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Paradise on a Plate in South Side

It's been hard to find a full, home-cooked breakfast in Stratford Hills, but a new diner is set to open this week that can dish out all the grits and biscuits a South Sider needs. Karen and Junior Joseph, former owners of Karen's Diner on Broad Street, are putting their energies into Paradise Diner at 2845 Hathaway Road, in the space that used to be Mexico Restaurant.

They'll serve breakfast and lunch daily in the 80-seat space and, with their longtime cook Lois Trimew, will add salt herring, Belgian waffles and fish roe to their classic diner menu. They'll also offer catering and boxed lunches.

Manager Olivia Kinchen says the diner is decorated in "very calm, pretty colors, with booths and a bar. We're all excited about opening." They're targeting Dec. 15 for their first day. S

Food Glorious Food in Petersburg

This has been a good year for pioneers in Petersburg, with strong openings for Wabi-Sabi, Sycamore Rouge and various galleries and businesses. A new retailer hopes to capture the upscale gourmet crowd with a takeout collection of European foodstuffs and other delicacies.

Nicki and Jack Coyle opened the Old Towne Market Place, a gourmet and specialty food shop, last month at 124 W. Bank St., in a circa-1898 police station that's now their home and business.

They're open Mondays through Saturdays, selling imported cheeses, pté, pastries, foie gras, pastas and sauces, black winter truffles and deli items.

Jack Coyle says the couple visited Petersburg in 2001. "We liked what we saw, and the people were pleasant and friendly," he says. "We decided to give this a shot as a retirement project."

He suggests the chicken, pork and mushroom pté, the Midnight Moon goat's-milk cheese and the aged Mimolette French Cheddar as great gift items. 733-4955.

Banking on a Better Brunch

Chef Matt Turner has introduced a new Sunday brunch menu at Bank downtown. Look for a raspberry granola scone with mimosa curd filling and scrambled eggs; corned beef and potato hash with wilted spinach and piquillo pepper Maltese; French toast with bananas and hazelnuts; and the ever-popular Bellinis from the bar. As Turner describes the menu, it's a continuation of the restaurant's theme of classically inspired dishes with modern refinement.

Tipping Off a Lobbyist

When Jay Poole, a well-known lobbyist, becomes a guest maitre d' for a night, all of his tips will go to a good cause. Comfort Zone Camp, the Richmond-based bereavement camp for children and teenagers, will be the beneficiary of the Jan. 10 event at Morton's in Shockoe Slip.

Dinner features a special menu and is open to the public; reservations are required. Tickets are $90. Poole's tips, all proceeds from sales of hot chocolate cake and a portion of the dinner price will be donated to Comfort Zone Camp, the nation's largest nonprofit bereavement camp serving children throughout the United States. Poole is president-elect of the organization's board. S

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