for a great time.
In fact, the Fulton Hill fish fry was such a success, Ms. Girlee’s Kitchen is bringing it back this weekend.
“Oh my God, people loved it,” Holmes said. “I’m going to continue to do [the fish fry] until I generate the funds to get this building open.”
Come out to Parker Street in Fulton Hill this Saturday, partake in the delicious food and festivities, and help a community-minded local restaurant give their business a permanent home. Be there early! The food’s so good, it won’t last long.