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Dog Days Over


After a summer of papered windows and rampant speculation, the former Dogwood Grille -- Style's Restaurant of the Year 2006 — is about to be reborn.

Dogwood's memorable owners, Roger Lord and David Shannon, are as long-gone as the exposed brick walls, now glazed white. A blue awning spills the new name — Cirrus.

Familiar players on the local food scene have taken over: owner George Hatzimonolis (once owned Bogart's and three others), general manager Alex Frazier (worked at Bank, Legend, Charlottesville's Bizou) and Nora Hickey (most recently of 1 North Belmont), who will run the kitchen.

Theirs is one sleek, sexy interior with banquettes, intimate booths and a stainless bar, and behind that a thoroughly reclaimed kitchen wing (don't ask how dirty the old floors were).

"We're not trying to be the Dogwood Grille," Hatzimonolis says of the restaurant's new Mediterranean tone. "People should dress nicely, but be casual, comfortable. Things will switch up about 9:30 or 10 every night," he says, when Hickey's bar menu kicks in.

Smokers will have to take it outside, which doesn't seem to hurt the bottom line in New York bars, but still draws a level of fearfulness from some owners here, who are well aware that the drinking crowd tends to love their smokes. Oh well, Frazier says. The room is pristine and deserves to stay that way.

Cirrus, at 1731 W. Main, will specialize in international fare, or what Hickey calls semifine dining — if that's a category — things like gourmet pizzas and sandwiches. "Not hoity-toity but good," she says, "artistic but not unreachable." Hiring is in progress and an early fall opening is planned.



One lap dance. Fries with that?


If exclamation points are the epitome of desperation, a recent spate on Craigslist in the food-for-hire category seems to put Velvet, the strip club, and a new Goochland County Hardee's, in the same company.

Both are looking for cooks ASAP, with a triple-point mark (!!!) to denote now, as in yesterday. At Velvet, food may be an afterthought. But for you trivia lovers, Mexican cuisine is the basic format. It's said to have a particular set of perks that aren't part of the burger chain's bonus plan.

Open in the basement space that used to hold The Brasilian Café, and before that the Down-Under, is The Artist Underground Caféat 1600 Monument Ave. Owners Debbie and Tim Pedersen plan to sell student artwork, have occasional live music and poetry readings, and give a food discount to students. All desserts are homemade; the menu ranges from French-bread pizzas to subs, burgers, salads and sides. An all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch is $8.95 and includes salt herring and grits along with the usuals. 213-0185.

Grandpa Eddie's Alabama BBQ, fresh off another round of Justin Verlander publicity for its hometown-baseball-hero burgers, is moving. "Lost our Lease," the sign says. It's moving in September to Cox and Three Chopt, confirms Carey Friedman, the owner who's helped make that little section of Goochland a dining destination (along with Manakin Grill, Red Oak Café, Enzo's, Fox Head Inn — soon to be The Farmhouse on Manakin Road — and Satterwhite's). Friedman is taking his old recipes and a batch of new ones to the five-times-larger location, and plans to showcase live music every weekend in a listening-room setting. Look for a soft opening in mid-September.



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