Under New Everything
Jazz fans are just discovering a new downtown nightspot that also has poetry on the bill. Skyy Restaurant & Jazz Palace, at 4 W. Broad St., is booking acts such as Quintet Essentials, Taylor Barnett (read more here), the Purple Tarantulas and Doors Wide Open for Friday- and Sunday-night jazz shows. Old-school rhythm and blues, spoken-word evenings and open-mic nights are getting a big response early on.
Owners John and Octavia Dantzler and Antoine Johnson opened the restaurant to fill a void in the local music scene after several jazz clubs closed in the past two years. They offer a moderately priced menu of catfish, burgers, steak medallions and side dishes in a space that's furnished with couches and tables and a full bar.
"We want a mature, multiracial crowd where everybody feels welcome," Johnson says.
"We've got live music that's really good, and a nice, laid-back atmosphere that's personal," John Dantzler adds. "And the food is good too."
Skyy is open Thursdays through Sundays. 343-7599.
Also new in Carytown is a bar and lounge called Hi, in the former Blue Mountain Café and Coffee Bar, which recently closed. Hi opened last week with a stylish mix of furnishings and diversions, including a Nintendo Wii on the bar's flat-screen, and a deck, always a plus in this deck-crazy town. 3433 W. Cary St.
Under New Management
One of the area's most traditional yet current fine-dining spots, The Fox Head Inn, closed over the summer, and the white country farmhouse is almost ready for a new attitude with new owners and a more casual sensibility.
Jesika Tuthill, along with her mother, Veronica Lower, and her cousin Tara Winett -- all Richmonders by way of New Jersey are opening The Farmhouse at Manakin Road in early September. They'll serve a dinner menu of Italian dishes, steaks and seafood prepared by Chef Thomas Hussey. The business can seat 50 outdoors on the terrace and another 50 inside.
"We haven't changed much inside," Tuthill says, "but it's a little more casual dining in an elegant atmosphere."
New owners at Carytown's Thai Diner Too aren't making menu changes, but the staff is new; its sister business, Thai Curry House, is closed for renovations.
At The Dining Room at the Berkeley Hotel, über-chef Michael Hall continues to operate the kitchen, under new ownership with private investors from Maryland and South Carolina. They were attracted to the property in part because of Hall's strong reputation.