Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Short Order

Goodbye Grandpa Eddie and other RVA food farewells.

Posted By on Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 4:00 AM

click to enlarge Carey Friedman - SCOTT ELMQUIST/FILE

Carey Friedman, a lawyer who risked a career switch to make the barbecue he loves, has thrown in the cards, at least for now. He closed Grandpa Eddie’s Alabama Ribs and BBQ in western Henrico last month, ending a six-year run marked by high praise and a big expansion. External factors forced the closing, not a lack of business, Friedman tells his online followers at hogwagon.com.

Friedman says he’s exploring options but is doubtful about relocation in the immediate future. The closing “was sudden,” the result of equipment-related issues; his staff of 20-some is out of work, and the building at Three Chopt and Cox roads is for sale. Fans are bemoaning the loss of Friedman’s brisket, barbecue and peanut butter pie, along with his presence as a good guy with a caring, generous spirit.

Sprout Market & Café: Owners and musicians Jamie and Laurie Lay used the term “localvore” to explain their year-old business’ mission, harvesting foods and bands from close to home. They closed out their run with a private party, a dozen acts and a sweaty crowd on Sept. 4. Style Weekly contributor Karen Newton says it was a memorable farewell at the Morris Street cafe. “That last night at Sprout exemplified everything that was right about a place with a focus on local sourcing,” she reports. “It didn’t matter, food or musicians, they pulled the best from right here in Virginia and went out with a bittersweet symphony that kept both regulars and first-timers focused on something other than what a loss to the greater community Sprout’s closing was.”

Cafe Gutenberg: This Shockoe Bottom landmark was on the market for months, and now is in the hands of a new owner. The business closed in late August; chefs Jen Mindell and Garrett Berry are opening Rooster Cart, a vegan and vegetarian food truck, once permits are secured.

Osteria la Giara: Chef Nuccio Giambanco pulled the plug on his Short Pump-area Italian restaurant just six months after opening. His wok-fired pastas and pizzas had fans, but a proliferation of restaurants nearby covering nearly every culinary option apparently proved too much.

Copper Grill: In a surprising shutdown of an upscale, mall-based chain, this steakhouse ended its run at Short Pump Town Center and referred calls to its Kansas City corporate office. The Times-Dispatch reports that Texas de Brazil is moving in, closing its location at Regency Square mall.

FanHouse: After a lengthy zoning squabble, the fates seemed sealed for owner Sunny Zhao while he removed a downstairs bar at his Floyd Avenue restaurant and thereby lost half of his lively cocktail scene. No word on what happens next, but neighbors surely will be watching.

Ellwood’s Café: Staffers got short notice and were told to reapply for a few prime positions … if they’re willing to wait until February to work again at the coffee shop on Thompson. The space is getting a menu and management shake-up that the ex-employed say will be an offshoot of neighboring Carytown business Can Can.

Next week: What’s coming and what’s cooking as Richmond heads toward fall.

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