Side Dish 

by Deveron Timberlake

click to enlarge food34_sidedish_mainlypasta_100.jpg

Pasta Perfect

After some 23 years as a Richmond takeout favorite, Mainly Pasta has closed its West Main Street location in the Fan and moved to Short Pump to accommodate a larger-scale operation.

Owners Brian Booker and Brian Mumford expect their sauce-and-pasta business to reach a larger network of consumers through a growing grocery-store network. "We reluctantly closed the original shop," Booker says. "Because demand is so great we need a larger place to make our product."

They acquired space next to Mumford's popular Patina Grill for their expanded commercial kitchen and will continue selling fettuccini and spaghetti and four styles of sauces to local restaurants, Ellwood Thompson's, Joe's Market and Tom Leonard's, with more stores lined up for the fall.

When Whole Foods Market opens in the Short Pump area in about 18 months, Booker hopes his line's organic ingredients and fresh, local produce will be a good fit for the chain's natural-foods mission. A Trader Joe's Market, said to be coming to Midlothian, adds another possibility for corporate sales of the items.

All of this comes as DiGiorno, a Kraft Foods line of packaged pastas, ends its production following a corporate realignment. The Mainly Pasta partners see that void in the market as another opportunity to move their line into local kitchens through some of the area's higher-end grocery stores.

Sticky Notes

Speaking of Mainly Pasta's move … As Fan District watering hole Sticky Rice prepares to serve its millionth beer, (see the restaurant for details on the ever-more-exciting countdown,) owner John Yamashita is looking across the street to Mainly Pasta's former storefront to expand his operation. With the addition of his Mediterranean restaurant Cous Cous on the VCU campus this month, the Sticky empire continues to grow. Watch this space for details.

Over and Out

Closed in Midlothian: Fabulous Foods. Closed, at least temporarily, in the Museum District: Coffee Nostra.

Sunday brunch is gone and prices are down at Grafiti Grille, says chef-owner David Hughes of the lively West End bistro. Dinner entrees now top out at $20, and luncheon fare runs from $4.95 to $10.95. See www.grafitigrille.com for seasonal menu updates and special events.

Capone Eats Here

Take your speeding ticket to Ashland on a Tuesday, and owner Danielle Rappa says Wise Guys Pizza will give you cheesy bread with the purchase of any pizza. Her Mafia-themed parlor, where the managers dress like guys out of Goodfellas, also touts the Concrete Shoe special, a pizza with the works, and other Italian dishes. Subs and pasta round out the menu in the 24-seat bistro, serving lunch and dinner daily at 114 S. Washington Highway near the Randolph-Macon College campus. S

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