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Rivah Bistro 

TasteMakers

Richbrau owner Mike Byrne says he's been playing with the idea of renovating the space between his restaurant and Sam Miller's for a while, and is now going full steam ahead developing the project. Byrne is still busy hammering out a final concept, but does confirm that the space will have a separate entrance and menu.

Byrne is sure that he loves the look of the old place, which was originally Tortilla Flats in the 1970s and later the Bus Stop in the '80s and '90s. It's full of old wood and brick and has a large handmade bar top wrought from a single tree. Byrne hopes to open the place in early December.

A few blocks down Cary Street, some new life is emerging in the spaces left vacant when Jimmy Sneed closed the Frog and the Redneck and Carnivore's. First-time restaurateur Martin Myers has opened Rivah Bistro in the old Carnivore's location. The new restaurant is a casual place Myers says serves French-American fusion cuisine.

Myers says he and partner Khalid Bennajma made extensive renovations before opening in mid-August, brightening the place with deep golden yellow and midnight blue colors. "Other than the floor plan it really doesn't look the same," he says.

And the name? Well, it doesn't refer to that summer home locale along the Northern Neck. "I'm a native Richmonder," Myers says, "and it makes fun of my Richmond speech impediment. It also works because we're right by the rivah walk, and we'll come up with drink names in the future like rivah water .... it might be fun to play with it."

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