Now serving in the basement of the Stuart Court apartment building at 1600 Monument Ave. is a cafe with a fighting chance of survival, if early reports are an indicator. Cellar Door Restaurant is open daily for lunch, dinner and bar hours, with an affordable menu of sandwiches and soups that feature Peruvian chicken, as in the Manchester sandwich, shown here, deli meats, portobellos and tofu. On the sweets list, Mexican chocolate tortes and Godiva bombes are house specialties. 716-0346.
Turning the Corner: Things weren't looking too good at the Museum District's longtime haunt the Corner Cafe. As with many older businesses, it was a friendly and comfortable place but down at the heels before a recent rescue that's still in progress.
Now the vintage restaurant at 800 N. Cleveland St. has a new owner, new management team and an overhaul from kitchen to bar. What remains are the familiar architectural details and the neighborhood-appropriate hours. This isn't a late-night bar scene, but a spiffed-up neighborhood cafe, general manager Dale Barta says. It will serve dinner Monday through Saturday, brunch on Sundays, and eventually will add lunch hours. Weekend closing time is midnight.
Daily specials, signature soups and desserts, a reconfigured wine list and other menu changes are in the works. The reopening date isn't set yet — wisely, as those dates never seem to work out in Richmond — but enthusiasm for the project is running high based on comments from a regular parade of passersby and a nostalgic affection for what the place was, and hopes to be.
Coming soon to Westover: Blanchard's Coffee on Forest Hill Avenue is about to become a newer, larger coffeehouse with extended hours, a complete redecoration, and even curbside coffee to go, along with Chocolates by Kelly, desserts and ice cream. We'll have details on the business, taZa Coffee n CrA"me, once the space is complete early next month.
Stuzzi joins giant select group: It's official: The pizza at Stuzzi has earned membership in the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. The restaurant announces it is “a member of an elite group of a handful of 65,000 pizzerias in the USA that served authentic Napoletian type pizza.” The restaurant has added brunch hours to its lineup. stuzzirichmond.com.
Oktoberfest starts early: Capital Ale House rolls out the barrels for its four-location extravaganza, including music, food and brew specials and general merriment, through Oct. 2. See capitalalehouse.com for details, including an Oktoberfest video and a brief history of the German event.
Buon anniversario: Amici Ristorante celebrates its 19th anniversary through Oct. 16 with special pricing for its Northern Italian cuisine. A three-course dinner is $25, a significant dining value for a longtime Carytown favorite. 3343 W. Cary St. 353-4700. amiciristorante.net.
Food with Frits: Who better play host to a chefs' dinner than Frits Huntjens, now culinary head of Positive Vibe CafAc? The event is Sept. 26 at 6:30. Live jazz, four courses including Dover sole and duck, all paired with wines and little extras, will go for $150 a couple, by reservation only. See details at positivevibecafe.com.
Slow going: Learn more about the international slow food movement and see what's happening here at the Richmond group's crisp new website, slowfoodrva.org.
Return of a tradition: Richmond Restaurant Week is in its ninth year, benefitting Central Virginia Food Bank and organized by Aline Reitzer of Acacia Mid-town. See the list of more than two dozen participating restaurants — all serving three-course meals for $25.10 — at richmondrestaurantweek.com. Reservations are a necessity for this popular event, which runs Oct. 25-31.