Church Hill's ebb and flow of restaurant activity might be a microcosm of what's happening across the city. One place closes, another stalls, and two more manage to open, while the longtimers all hope for the steadiness of regulars at the bar. The newest dining spot east of downtown opened July 5, when well-known local baker Michael Calogerakis introduced Anthony's on the Hill at 2824 E. Broad St. To say that neighbors have jumped at a new option is an understatement, with take-out orders making a brisk sideline.
Calogerakis sold his Flour Garden bakery business last summer but still uses some of the products. He makes his pizza dough and marinara daily, along with Bolognese sauce and eggplant Parmesan. "Everything is made from scratch and it's all fresh," he says, "and we pride ourselves on that. It's our mission." So he picks basil from a plant on the counter to garnish the margherita pizza ($9.50), and uses Sausage Craft for the three-meat pizza, ($11.50). Pastas such as baked ziti and ravioli are $11-13. A wine and beer license is expected any time now, enhancing what the 28-seat spot, formerly Buffington's, can offer from its bright corner location.
Calogerakis loves his new work schedule after waking up at midnight to bake "every day for 12 years," he says. He's already hinting that a positive neighborhood response could lead to a sibling business. Anthony's on the Hill serves dinner Tuesday through Sunday and expects to add lunch hours in August. 344-3374.
Meanwhile on the Hill: Johnson's Southern Comfort is expected to open next month. Its sister business OMG Cafe, which is still operating, has been listed for sale. Sub Rosa Bread, across from the Roosevelt, is in progress and its mill has been installed. Proper Pie Co., with chef and owner Neil Smith and Nikki Price, is preparing to open on East Broad Street with an array of sweet and savory New Zealand-style pies.
View of Franklin: Now under construction on the north side of the Jefferson Hotel, an outdoor dining terrace for Lemaire promises alfresco-loving Richmonders an elegant new perch in an area that has few.
Belgian identity: The folks at Belle Vie European Bistro in Midlothian hope they can deepen customers' knowledge of the restaurant's cultural roots. A new missive from the owners points to these Belgian originals: Jean-Claude Van Damme, René Magritte, Django Reinhardt, singer Jacques Brel and the Smurfs — as well as fine chocolate, beer and fries. Weekly specials on wine, mussels and rib-eyes, plus lengthy happy hours Tuesdays through Saturdays, are an incentive to chat more with chef Xavier Meers about his heritage and the food that sustains it. 1244 Alverser Drive. 379-3338. bellevieva.com.
Have a tip about the Richmond restaurant scene? Send it to email@example.com.