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‘Top Chef’ finalist to open Willow Lawn restaurant

A finalist in the Bravo television show Top Chef is bringing one of his four restaurant chains to Henrico County.

Bryan Voltaggio, who was the runner-up of the sixth season of Top Chef, (finishing second to his brother, Michael) and his business partner, Hilda Staples, will open their third Family Meal restaurant, at Henrico's Willow Lawn shopping center. The restaurant is expected to open early next year.

Stratford University hosts International Food and Culture Festival Oct. 5

The Henrico campus of Stratford University will host a Food and Culture Festival on Saturday, Oct. 5 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will feature food from around the world, three culinary competitions, cultural entertainment and more.

Stratford has partnered with ClearChannel radio to present the Richmond Best Chefs Competition, where local budding chefs have the opportunity to compete for scholarship prizes. Radio personalities from Q94, XL102 and 106.5 The Beat will be competing against each other in a Best Radio Chef Competition.}

CAT Theatre celebrates 50 years

The CAT Theatre celebrated its 50th anniversary last month, as patrons, actors and crew members gathered at Burkwood Swim and Racquet Club in Mechanicsville for a fund-raising auction that included memories, tributes and live entertainment.

“CAT Theatre is a wonderful theatre tradition here in Richmond that blends old friends and new,” said Board President H. Lynn Smith, “And we have an exciting season lined up to begin our next 50 years.”}

Breaking the chain


If you’ve driven through Short Pump in the past six months, there’s not a chance you’ve missed Chuy’s, the big and bold Tex-Mex restaurant in West Broad Village. From the outside, the brightly painted 8,000 square foot building gives a foretaste of what’s inside: eclectic decor, a fun menu, and from my experience, a lot of noise. The restaurant is a chain of 40 in the nation, but it’s the first of its kind in Virginia.

We were fortunate to arrive at 6 p.m. on a Wednesday, the perfect time for happy hour. From 4-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, there are drink specials, but what’s really special is the free nacho bar served out of a giant car hood.}

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health.}

Groove spot

There are not many places I know where friends of rock, funk, and soul music can enjoy life music, dance, and have fun in a pleasant bar setting without fear of permanent ear damage.

So I was happily surprised to find all of these enticing ingredients of a great time out when I visited Bar Louie at Short Pump Town Center on a Saturday night. In the spacious bar/restaurant I found myself surrounded by the well-tuned sounds presented by The Groove Motive, a local band, and a cheerful crowd of funk lovers of all ages dancing the night away.}

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