The menu includes old favorites like the Philly cheese steak and the spinach, portobello and artichoke Mojo pizza. New items include 11 pasta dishes with such traditional choices as lasagna, ravioli and, of course, linguini and meatballs. Also, the menu offers more sides and starters like the Mediterranean plate filled with hummus, feta and olives, or, for those who are watching their carbohydrate intake, the antipasto plate of sliced deli meats and cheeses.
While Mason runs the kitchen, his partner Josh Carlton, who won best bartender in Style Weekly's "Best of Richmond" poll in 1999, manages the front. Together they revamped the restaurant's interior Mojo-style. Gone are Bandito's dark curtains, shaded windows and red ceiling. The partners repainted and brought in more natural light. Artwork lines the wall, surrounding roomy booths and a large bar. Those of you who remember the "B" that appeared on Bandito's booths might be happy to hear that the new owners kept up the tradition, sort of. A giant "M" now appears on the bottom of the booths "to keep a little bit of what was before," Carlton says. And also to let people know who's in charge now.
The new location puts Mojo's in the middle of Virginia Commonwealth University's campus. Mason hopes to lure students on a budget and invites them to "sit down for a cup of coffee and lay their books out." He'll also accept Ram Bucks, VCU's student currency, from students beginning this fall.
Just because it's now a full-fledged restaurant, Mojo's hasn't given up takeout, it just offers more. Delivery covers the Fan, Oregon Hill, Scott's Addition (near Boulevard and Broad Street) and as far west as Malvern Avenue and east to 12th Street downtown. In time, Mason and Carlton intend to expand takeout routes and to rent the space adjacent to the restaurant to handle orders comfortably. The earliest the kitchen closes is midnight, so night owls won't have to hunt for food in the early hours of the morning.
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