Grass-fed burgers and seasonal sides are Josh Eftekhari's answer to the healthy-food business model. For Boom Boom Burger, he's buying ingredients from renowned Polyface Farms to serve nutritionally dense foods in a fun, progressive and social-media-driven environment. The first location in what Eftekhari intends to become a franchise (he says multiunit concept) is in the former PapaNingo spot at 1703 E. Franklin St. in Shockoe Bottom.
House-made condiments, local mushrooms and cheeses, and Polyface bacon and eggs for the happy pig and clucker options, give the small menu personality. The Mrs. Boom burger has Colby cheese, house-made ketchup and pickles for $7.50; the BBQ Boom with Gouda, bacon and house barbecue sauce runs $10. Seating at red stools around the perimeter and two communal tables in the center handle about 30 customers, and business has started strong thanks to tweets, fans and videos explaining the Boom Boom mission.
Grass-fed beef is trickier to cook, Eftekhari says, “much different than grain-fed beef. It can go from cooked through and juicy to overcooked in 30 seconds.” He's teaching kitchen skills to a young staff while flipping quite a few burgers himself — a long way from his previous job with Dominion Resources. “I feel very proud that we've hired young people and they've learned how to cook something of quality, handling this carefully,” he says. “What we're doing is what a lot of people have wanted.” He's looking at a Virginia Commonwealth University location and Charlottesville for potential offshoots. Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. No cash. http://www.boom-booms.com.
Greg Haley's running on adrenaline while Amuse, the fine-dining restaurant at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, gears up for the biggest exhibition ever and hordes of hungry patrons. As parts of Picasso's personal collection open their four-month run, chef Haley and the culinary team will feed 700 guests at a gala, a series of preview functions and a full house of reserved seats for the foreseeable future. Lunch will last an extra hour, until 3:30 p.m., and small plates and cocktails are available until closing. Dinner hours continue on Thursdays and Fridays.
This is proving time for the museum's retooled food-service areas, with potential for a serious payoff. Amuse will unveil a new round of seasonal menu items, focusing on Spanish and French dishes to summon the painter's palate — an example is grilled salmon served on lamb sausage, chickpea and spinach stew. New signature red and white VMFA wines, blended by Michael Shaps of Charlottesville, already are being poured.
Visitors will see other odes to Picasso within a tourist-friendly radius of the museum. At Six Burner, co-owner Beth Marchant will display her Picasso-inspired ink, charcoal and pastel pieces throughout the restaurant (http://www.sixburner.net). Strawberry Street CafAc is offering a 10 percent discount when customers show their Picasso ticket stubs (http://www.strawberrystcafe.com).
Jaks Bagels Sandwiches, bagels, sweets and coffees in new Carytown shop. Breakfast and lunch daily. 3443 W. Cary St. 447-2146. http://www.jaksbagels.com.
Cupertino's New York Bagels and Deli New downtown location for breakfast and lunch sandwiches, bagels and spreads. Weekdays 7 a.m.-2 p.m. 1215 E. Main St. 788-1111. http://www.cupertinobagel.com.
Surf's out: The Midlothian branch of Outer Banks Seafood Company closed last week, after eight months in business in the former Bottega Bistro spot. The seafood chain's Virginia Beach location remains open.