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When Timothy Zingg was running Cafeteria in Miami's South Beach, he soaked up the winning equation: diner food, a well-designed room and loungey bar scene. So he's working to bring all that to Scott's Addition in a place called The Deuce, opening in early summer. Zingg is ripping apart the old George's Restaurant at 1314 Altamont to install what he calls a "warm, contemporary but not ultra-modern" interior with help from decorator Todd Yoggy. His lunch and dinner menu will be the Americana standbys he cooked as a teenager: fried chicken, meatloaf, and macaroni and cheese.

Zingg's previous stints at Cafine's and Bacchus taught him about the difficulties of partnerships, but he's getting support and advice from Diner 250 owner Kenny Bendheim, who's serving a similar menu near Short Pump.

"I want this to be people's second home," Zingg says, "and for them to see how different this is from the same old hardwood booths and tin ceilings everywhere in the Fan."

Libbie and Grove will get "more of a martini element" at Mark Hutchins' new eatery, Escabar, opening in April. The former Du Jour chef is taking that once-popular Westhampton spot and redesigning everything, from patio with raw bar to casual Mediterranean interior and a seafood-focused menu.

"It will be the closest you can get to sitting in Monte Carlo without being there," Hutchins hypes, "and you won't recognize the building or the friendly employees that Du Jour never had." He laughs at this, citing former customers' complaints about aloof servers there.

This will be the first chef-owned venture for Hutchins and partner Paul Leveque, a local entrepreneur. Escabar will offer lunch and dinner daily and weekend brunches, all featuring Hutchins' made-from-scratch soups and sauces, and several variations of escargot.

A guest stint at the Inn at Little Washington is a fantasy for many serious chefs, and Mark Herndon admits to being flattered to be asked to do a stage (rhymes with collage) at the shrine to haute cuisine. Herndon, now a restaurant consultant after nine years as executive chef for Virginia governors, will be working in the Inn's kitchen alongside legendary chef/owner Patrick O'Connell for a week in early April — "a great opportunity to see the inner workings and how they do it," Herndon says of the five-star operation.

Is the larger Washington also in Herndon's future? The chef says he was encouraged by insiders to submit a resumé to the White House and did. But Herndon expects a Texan to be named to the top chef position; he'd gladly accept a secondary spot.

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