As a resident of the Laburnum Park neighborhood, I have to save that I definitely have some bias when writing about its virtues. It’s another example of the type of tight-knit, historic neighborhood that has made the Northside such a popular destination in recent years. Just North of The Diamond and The Boulevard, the neighborhood is made up of fifteen city blocks bordered by Hermitage Road on the West, Laburnum Avenue on the North, Brook Road on the East and Westwood Avenue on the South.
Laburnum Park sits on land that once made up a large portion of Joseph Bryan’s estate. Bryan, a wealthy, well-known businessman, built a very large home called “Laburnum” there during the late 1800s and then again in 1906 after the first burned to the ground. Though its surroundings have changed since then, the 50-room house still stands as formidable landmark near the corner of Westwood Avenue and Brook Road.
After his passing in 1919, Bryan’s heirs chose to embrace the changing times and divided the estate into residential parcels that could take advantage of the streetcar lines. Most of the homes were built between 1919 and 1930 using classic materials such as brick, concrete, wood siding and shingles, stucco and slate. Architectural styles include Bungalow/Craftsman, Colonial Revival, Classical Revival, French Renaissance, Queen Anne, Spanish Colonial Revival, and Tudor Revival.
Like the nearby Bellevue, Ginter Parkand Sherwood Park neighborhoods, Laburnum Park has experienced renewed interest in recent years. Buyers have been drawn to its collection of larger historic homes, unusually large lots for an urban location, and boulevard style streets with wide tree-lined grass medians not found in many other neighborhoods in the City. Convenient access to the interstates as well as proximity to downtown, VCU, Veritas and several other private schools have also been major catalysts for rejuvenation.
Here are a few walkable spots you should check out:
Demi’s Mediterranean Kitchen – A relatively recent addition to Northside that has become a popular dinner destination.
Dot’s Back Inn – A time-tested Northside classic greasy spoon… the outdoor seating is especially popular in the milder months.
Early Bird Biscuit Company – I mean, who doesn’t like a hot buttermilk biscuit?
Enoteca Sogno – Fantastic Italian restaurant with great wines and atmosphere.
Kitchen 64 – Stop in for a lazy Sunday brunch.
Mi Jalisco – Sometimes you just need a fishbowl-sized margarita and a couple tacos to celebrate the end of a long week.
The Mill on MacArthur – Great little diner with good beer on tap and tasty burgers.
Morsels – How great is it to have a late night dessert spot to feed your sweet tooth just blocks away?
Stir Crazy – Northside’s favorite meeting spot. The coffee, tea and food are pretty good too.
Little House Green Grocery – Local, organic, natural and high quality food in small convenient (and green) package.