Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Short Order

Who's up and gone at LuLu's? And when can we expect the Fat Tire?

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 4:00 AM

click to enlarge Chef Neil Smith has left LuLu’s; chef Joe Sparatta is now heading the kitchen at the Shockoe Bottom business. - SCOTT ELMQUIST/FILE
  • Scott Elmquist/File
  • Chef Neil Smith has left LuLu’s; chef Joe Sparatta is now heading the kitchen at the Shockoe Bottom business.

LuLu’s in Shockoe Bottom has another chef change. Former rock-star caterer Neil Smith no longer runs the LuLu’s kitchen after parting ways with owner Paul Keevil last week. Smith, reported to be returning to music-circuit catering, took over when original partner Steve Jurina left last year. Both chefs earned solid reviews; Smith just got a “best new chef” nod from Richmond magazine. Keevil says chef Joe Sparatta is introducing new menu items as the kitchen reboots. Sparatta and his wife, Emilia, general manager at LuLu’s, formerly ran a restaurant in Princeton, N.J., and have been here for several months. 21 N. 17th St. 343-9771.

Former restaurateur Kenny Bendheim got one of those guest-list challenges that could be a caterer’s nightmare at Tredegar Ironworks last week. The response count jumped from 100 to more than 500 overnight as New Belgium Brewery rolled out a lineup of craft beers for an audience of food and bar professionals. They scarfed savory shrimp chowder, fried Rappahannock oysters, brats and sliders — food that Bendheim picked to pair with the Fat Tire and other beers, all eagerly consumed to the tune of jazzmen the New Belgians. Customers can expect to see the new-to-Virginia ales on local restaurant menus this fall.

Portico Restaurant: Look for a September opening of this fully reimagined countryside dining spot at 12506 River Road. Chef Paolo Randazzo says he’s thrilled to be coming full circle in returning to Goochland; hiring is in progress and an official announcement will come after Labor Day. Meanwhile, Randazzo’s downtown project, Sensi Italian Chop House, continues to serve dinner and cocktails at 2222 E. Cary St.

Citizen calling: The phone number for Citizen, the new cafe downtown, is 780-9038. We reported it incorrectly and regret the error.


La Parisienne: Crepes, cassoulet, soups, sandwiches, salads and desserts in quick-service bistro with Euro finesse from chef Cedric Payne; breakfast and lunch until 6:30 p.m. weekdays, live jazz and wines Thursdays until 9 p.m. 200 S. 10th St. in the Williams Mullen building. 225-0225.

Station 2: Big burger menu, local food for casual pub grub in renovated firehouse. Craft beer, patio. Monday-Thursday, 3:30 p.m.-2 a.m.; Friday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. 2016 E. Main St. 249-4702.

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