Side Dish 

The Redneck Returns

Sneed, food lovers will recall, operated The Frog and the Redneck here and raised Richmond's culinary standards along with the notions of a high-visibility chef, printed-daily menus, extraordinary compositions, community involvement and a general sense of big-town dining in a city that wasn't known for such things at the time. Much has changed.

Not so at the Surrey House, a 51-year-old institution in Surry County known for its traditional Virginia comfort foods such as ham steak with eggs, apple fritters, stewed tomatoes, peanut raisin pie and a host of ham- and peanut-based dishes that carry on the legacies of the Gwaltney and Edwards ham operations. A small hotel adjoins the restaurant. A local landmark near the James River ferry, it serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily and is something of a town hall for locals and tourists.

Sneed is known for his love of comfort foods and locally grown ingredients, and he has been looking for the right fit since getting fired in a dispute about creative control at his much-touted signature grill just before it was set to open in the Steve Wynn resort in Las Vegas.

Sneed's local fans are legion, including many of the chefs who trained with him (Dale Reitzer is best-known) and went on to their own restaurant successes.

Diner Rounds the Corner

Scott Poates, owner of the local River City Diner chain, says the Shockoe Bottom location served its last meals over the weekend and will move into its new spot around the corner, at 7 N. 17th St., any day now. The diner now has a more upscale look with dark woodwork and local art. A few new entrees will join the menu.

Fast Exit for an Innsbrook Eatery

Calls to Style about the abrupt closing of Circus Mediterranean Grill, only a few months old, leave some unanswered questions. The phone at the Innsbrook eatery has been disconnected, and at least one employee reports that he showed up for work only to find the place locked. Attempts to reach the grill's owners, the Kefalas family, have been unsuccessful.

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