You know the owners are serious about a long-term investment when they give up their historic tax credits in favor of a complete structural change and new design for an old building. Such is the case at the upscale Fan diner deLux, the long-awaited Richmond Restaurant Group project that's opening any day now.
Charlie Diradour, who owns the building at West Main and Strawberry streets, pulled out all the stops, getting contractor Larry Walters to reconfigure the space with a large, open stairway and mezzanine, lighted orb-shaped cutouts in the ceiling, and a complete gut-job in a restaurant that burned at least twice in its former lives.
Now it has an upstairs fireplace, stone and glass walls, tile flooring, two enormous concrete bars and a retro-mod interior designed by Helen Reed Hayes, who continues to guide Richmond restaurants into a smarter vision. Scott Corwin and David Johannes are the architects, Michelle Williams and Jared Golden are the operating partners, and ubiquitous Ed Trask paintings will remind diners that they're still in Richmond, even though the New York-influenced lounge music will suggest elsewhere.
The diner will offer a full-service menu with breakfast, lunch, dinner and bar hours daily from 7 a.m. until 2 a.m., a 19-hour-a-day rarity in the Fan or elsewhere in the region. 2229 W. Main St. 353-2424. www.deluxrichmond.com.
Fare Game: Restaurant News
Because no neighborhood hangout is complete without some sort of outdoor space, Northside Grille is adding patio dining, which City Council approved last week. Though it won't open till spring, the side terrace at the popular café is already in demand for tented holiday parties.
Karol and Tamara Gajda, owners of La Petite France, the venerable fine-dining establishment, are offering corporate lunch box deliveries and adding specials such as quail stuffed with herbed chevre or elk loin with port-glazed turnips. Their redesigned Web site gives details at www.lapetitefrance.net.
Diners who just can't get enough from small plates elsewhere might like the seven-course tasting menu at Franco's Ristorante in the West End -- appetizer, soup, pasta, fish, salad, meat and dessert. Others might go for new additions to the fall menu, such as duck leg confit or pan-braised red snapper. Vitello cognac returns as a longtime favorite. 9031 W. Broad St. 270-9124.
Delayed gratification is the ongoing message at a couple of in-progress places: Infuzion, the ice lounge/dance club, now expects a December opening; its Scott's Addition neighbor, Stronghill Dining Company, is beginning construction after lengthy permit delays and should open by spring, according to Jessika Weaver, one of its owners.
Don't go looking for food at Luna Grove in the West End, bistro.104 in the Bottom or the short-lived Happy Interactions in Carytown. They've closed.