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Short Order

Fewer sports, but more sports bars in Richmond, a popular franchise hits VCU, gelato fever and more.



Sports Central

In the Inverse Proportion Department, it seems that the more professional sports teams Richmond loses, the more sports bars it piles on. We have successful ones in every part of town, and another player has entered the fray. Gus' Bar & Grill at 2701 W. Broad St. opened in mid-March and has become an early favorite for certain jersey-wearing Manchester United soccer fans, who stack the bar for big-screen action and not-so-typical grazing.

Gus' has the expected jumbo wings and nachos, but also flaming saganaki (broiled cheese), fried raviolis, lamb burgers, and Mediterranean influences such as a splash of ouzo on the mussels; for the American purist, the Broad Street Bully, a half-pound Philly steak on a foot-long sub, is $8.95. The place is big, nonsmoking and not averse to families. But there's also date night, karaoke, fish-and-chips day, service industry night and other specials on the weekly calendar, plus happy hours Mondays through Thursdays. Open daily. 612-9275.

Tongue Tried

Boyer's Ice Cream & Coffee: Could there be a dreamier gelato flavor than banana caramel praline? Enthusiasts also have discovered brandy fudge and white chocolate strawberry cheesecake flavors of Palazzolo's gelato and sorbetto, and also more than two-dozen flavors of Gelati Celesti ice cream at this Westhampton spot. Tables and booths, Wi-Fi, bagels, smoothies and espresso drinks, milkshakes (including a date-sized 32 ounces for $8) and a comfortable, cozy atmosphere all but guarantee a big summer. Open daily except Sundays for now; Memorial Day weekend starts the addition of Sundays too. 5720 Patterson Ave. 288-4088.

Acacia Mid-Town: Soft-shell crab season has begun and is a brisk seller at this fine-dining establishment owned by chef Dale Reitzer and his wife, Aline. Wine dinners are usually set for the last Wednesday of the month, and tend to fill the reservation book quickly because the tariff, $35, represents an excellent value for Reitzer's winning flavor presentations. 2601 W. Cary St. 562-0138.

Amici Ristorante: Fine Italian cuisine is now served on the enclosed patio at 3343 W. Cary St. 353-4700.

Caliente: One of the few places in town where customers can get grits, braised greens, Jamaican rice or refried beans as a 50-cent side order with sandwiches. Spice is a trademark at this Museum District spot, where the patio is now open at 2922 Park Ave. 340-2920. Weekday lunch, dinner nightly except Sunday, and coming soon: Sunday brunch.

Peking Restaurants: Early dinner special nightly, 5-6:30 p.m., entrAce, appetizer, soup, salad and rice for less than $10 at the 8904 W. Broad St. (270-9898) and 5710 Grove Ave. (288-8371) locations.

Savor: Journey to the Andes wine dinner, $45 all-inclusive, May 22 at 6:30 p.m. Includes a five-course meal paired with wines from Chile and Argentina, ending with chocolates and coffees. Reserve by May 18 at 527-2867 or

Movieland at Boulevard Square: Across the parking lot from the new Bow Tie Cinemas, a former warehouse sits waiting — and advertising — for a potential restaurant. With 5,250 square feet and a terrace, and plenty of parking and cinema patrons, listing agent Connie Neilsen hopes to land a food-service superstar — but until then, the hot dogs, pizzas, beer and wine served inside the movie theater, along with its certifiably crunchy popcorn, will suffice. Kudos to Bow Tie for offering $1 candy choices too, in the dramatic new-old venue on the Boulevard at West Leigh Street. 354-6099.

Chain Link: Virginia Commonwealth University can't seem to get enough corporate-franchise restaurants within its campus radius. The latest is Chipotle, under construction in the 800 block of West Grace Street.

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