So long Cafe 21. 

Tastemakers

So long pool tables. So long canned beer, jukebox, rednecks and first dates. The delinquent requiem will never come. A closed restaurant is quickly forgotten, especially if it never served food worth remembering.

Especially if the relics are quickly sold off to make room for the new, for Cafe Diem in this case, the new restaurant that has opened in Cafe 21's place. The owner, Richard Arthur, was once known as the gregarious, laughing chef in the galley kitchen at Zeus Gallery Cafe.

Those days are gone too, and Arthur is now the proud owner of his own brand new baby. We called to find out how things look.

"Miraculous!" Arthur exclaims, laughing. "We brightened it up." Everything is either gone or painted over in brighter, more welcoming colors. Everything except the peninsula bar, but that too has been "spruced up a bit," he says, with freshly painted bricks and a new rack for the liquor. "We're sort of calling it 'The Palm Bar at the Cafe Diem,'" he says with a laugh.

Arthur has hired Martha Moss as chef. She could once be found at The Track, and came to Richmond years ago from The Barefoot Contessa in East Hampton, N.Y.

From Moss' kitchen comes chateaubriand and cheeseburgers, veggie sandwiches and crab fritters, on nights Tuesday through Saturday. Arthur wants to start serving lunch sometime in November. 600 N. Sheppard St. 353-2500.

Event watch: Make reservations now for one of these two events:

Monday, Nov. 5, Cafe Mandolin will host a five-course wine dinner featuring butternut squash ravioli, Chilean sea bass and warm pumpkin custard, and four wines for $75. Call by Thursday, 355-8558.

Chez Foushee brings back its World Cafe Night on Saturday, Nov. 3. Doors open at 7 for this five-course international food celebration featuring shrimp and pumpkin bisque, Cornish game hen and molten chocolate cakes for $40. 648-3225.

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