After months of looking for the right location and then refining his Italian menu, chef Giuseppe Scafidi (Stuzzi, Azzurro) has launched Deco Ristorante in the Museum District. It's the sort of place where fish soup, sardines, sweet arancini — fried rice balls — and other dishes take lead roles on a menu that doesn't pander to red-sauce stereotypes.
Sicilian street snacks, such as chickpea fritters, eggplant salad and fried cauliflower, are $4-7. Pastas with a variety of vegetable and seafood options are mostly $14, and veal, chicken and steak entrees are $16-24. The tiny spot, with fewer than a dozen tables, is minimalist but welcoming with warm service and the chef making frequent appearances to check on customers.
Dinner nightly, lunch weekdays. 2901 Park Ave. 342-4278.
Lovely Linda: Ending its run after 27 years is chef Linda Marcuse's beloved Shockoe Slip business, A Movable Feast. She's known for a tireless work ethic, mellow Mediterranean flavors, sumptuous soups and desserts, and a warm earth-mother love for the workers of downtown Richmond and beyond. Her catering business will continue but not from the cafe at 1318 E. Cary St. She closes that storefront at the end of this month and prepares for a new opportunity farther west. Word is that landlord Tom Papa and his son are preparing to install a pizza business in the Shockoe location. Stay tuned.
Transitions: Longtime West End restaurant Bogart's, at 443 N. Ridge Road, has closed and its phone is disconnected. Farther west, L'Italia at 10610 Patterson Ave. remains open, but its owners say they're looking for a buyer for the popular neighborhood business.
Cupcake camp: Just in time for summer doldrums, the Shockoe Slip cooking school Mise en Place offers a four-day cupcake camp for junior bakers. Jenny Tremblay of Sweetest Thing Bakery and Jannequin Bennett of Everyday Gourmet will lead the sessions, teaching icing techniques and cupcake creation, Aug. 13-16. You can find details at miseenplaceshockoe.com.
Chef gets new vibe: As it prepares to graduate its 600th trainee in its nationally renowned food-service program for people with disabilities, the Positive Vibe Café in Stratford Hills also has chef news. Craig Smith, recently of Jamie Oliver's restaurant Jamie's Italian in Glasgow, Scotland, now runs the Vibe kitchen. Sample his wares at German night on July 14 from 5-9. A buffet dinner with music from the Sauerkrauts, an oompah band, is $22 per person, plus tax and tip. Call 560-9622 for reservations. Positivevibecafe.com.
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