Side Dish 

Java Buzz

Getting the décor right is critical to the appeal of a coffeehouse. Should it be shabby and timeworn, or sleek and upscale? Two new establishments in the city are taking wildly different approaches to attract customers to their shops.

Java Jolt at 606 N. Sheppard St., near Café Diem, has an ice-cream-parlor feel, with 16 flavors of frozen custards and bright sherbet colors on the walls. Owner Diane Korbi offers the usual espresso beverages and an assortment of locally made pastries.

At Wired, in the former World Cup location at 204 N. Robinson St., the interior has changed dramatically, with cherry floors, a maroon ceiling and red couch that are intended to appeal to Fan district neighbors more than the student crowd. Owner Charles Groves plans to add sandwiches to the coffeehouse menu in a few weeks.

Luring the Redneck

Jimmy Sneed, Richmond's first celebrity chef, started a new venture in Las Vegas last week that will involve planning 14 restaurants at the New Frontier casino. The former Frontier is being demolished to make way for the new luxury hotel and condo towers.

In a dispute over menu and management issues, Sneed walked away from a signature restaurant project at ultra-glam Wynn Las Vegas just days before its opening. But he says he swallowed his disappointment at the sudden turn of events and visited the just-opened resort with his daughter, who deemed the place "kind of beautiful."

Though the New Frontier gig will keep him occupied for a year or longer, Sneed says he's still exploring all options to return to hands-on restaurant work. Some of those include projects in Richmond, according to insiders who are trying to lure him back. Sneed, who ran the acclaimed Shockoe Slip restaurant The Frog and the Redneck in the 1990s, won't comment yet about his recent visits here to look at possible venues.— Deveron Timberlake

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