Edo's Squid; Southern Grille 

Tastemakers

Two well-known names in Richmond restaurants turned on the stoves at new places recently. Mamma 'Zu owner Ed Vasaio opened Edo's Squid in the old Musselducks near VCU, and Jimmy Sneed, who used to own The Frog and the Redneck, opened Southern Grille (above) downtown on Grace Street in the old Vine building.

Edo's Squid is an interesting name. Style has an old picture of Vasaio holding up a big squid at Mamma 'Zu, and we ran it so much that it became a kind of joke around town. We wanted to find out if Vasaio named the place in honor of that picture, but all he told us was that his restaurant just isn't ready for publicity yet.

You should expect a cheaper version of what makes Mamma 'Zu so crowded. Well, you should at least expect the same food. Some people claim that the biggest attraction of Mamma 'Zu is its sketchy Oregon Hill location, which titillates the West Enders: 411 N. Harrison St. 864-5488.

Southern Grill is an interesting story. Sneed opened it in honor of his favorite restaurant, D.C.'s Florida Avenue Grill. Sneed says he's been going there for years, always hoping that someone would open a similar place in Richmond. Now that he has time on his hands, he says, he decided to do it himself.

Expect a menu of hearty Southern food — pan-fried chicken, smothered shrimp and grits, and short ribs. Tourists will love it. But Sneed doesn't even seem concerned if it's successful or not. "If I break even I'll be happy," he says.

Easy for him to say — the city owns the building and they're not charging him rent. No rent for nine months, after which time Sneed says the city plans to demolish the building. If it turns a profit, he will consider reopening at a nearby location. 550 E. Grace St.

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