Church Hill's restaurant repertoire got a switch-up with the new year. OMG Café closed and Johnson's Southern Comfort opened earlier this month. Owner Deandre Johnson planned to keep both places running but couldn't make that happen; he's moved staff and resources from the popular cafe to Johnson's, in the former Jumpin J's Java space at 2306 Jefferson Ave.
It took about a year to transform the once-bohemian coffeehouse into a wood-trimmed bar and dining rooms with warm, hand-built character. "It's a family-friendly place," Johnson says, "with a new line of vegetarian options and healthier menu but keeping the comfort food people appreciate." Chicken and waffles, spaghetti, oyster po' boy sandwiches, burgers, and mac and cheese are among the choices. An all-you-can-eat buffet on Sundays is $12.99 and includes baked chicken and fish along with a range of vegetable side dishes.
Johnson's Southern Comfort serves lunch and dinner daily except Mondays. 2306 Jefferson Ave. 269-0531.
Boo's Brown Bag: Expected to open this week in the Fan, this new business promises home-cooked meals and sandwiches daily for carry-out, in the former Carlyle's Café space at 1201 W. Main St. Hiring is in progress; Bob Windsor, co-owner of Eat Oregon Hill, is a partner. 358-2667.
Saison: This new Jackson Ward gastro-pub is off to a fast start. Owners Jay Bayer and Chris Elford and their business are named in Imbibe Magazine's 75 movers and shakers for 2013 in national beverage programs. "We are very excited to be recognized so early on for our efforts," they write. "It is a badge that will continue to motivate us to excel in all avenues of our beverage program." Saison also holds cocktail demonstrations and other events. It's open nightly except Mondays at 23 W. Marshall St. 269-3689. saisonrva.com.
Reader tip: "Please review Queen's Caribbean restaurant. It is at Southside Plaza behind Family Dollar store. It is basically a carryout with just two tables but the food is excellent and the place is usually packed with looong lines. The real deal is the kids' meal, available to any age, for just $3.50. It is very generous and quite popular with the adult patrons. I've never had a bad meal. Thanks." — Aletha Brunson
Rappahannock: Fresh oysters, raw bar, appetizers to seasonal entrees, full bar in new downtown hot spot from owners of Rappahannock River Oysters. Lunch Tuesday-Friday, dinner and bar nightly, Sunday brunch from 10:30 a.m. 320 E. Grace St. 545-0565. rroysters.com.
The RumbleSeat Grill: In Goochland at the Rockville-Manakin exit, this country dining room with separate barroom has comfort food specials and other hearty fare, and is a neighborhood draw for casual family-friendly dining. Lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday, Sunday brunch, closed Mondays. 12912 Plaza Drive. 784-2737. rumbleseatgrill.com.
A2: Cozy spot for Asian fusion food, bento dog, cocktails in chic, minimalist lounge. Weekday lunch, dinner and bar nightly except Sunday. 1112 E. Main St. 344-3220. a2restaurant.com.
Sub Rosa Wood Fired Bakery: Unique artisanal breads, old world pastries, coffee. Tuesday- Friday 7 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 620 N. 25th St. 788-7672. subrosabakery.com.