Side Dish 

Amelia Takes Its Tea

Trolley Restaurant Gets Moving

A brick building at the corner of West Main and Vine streets once housed the electric trolley cars that rolled through Richmond. Now it's under construction as a condominium project with storefronts facing Main - and it's getting a new restaurant from owner Garland Taylor, who operates the Home Team Grill near Innsbrook.

Taylor says he'll duplicate the Home Team Grill experience in the Fan with an emphasis on food, a family-friendly atmosphere, and a bank of high-tech audio and television equipment that can bring games and events to life for as many as 175 patrons. A sidewalk patio "will add excitement," he says. "That block is going to light up. We think that if we build a nice restaurant it can be here for a generation." On-site customer parking and a fully renovated building helped seal the deal.

Taylor's experience in Shockoe Bottom and Fan District restaurants, including Goodfellas, Castle Thunder, Coyote's and Easy Street, helped hone his interest in presenting quality food and not just a bar scene. Once the new location debuts in May, Taylor plans to open a third sports grill east of town.

Girl Scouts Cook It Up

It was a girls-only event this week when eight local Girl Scout troops teamed up with the staff at My Girlfriend's Kitchen in Midlothian to prepare holiday meals for charity. The cook-a-thon benefits more than 240 people, from those in homeless shelters to displaced and impoverished families. Also getting meals are members of volunteer rescue squads in the area. The girls, ages 6 to 15, prepared meals with the assistance of the dinner-preparation firm, and then delivered them while singing carols.

Danessa Knaupp, owner of My Girlfriend's Kitchen, says the company donated the food to help the Scouts "learn the basics of cooking and the importance of helping others in need."

Plum Pudding or Crispy Duck for Santa?

Most of Richmond shuts down for Christmas Day, and even more so this year because the holiday falls on a Sunday. For those looking for a chef-prepared meal on Dec. 25, the options are limited but generally delectable. Lemaire at The Jefferson Hotel is serving breakfast and Christmas dinner. TJ's at The Jefferson will have its traditional Sunday brunch with seating from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and will offer dinner in the lounge and dining room.

While the Dining Room at the Berkeley will be closed Christmas Day, it is serving a Christmas Eve dinner, prix fixe and by reservation only, with prime rib or blackberry-marinated rack of lamb on the menu. Chef Michael Hall presides.

And in what some Jewish wags insist is the Little Israel of Richmond's West End at Christmas, Peking is serving its popular Chinese fare at the Grove Avenue restaurant and at all of its locations.

Late-nighters might try Mars Bar for their liquid refreshments; the Shockoe Bottom establishment will be open Christmas night.

Working Blue in the West End

Now serving at 8982 Quioccasin Road is The Bleu Bistro. Kelly Stricker, longtime regional and national restaurant consultant, is entering into his first ownership gig with his parents, Larry and Judy Stricker, and his sister, Kim McCollum. The wide-ranging menu runs from sandwiches to steaks. And there's live blues and jazz and a friendly vibe in this just-renovated bistro, open for lunch and dinner daily, except Christmas.

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