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New Italian restaurant opens in Short Pump

Charlottesville's Bella’s Restaurant recently opened a location in Short Pump Village, at 11408 West Broad Street. The restaurant is owned by Valeria Biesnti, a native of Rome who arrived in the U.S. at age 21 and later became a U.S. citizen. With her restaurants, Bisenti has sought to create an ambiance that welcomes diners in a casual setting, like her favorites from her hometown.

Going Greek, going casual

When I read an online reviewer's comment that the Greek Grill Cafe was "second only to Stella's" in the quality of its Greek food, I knew – as a loyal long-time fan and regular at Stella's – that I had to check it out.

After two visits to the Cafe, I can attest that it bears at least one resemblance to Stella's: the exterior appearance is small and plain, made more pleasing by the large windows. Tucked almost under the freeway, the Cafe is located on a shabby stretch of Westwood Avenue; but the inside appearance is cozy, with home-like touches such as lush plants to soften the dreary view and large murals depicting scenes from Greece.

Restaurant watch

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

Lakeside’s Italian secret

Flavors – such as these slices of fresh mozzarella, basil and tomatoes, drizzled with olives and capers – abound at Arianna’s in Lakeside.
In the Lakeside area of Henrico, you’ll find some well-known places like Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and Bryan Park, but you may miss a delicious Italian secret – Arianna’s Grill, located at 5107 Lakeside Avenue.

Fortunately, I live nearby and take advantage of the restaurant’s lunches, dinners and home delivery; I can’t say no to their oversized salads and specialty pizzas.

Sound the alarm


Isn’t it a nice feature of Henrico County that we have “theme” restaurants like those in bigger cities right here in West Broad Village and that everything is for real? The Halligan Bar & Grill is all about fighting fires – quench your thirst and hunger, see and touch the real equipment of fire and rescue services, including a real historic fire engine truck, and mingle with real firefighters.

The Halligan is a true and honest theme restaurant named after the claw-and-blade bar used by fire and rescue services around the world. Independent restaurant owner Shawn Gregory used to be a firefighter himself and has parked a real fire engine right in the main restaurant. His father, also a firefighter, used to ride that very truck when on duty at Henrico Fire Station No. 3 years ago.

Restaurant watch

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

Strange brews

Go wash out your already overflowing beer mug, because Henrico's first craft brewery just started pouring last month.

Strangeways Brewing opened its 8,400-square-foot brewery on Dabney Road May 29. The brewery introduced its two flagship beers at about 26 local restaurants Memorial Day Weekend in the form of three bar crawls.

A community ‘Kaffeehaus’ in Henrico’s Far West End

Born and raised in good old Europe, I am quite familiar with the traditional Austro-Hungarian tradition of the Kaffeehaus, an institution that represents a lifestyle of relaxing and thinking in a familiar environment with coffee, pastry, news, good service, marble tables, subdued sounds like the click-clack of the coffee machine, mugs and plates, conversations among patrons and with staff and a bit of low volume Johann Strauss music.

And so it was a thrill to find a modern version of a Kaffeehaus right here in Henrico County: The Daily Grind, near Short Pump Town Center.

Food trucks arrive in the West End

West End residents no longer have to pick between fighting the summer mall crowds for a quick bite or breaking the bank to eat at a fine-dining spot because one Richmond group is bringing both to them.

RVA Street Foodies, the organization behind the outdoor food truck courts at the Virginia Historical Society and Hardywood Brewery, debuted its new Henrico food truck court at All Saints Episcopal Church on River Road May 22.

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