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If there is any praise left it must be set at the feet of this young woman,

who faced with adversity and suffering that would have crippled most, managed

to keep her faith in herself and her parents and not turn into a bitter or hopeless

individual. Her strength is admirable.

Last, but clearly not least, praise goes to President Clinton for using his

executive powers to help a small family, suffering in a real tragedy and turning

around one of the most horrific stories imaginable.

I wish I could have helped return Kemba to Gus and Odessa Smith. I know God

would approve.

David P. Baugh

Editor's Note: Another correction — Mr. Baugh attended Coe College, not "Cole

College." Style regrets the errors.

Readers Debateÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ Julian's Review (Redux)

The letter by Tony Potter in your March 12 publication on Julian's was exactly

what Richmond does not deserve: an old-school Richmonder saying "how dare you"

about a review of a local restaurant by one of your critics.

Just because a restaurant has been there for two generations does not give

it immunity from serving a bad meal or for having a negative review written

about it. What Mr. Potter is saying is that since Style is a Richmond paper,

it should give all locally owned businesses sparkling reviews, regardless of

the quality or service they give your critics.

If your paper were to write articles based on good-old-boy theories like this,

I surely would not trust any review in your paper. I also do not see how one

bad review on a local restaurant favors the chain restaurants in any way, as

we have quite a selection in town of local restaurants to enjoy that are keeping

up with their quality to stay competitive in the local marketplace. Style, keep

up the good work, and I surely do not see any reason to apologize for your critic's

honest review.

Neil Burton

I was saddened to see the recent review of Julian's restaurant in your magazine.

Although personal opinions are the essential basis for all restaurant reviews,

this review seems particularly mean-spirited and sarcastic. In the last year,

I've eaten at both locations enough to be confident Julian's did not deserve

this type of below-the-belt hit.

Small family-run businesses are paramount to the unique identity of our restaurant

community. We tend to take for granted the wonderful array of restaurants we

have for Richmond's small size. Sure, we have national chains like any other

city, and they also have their place. However, we are very fortunate to have

an especially large ratio of independently owned restaurants when compared with

other East Coast cities. This is something worth celebrating and protecting.

Objective reviewers serve an important function. Great restaurants deserve

recognition and the increase in business these reviews can bring them. Critical

reviews should challenge those "less-than-great" establishments to raise their

service standards and quality by offering specific measures for improvement.

Vindictive reviews really do our community a great disservice and can cripple

the health of local industry.

I hope in the future you will permit another writer to again review Julian's

with a more fair-minded and responsible approach. In the meantime, I plan to

skip articles with Mr. Stamper's name attached to them.

Kate Radigan

I am an avid reader of Style. Most of all, I look forward to reading the weekly

restaurant review. I have enjoyed this section of your publication for several

years (almost 10!) until the Feb. 26 review titled "Red, White and Brown."

Let me start by saying that I am not writing this response to bash Style Weekly

or even the writer of this article. I have read several reviews that have not

been good. However, I feel that this article and review of Julian's Restaurant

was unacceptable and downright offensive. The first sentence of the review indicates

that the writer obviously went to the restaurant with a bad taste in his mouth

before he sat down: "I went to Julian's twice to make sure it was that bad."

Give me a break!

Julian's Restaurant has been a Richmond tradition for over 70 years. Julian's

has been family-owned and operated for over three generations. They have continued

to contribute to this Richmond community with jobs, taxes, and not to mention

good food and fun times for numerous families, neighbors and friends.

I don't think this article was written to be personal but it sure reads that

way. Julian's Restaurant will be just fine and probably prosper even more as

a result of this review. But I would hate to see what one person's account of

a negative dining experience could do to a place not as established or respected

as Julian's.

All I ask is that you reconsider publishing such negativity in the future.

A little constructive criticism is fine and completely acceptable in a review,

but please think about what the real purpose of this publication, and a review,

is meant to be.

John J. Pizzola

Was Randall Stamper critiquing a restaurant or did he have a personal vendetta

against Julian's? I read your restaurant review every week, and let me say,

I have never read a more negative one. Julian's has been one of my favorite

restaurants for the past 40-plus years. In all those years I have never had

a bad experience with the food or the staff.

If Mr. Stamper thinks he has done harm to Julian's, forget it! I have been

back since the review and the place was packed with happy, satisfied customers.

Gloria S. Bareford

Personally, I was pleased to see Julian's get the negative review it deserves.

Richmond's food critics tend to be far too lenient with local eateries. Moving

back after several years in a larger city, I quickly learned not to trust their

reviews. Until Richmond is willing to hold its restaurants to higher standards,

we will continue to suffer mediocre meals at high prices. So bravo, and I hope

to see more honest assessments of local food establishments in future issues

of Style!

Jo Watson

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