It's standing room only for breakfast and lunch at one of the more seemingly unlikely places, Westwood Pharmacy, at 5823 Patterson Ave. The brand-new, retro up-do appears to be winning West Enders' hearts, stomachs and wallets. There are omelets and hash browns, clubs and burgers, milkshakes and limeades just like the old days.
Pharmacy owner Mark Oley says he's hoping an early diners will follow chef Faissal Aridi as they settle into the 70-seat, soda fountain-inspired business. "We want people to see a friendly face in a good old neighborhood setting, and get a product that tastes good at a reasonable price." Open daily from 8 a.m. 282-4828. www.westwoodpharmacy.com.
Matthew Tlusty's name has probably appeared in this column more than any other local chef's, from his days as owner of fish Mecca Limani to later stints at Carytown Seafood and the Jefferson. Add a mention this week for his departure from the Berkeley Hotel after a three-month gig. He's looking for work. The hotel says food costing was a deciding factor in the switch-up; expensive ingredients that weren't selling wrecked the restaurant's trim-anyway margins — something hotel owners can't tolerate.
The 4-diamond hotel's food and beverage manager Ken Wall and a pair of new culinary grad hires will run the kitchen through the holidays. Wall last cooked at former West End party favorite the Butlery and now acts as A¬ber-host for the hotel's bar, dining room and special event services. 1200 E. Cary St. 780-1300. www.berkeleyhotel.com.
In Ashland, the Cow Catcher Neighborhood Tavern opens this week at 301 S. Railroad Ave. beside the train tracks in the former Sullivan's Pub. It's been completely remodeled, owner Denise Smith says, with furniture that actually matches, a stage for live local music on weekends, and a new menu that's geared toward repeat neighborhood business.
Two blue-plate specials nightly, deli sandwiches and appetizers, beer, wine and cocktails are served in the 80-seat pub; about one-fourth of those are in a non-smoking section. The Cow Catcher — a train reference — opens for lunch and dinner daily at 11 a.m. 368-7015. www.thecowcatcher.com
Deal at Julep's
Early birds get a discount off the entire check at Julep's New Southern Cuisine, one of the little jewels of Shockoe Bottom for its creative fare, professional service and two-level, fireplace-lighted dining rooms and bar. Owner Amy Cabaniss offers a flat 20 percent off the entire dinner check for parties of four or fewer who reserve tables Mondays through Thursdays, 5:30-6:30 p.m. 1719 E. Franklin St. 377-3968. www.juleps.net.