From the inside out, The Shaved Duck Restaurant's vibe directly reflects owner Joe Kmetz’s personal style. Simple by design yet easily customized for special occasions and events, the restaurant is polished and the decor modest, showcasing fresh ingredients and highlighting exceptional service. All about excellent food and drinks, The Shaved Duck offers a modern setting with neutral colors, raw materials, and natural light. In April, Joe sat down with Midlothian Lifestyle and Short Pump City Lifestyle publisher Aaron Swart with The Brand Artisan podcast and LCR Media’s Naylor Taliaferro. While cooking up and serving one of his outstanding dishes, Joe talked to Aaron and Naylor about the restaurant's history, the revolving menu items, and hosting events at The Shaved Duck.
AARON AND NAYLOR: PLEASE TELL ME A BIT ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND.
JOE: I grew up living and working in Midlothian and graduated from Midlothian High School and Virginia Commonwealth University. I was always invested in the local hospitality industry, working as a cook behind the scenes in the kitchen to the forefront as a busboy, server, manager, and all-around "friendly face.” Today, I lead our kitchen crew, organizing seasonal undertakings and new menu development, continuously working to develop our menu offerings and enhance service practices to create a complete, unique dining experience for local patrons and first-time visitors.
AARON AND NAYLOR: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO OPEN A RESTAURANT?
JOE: I always wanted to open a family-owned-and-operated business. After years of restaurant experience spanning all roles, I saw the opportunity to expose Southside diners to something different by way of upscale food and beverage without any pretense or formality requirement. The grand opening of The Shaved Duck Restaurant in 2017 was a dream come true for me.
AARON AND NAYLOR: WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE NAME THE SHAVED DUCK FOR YOUR RESTAURANT?
JOE: My grandfather was an avid collector, and his shaved duck collection impressed me the most. My family and I solidified the name during a late-night brainstorming session over shots of whiskey and fond memories of my grandparents' duck memorabilia.
AARON AND NAYLOR: HOW DO YOU EXPRESS YOUR FAMILY TIES AND TRADITIONS THROUGH YOUR FOOD?
JOE: Simply put, I don’t! My interest in cultivating my unique palate led me down a path separate from my familial traditions. As a family-owned business, however, the menu concept is balanced to ensure there is something for everyone to enjoy.
AARON AND NAYLOR: WHAT KIND OF CUISINE DO YOU OFFER?
JOE: Our menu is inspired by rotating seasonal influences and executed in-house. In addition to highlighting different duck preparations, we offer house-made pasta dishes, hand-cut steaks, rotating seafood varieties, and signature brunch specialties. Classified as New American, we explore the fusion of traditional flavors & classic cooking techniques with foreign styles and elements. Our offerings include French, Mexican, Korean, and classic Southern-inspired menu options. I aim to introduce diners to ingredients and flavor profiles they might feel uncomfortable exploring.
AARON AND NAYLOR: DOES THE SHAVED DUCK HAVE ANY UNIQUE FOOD ITEMS OR BEVERAGES ON THE MENU?
JOE: Duck is the house specialty, but our menu features a seasonal variety of unique yet approachable variations of familiar dishes. We run specials featuring specialty items like game birds, octopus, and pork belly. We are known for our craft cocktails using original seasonal recipes with all house-made components: syrups, shrubs, freshly squeezed juices, house infused-spirits, and our signature house bitters. We also offer a carefully curated wine selection and rotating seasonal craft beers on draft.
AARON AND NAYLOR: HOW DO YOU ACCOMMODATE THOSE WITH DIETARY RESTRICTIONS (FOOD ALLERGIES, GLUTEN FREE)?
JOE: Defined as a scratch kitchen, all bread, pasta, sauces, and desserts are executed in-house. We can adapt and customize our offerings to accommodate diners with special requests and restrictions, especially given advanced notice. Gluten free, vegetarian, and kid-friendly options are always available.
AARON AND NAYLOR: WHAT SETS THE SHAVED DUCK APART FROM OTHER RESTAURANTS IN THE AREA?
JOE: Our food quality contrasts with our casual ambiance. Our primary goal is to serve upscale food & beverage in a laid-back environment where people feel comfortable asking questions and trying new things. Many of our staff have been with the company for years, and they welcome first-time guests with understanding and patience.
AARON AND NAYLOR: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE ITEM ON THE MENU?
JOE: The Crispy Duck Leg is our longest-running staple entree and best exemplifies our brand. With approachable ingredients, this dish is unique and deliberate in its composition. All flavors and textures are meant to create a balanced final product and memorable dining experience.
AARON AND NAYLOR: WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND ORDERING AT THE SHAVED DUCK FOR FIRST-TIME VISITORS?
JOE: Definitely duck. We offer a variety of ways to introduce first-time diners to our favorite protein. The Duck Burger (blend of ground beef and duck) is often an excellent choice for those interested in trying duck for the first time, as the texture and preparation are most familiar. For those unfamiliar with duck, we also recommend anything with duck confit, as it is thoroughly cooked with fantastic texture and depth of flavor. For the duck connoisseur, our duck breast is the item to try.
AARON AND NAYLOR: WHAT KINDS OF EVENTS OR EXPERIENCES DO YOU OFFER AT THE SHAVED DUCK?
JOE: The Shaved Duck is perfect for special occasions like date nights, anniversaries, family brunches, happy hours, holiday parties, private chef’s tables, networking events, and more! We offer something for everyone and can customize experiences depending on guest preferences. Our private dining room offers personalized, high-quality intimate dining experiences for any special occasion or event. Seasonal food and beverage-related events are hosted in this room and can seat up to thirty guests. We also offer a private Chef’s Table experience!
To book your next event or a private Chef's Table, please email Joe Kmetz at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 804-379-7505 for availability.
To listen to this podcast, check out episodes 9 on The Brand Artisan podcast, available on Spotify, Apple, Amazon Music, and Google Play.
"The restaurant's name is an ode to my paternal grandfather and signifies the nature of my restaurant business venture." - Joe Kmetz