Short Order 

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Zed Café is poised for a new level of success now that Executive Chef Bill Foster is running the kitchen. The Culinary Institute of America-trained chef worked with Jimmy Sneed and Dale Reitzer for nine years and did a stint at the Executive Mansion and A Sharper Palate before moving to the North Side kitchens of Zed a few weeks ago.

"I've tried to work at the best places I could," Foster says in his South Carolina twang, "and I trained well at Acacia. Dale is a mentor in the business and philosophy of restaurants."

Foster is offering personalized tasting menus for guests, all local produce and specialty ingredients, and the occasional wine dinner, including one with Ellwood Thompson's Aug. 14.

"Our motto here is clean food," he says. "It's not crunchy granola, it's working with the best products -- no hormones, no antibiotics, no pesticides — and I'm dealing directly with farmers. That's very exciting. I'm being spoiled — this is what I've always envisioned."

The café serves lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday, and Sunday brunch. 5109 Lakeside Ave. 261-5656.

Theme Park

Blogs are wagging, as usual, with news along the food and drink circuit. Suddenly it seems everyone has a concept and it's coming to Richmond, whether or not this town is ready.

Most unexpected is Deuces Wild, which is being billed as a dueling piano bar in the former Moondance space in Shockoe Bottom. Also looming is BPM, a DJ/VJ club where Tonic, and briefly Tonic Thai, were located on 18th Street. That nightspot is supposed to have a large-market vibe (something we've heard before) and is in the works for a fall opening.

The additions come at a time when a fair number of club owners are bemoaning slower-than-usual nights and the difficulties of attracting a steady crowd. Richmond, what kind of nightlife do you want, and is it available here? (Really, we want to know. E-mail

In the all-you-can-eat category, a pho and lunch buffet at Heavens & Earth Café has 10 new items to go with its noodle soup, and at nights, Yohan hot pot, particularly popular in Cambodia, makes its local debut: Vegetables and meats are cooked fondue-style in a flavorful sauce, making it a social experience for groups or couples looking for something different.

Milkshakes and burgers are big at a new North Side business, Moore & Tyler Deli and Ice Cream, now open at 22 W. Brookland Park Blvd. It's part of a city-sponsored commercial revitalization effort and serves affordable breakfast, lunch and dinner fare daily except Sundays.

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