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Hermitage Grill reopens

Popular Lakeside restaurant was closed for 13 months following fire
The popular Hermitage Grill in the Lakeside area reopens today after being closed for 13 months following a kitchen fire that damaged the restaurant's interior last year.

The April 17, 2010 fire started on the stove and ignited the overhead hood system. Firefighters arrived at the scene within minutes and the flames were put out quickly. Although no one was injured, the restaurant suffered damages from smoke and the hood system was ruined.

There was never any doubt that the owners of the eatery, John Meyers and Waller McCracken, would want to reopen their business. They had been planning to expand prior to the fire and even after the incident they were determined to get back up on their feet. After 13 years of business, renovation and expansion were not difficult decisions for them to make.

Nancy Smith, the new head chef, has been anticipating the reopening.

“We wanted to get right back into business as soon as possible,” Smith said. “With the permits and everything else, we did it piece by piece by piece. It was not a difficult decision to expand, renovate and rebuild after the fire.”

There were several additions to the restaurant.

“The entire kitchen area, the left side of the building, has been expanded. There’s a much larger cooking service, brand new equipment and a walk-in freezer,” said Smith. All of the inside walls were also redone because of the previous smoke damage.

“We were teeny-tiny before, but now we’re spread out quite a bit,” Smith said. “We are able to accommodate 49 people at the current time and after we’re back up and running we’re looking to expand onto a patio area which would pretty much double that.”

The menus also underwent a few changes for the reopening. A new variety of southern seafood cuisine including mussels, clams, and oysters will be offered on the evening menus. Despite the alterations, customers can still enjoy the popular crab cakes and North Carolina style barbeque that the restaurant had been famous for in the past.

The Hermitage Grill is located at 6010 Hermitage Road in Lakeside.
Community

Lions Club donates backpacks to elementary school

The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.

Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Film industry training program planned for this weekend

The Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA), in partnership with the Virginia Film Office, will offer "Get Your Start in the Film Industry," a two-day seminar designed to prepare workers for film, television and commercial projects in Virginia. The course will be held Oct. 4-5 at the Workforce Development and Conference Center, 1651 Parham Road in Henrico, on the campus of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.

The training will be taught by Gary Romolo Fiorelli, an accomplished assistant director for film and television projects, which include the television series Sons of Anarchy and ABC’s current drama Mistresses. > Read more.

The Boathouse to open at Short Pump Town Center

The Boathouse restaurant will open at Short Pump Town Center in the spring, its third location in the region.

“People have asked us to come to the West End for years,” said owner Kevin Healy. “When the opportunity arose, we knew had to jump on it.”

The new restaurant will be located in a 5,800-square-foot space under the Hyatt House Hotel at the town center and will include a large outdoor patio. > Read more.

Getting a ‘mouf’-ful

Boka Kantina exceeds its strong food truck reputation
Already a fan of Boka fare from outdoor events with the Tako Truck, I was delighted to learn of the new restaurant, and eager to see if its reputation held up after putting down brick-and-mortar roots.

Would the food lose its zest if I wasn’t enjoying it in the great outdoors? Would it seem pedestrian served from an ordinary kitchen instead of a truck?

Would the tacos be less satisfying as an antidote to normal lunch hunger – instead of being ingested to stave off desperate hunger after a long afternoon of crowds, sun, and tedious lines? > Read more.

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