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Movin' On Up

Banditos Owners Rick Lyons and Sean McClain are renovating the old Surfish Station in the upper Fan to house a new, more refined version of their burrito lounge.

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Lyons says they didn't even think about moving until the converted garage at Patterson Avenue and Colonial Avenue in the Museum District became available after Surfish Station and Raw Bar closed. But with all the new buildings going up around Virginia Commonwealth University, Lyons says, they "realized that the college crowd was becoming way too close" to their Oregon Hill location. Plus, the new location's on-site parking and central location was too good to pass up. Lyons sees the new spot as more "community-based rather than college-based."

He also says that the restaurant's going to alter its concept slightly to fit in with the neighbors.

"We're using all dark wood, lots of big booths, wood flooring, warm tile in the bar, big glass garage doors," says Lyons — "more of a swanky, cool, kind of good feeling." The restaurant will also feature a nonsmoking section, a room for private parties and a stage where bands will perform once a week. Lyons hopes it will be a spot where large groups of young professionals will want to come after such nearby events as "Jumpin'" at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Co-owner McClain says the menu will become more "user-friendly" with more items offered a la carte and in combination platters. Plus some more non-Mexican choices for the "green-gos," appetizer samplers for groups and lunch specials priced around $5.

Ideally, Lyons says, he and McClain hope the new and improved Banditos will be "the kind of place that's going to make you want to sit down for hours, verses grab-a-drink and go."

— Carrie Nieman

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