InstaBowl opens in The Fan with takeout-only twist on fine dining


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A new local restaurant has opened in Richmond’s Fan District, offering a strictly takeout menu with COVID-19 guidelines in mind. At InstaBowl, fine dining meets a large food-hall space.

Chef Mike Ledesma, who also owns Perch Richmond, said going from “casual, fine dining to carry-out delivery” has been a big step in his growth as a chef.

Since opening “RVA’s new go-to to-go” spot this week, as he calls it, Ledesma said business has grown 20% each day as more people find out about the 2601 W. Cary St. location. InstaBowl has moved into the space formerly occupied by Acacia.

Guest leaving InstaBowl with a takeout dish. Photo by Tyler Thrasher

Although he has opened a new business, 2020 hasn’t been an easy year for Ledesma. He had to revisit initial building plans for InstaBowl during the shutdown in March — switching from a fine-dining restaurant to carry-out only.

“When we took over the building in March, we had this blow out of interior designers, architects and engineers to change the whole thing,” Ledesma explained. “Then March happened and shut the whole thing down. Tried to think backwards and change the model a little bit. So InstaBowl was the start of the virtual food hall.”

With nothing inside the restaurant but an empty hall leading to the kitchen, he said the simplification helps them focus on creating gourmet food.

“It’s a 4,500-square-foot restaurant that is no longer a restaurant. I feel like it’s a factory for food.”

Chef Michael Ledesna
Michael Ledesna showing 8News inside the new takeout restaurant. Photo by Tyler Thrasher

Chefs inside InstaBowl’s kitchen express their creativity with each dish, and Ledesma said he is never afraid to mix up the menu.

“A lot of restaurants with this kind of format keep the same menu for a long time, but I feel like we can go seasonality,” Ledesma said. “We can go with what people are wanting to eat, and we can see the trends and make changes faster.”

You can visit InstaBowl’s website to place your next takeout order.


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