All in the Family 

Reality is much to the contrary. The restaurant's menu offerings (recently expanded to more than 50), for instance, currently exceed its seating capacity (about 20).

Co-owner Ross Smith says the café's vegetarian employees persuaded him to increase the number of meatless dishes on the menu.

The addition of more pasta entrees and potentially meatless lunch items ($5.95-$6.50) make up most of the menu changes. New sandwiches like the portobello, brie, spinach and tomato combo can be made on a wrap or croissant, and veggie patties can be substituted on seven new specialty burgers. Plus, the veggie take on the Philly cheese steak, the Billy Philly, is a popular new item, along with the black bean burrito and eggplant Parmesan.

The small restaurant has more than just food to offer. Interaction with the owners, Smith and his wife, Crystal, for example, is a regular occurrence. On Thursday and Friday nights, a line of customers streams out the door while Crystal waits tables and Ross prepares meals.

Rotating works of art hang from the restaurant's recently repainted light blue walls. The works are currently those of former Mary Baldwin College art professor Ulysse Desportes, who also happens to be Crystal's stepfather and a regular customer. — Sarah Gregory

821 Café

821 W. Cary St.


Tuesday-Friday 8 a.m.-10 p.m.

Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m.-10 p.m.

Free delivery 11 a.m.-10 p.m. for orders totaling $10 or more


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