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Scott Elmquist

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Short Order

RVA Food News: New Tarrant's, Chefs Making Moves, Burger Euphoria + More

Posted By on Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 4:00 AM

Western Empire

Construction starts at the former Grandpa Eddie's at Cox and Three Chopt roads this week, with restaurateur Ted Santarella opening a second location of his downtown eatery Tarrant's. He says the 6,700-square-foot space is being gutted to install "a hybrid of Tarrant's and Max's on Broad — the chandeliers and subway tiles, reclaimed woods and tile floors" of the downtown spots. A large patio will have its own bar. The project is expected to take six months to complete, bringing the Tarrant's menu — soups, comfort food entrees, pastas and pizzas — to the Innsbrook and Short Pump area with the style of a downtown establishment.

One of the city's top chefs, Carlos Silva, has joined the team as partner and corporate chef to help run all three businesses. Silva left his across-the-street restaurant, Bistro 27, last week to take the new position. Chef Paul Wielt from Hondos also has joined the team. "I try to hire people who are better than me," Santarella says, "and unless I show growth, I couldn't attract people like Carlos, who is a very dynamic personality and great chef. People like him and he can get things done."

With two restaurants now feeding 5,000 guests a week, Santarella says it's clear that dining out is a way of life, and that while Richmond has always been a food town, now there are far more choices. tarrantscaferva.com.

Promotion: Chef Cory Chaney is new executive chef at Bistro 27, moving up from sous chef there. He's worked at The Blue Goat, Helen's, Sushi-O and Dudley's Bistro in Williamsburg, and says duck is among his favorite ingredients. Chaney is introducing a new menu of modern takes on Mediterranean flavors at the downtown dining room, where live music on First Fridays is also part of the line-up.

click to enlarge Michael Hall - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • Michael Hall

Club Czar

Chef Michael Hall takes the culinary reins of the 2300 Club in Church Hill this week, bringing longtime experience working with members. He was general manager of downtown's Bull & Bear Club as it went through membership drives and recruiting efforts. That background, along with his award-winning reputation cooking for the Berkeley Hotel and at M Bistro in Rocketts Landing — which he closed Feb. 1 — sealed the deal for the 2300 Club's board president, Tom Yeaman.

A meet-and-greet event this week introduces Hall to the club's members. "We know that many of his dedicated clients will want to follow chef Hall and experience some of the best cuisine in Richmond in our small private club setting in historic Church Hill," Yeaman says. The 50-year-old organization started as a bottle club in a Civil War-era row house. Renovations to the interior and back terrace and garden are in progress, along with membership recruiting efforts. the2300club.org.

Rare independent: A breakfast and lunch spot, TNT Diner Myte, has opened at 802 W. Broad St., offering soups, sandwiches and food "not from a chain" weekdays 7 a.m.-3 p.m. 775-0005.

End of run: Eurasia at 1308 Gaskins Road announced it will close March 1.

Second act: Chef Carly Herring has returned to the Shockoe Bottom wine bar C'est Le Vin. Her new tapas menu includes a dozen vegetarian items and a dozen meat and seafood choices, including Spanish meatballs, lamb skewers, chicken empanadas, and stir-fried quinoa and seared polenta with tomatoes. All come in small and larger portions ($4-$20), as well as charcuterie and cheese plates and an array of imported and domestic wines. 15 N. 17th St. 649-9463. cestlevinrva.com.

Honor bound: Chef Lee Gregory was named a semi-finalist for the second time in the James Beard Foundation awards for best regional chef. His run at the Roosevelt in Church Hill has earned praise, awards and guest chef gigs in other places. He'll be cooking in New York for a Southern foods event in March. Gregory says he was watching season two of The Following when "my phone exploded with the news. I still don't really know how to react to it," Gregory says. "Last year it felt like a mistake, but getting it two years in a row makes it a little more real. Never in my wildest dreams did I think The Roosevelt would have all of this recognition – it's awesome for the city. We're so lucky." rooseveltrva.com.

Closing ceremonies: Some workers held a uniform-burning party after the closing of Champps sports bar in Stony Point Fashion Park last week.

Burger euphoria: A sold-out event Friday to kick off the week's Virginia Wine Expo, Burger Blast, drew 1000 guests and a smart line-up of vendors offering craft beer and sliders. An unofficial winner among local food writers in attendance was The Savory Grain's entry from chef Sean Murphy, for a House blend patty of angus, short rib, brisket and bacon topped with goat cheese, micro greens, pickled onions, chocolate cherry stout-glazed bacon and pinot noir aioli on Lucille's Bakery mini challah rolls.

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