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Return of Two Classics

Once one of Richmond's hottest nightspots, Havana '59, is making its comeback. Construction crews are finishing repairs on the water-damaged building, and staff are being hired. An expanded menu will retain the restaurant's signature Cuban dishes, set off by the dramatic, time-tattered interior with its festive roof garden and open-air windows. Sue Lee, well known in Shockoe Bottom for her years at the helm of Franklin Super Market, will move down the street to operate Havana. Look for an opening this month.

Fans will be pleased to find that Stella Dikos, namesake of the popular restaurant that closed last year, is cooking again. She's rising early to work mornings at 3 Monkeys Bar and Grill, whipping up her signature Brunswick stew, tiropita, spanikopita, tiramisu, baklava and crème brûlée. "Being back in the kitchen, she is so happy," reports daughter Katrina Giavos, who's considering opening her own new place sometime next year.



Errata Regretta

Chad Hornik, who owns The Melting Pot here, is expanding his empire to a new, 100-seat Charlottesville location on Water Street by the downtown mall. He says his contemporary design includes a wine room, private two-person dining rooms and the same menu as in Richmond, with an emphasis on award-winning wines. Construction began in late winter.



New Mexican

Does a certain stretch of Staples Mill Road project festive madness?

The Crazy Greek has long been a gathering spot for spaghetti at 1903 Staples Mill. Now El Toro Loco will stir up a Mexican perspective on craziness across the street at 1808, in the corner spot that Sal Federico's abruptly shut down last year.

Renovation work on the building is under way; a sign out front announces the restaurant's theme and cuisine.



Health Benefit

Richmond Wine Festival: The second annual event, benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's research and care centers, features 200 wines from 70 wineries. Watch the Kentucky Derby while sampling fare from Zeus Gallery Café, Acapella and Morton's. May 6, 4-8 p.m., at the Thalhimer Pavilion at the Science Museum of Virginia. Tickets at the door are $75. 527-1500.





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