Gaudiness goes the distance this weekend, with inveterate chef and marketer Patrick Harris unveiling a rig wrapped in flames — the vinyl, photographic kind — at the Maymont Easter picnic March 30. Followers know Harris for his Boka Tako truck fleet, which makes Twitter-fueled stops around town selling fusion tacos. Now Harris has added Grate Pizza, a 1983 step van notable for its eye-catching exterior and changing menu of gourmet fusion pizzas. "It's in line with our food," Harris says of the vehicular visibility. "We've never been afraid to say hey, we have something exciting here."
During the introductory phase, pies will adjust to customer preference, sized between 8 and 10 inches and priced between $6 and $14. Harris wants feedback from buyers about topping combinations, and will start with a limited menu sometimes including fennel rib-eye, duck confit, tuna tartar and braised lamb, along with more standard versions such as marinated mozzarella, tomatoes and Thai basil, and a three-pork, six-cheese number. Find Grate around town and occasionally parked with the taco truck during weekday lunchtime at Ninth and East Cary streets. gratepizza.com.
Now open: Jorge's Cantina in the Fan. Fajitas, tacos and a familiar repertoire of Mexican dishes, along with a full bar, have turned the former Fanhouse at 2526 Floyd Ave. into a very different vision. Owners Jake Crocker and Hayden Fisher teamed with Jose Garcia of the Mexico Restaurant family to create a fanciful and spicy retelling of American history, with a presidential, mustachioed namesake crossing the James. Lunch, dinner and bar daily. 539-3335.
Going out: Feathernesters, a tea room at 6118 Lakeside Ave., is closing the food service part of the business April 28; the home décor shop remains open. Details at feathernesters.com.
New at Secco: Traditional wine lists are out and chalkboards are in at Carytown's popular grapes and small-plates spot, Secco Wine Bar. The change allows more flexibility in wine service and a continually rotating series of options. 2933 W. Cary St. 355-1375. seccowinebar.com.
Eat for a cause: The four links in the Eat Restaurant Partners group are offering menu items to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Richmond; when ordered through May 3, each dish generates $2 for the cause. Osaka Sushi and Steak: spicy tuna with wild salmon and avocado; Wild Ginger: blue orchid martini; Blue Goat: pizza with goat sausage and mozzarella; Fat Dragon: Buddha's backhand cocktail by Steve McKenna. See each restaurant's Facebook page for details on the promotion and a national voting campaign.
Carena's Jamaican Grille: Jerk chicken, angus burger, ribs, oxtails and island specialties in modern cafe with patio; Lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. daily. 7102 Midlothian Turnpike in the Spring Rock Green Shopping Center. 422-5375.
Pearl Raw Bar: New establishment in the former DeLux, with seafood, sandwiches, sliders, salads and spirits; bar with booths and sunroom in back. Lunch and dinner daily, weekend brunch. 2229 W. Main St. 353-2424. pearlrva.com.
Wild Greens & Pig: Sandwich shop features heritage pork barbecue, soups, chips and desserts in a casual setting. Chef Alfredo Macias and owner Lisa Granger focus on local and organic ingredients. Weekdays, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. 9033 Quioccasin Road. 750-1350.
Homemades by Suzanne: Southern fare at the John Marshall Hotel, 101 N. Fifth St. downtown. Weekday luncheon is $9.85 and includes beverage; hours are 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. 775-2323.