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This Week: Heart-Melting Ice Cream and Slices of Burning Love



Heart Melting
Now that Kitchen 64 on the Boulevard has hit its third birthday, it's time for ice cream. Sweet 95, a side project from Katrina and Johnny Giavos, opens next door to the restaurant in June. The business has been hatching for years along with Giavos offspring Constantine, 20, and Maria, 16. During the summer they'll run the business, serving a half-dozen flavors of Homestead Creamery ice cream in cones, shakes and malts. Double dark chocolate and butter pecan ice cream are early favorites on the dairy's changing lineup. Sundaes get toppings such as baklava, a reminder of the family's culinary heritage. (Not ready for publication: another appearance by Stella.)

Sweet 95's walk-up counter faces seats and umbrellas on a fenced-in deck with planters. “This is what I've owed to the community,” Katrina Giavos says of the shed's sprucing up. “It's time to make this an attractive place that people will enjoy, especially because the neighborhood is getting so much more energy.” They hope folks will cap off a Squirrels game or the summer sultries the old-timey way, scooped by the next wave. 3336 N. Boulevard. 358-0064.

Burning love: The pizzarazzi have descended at Aziza's on Main now that a wood-burning pizza and bread oven is up and running in the back. Many blog words have been written and photos taken of its arrival and significance, and the cult following grows for Rusty and Billy Fallen and their food-forward thinking. In a few weeks the cafe starts nightly dinner service. For now it serves Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30-9:30 p.m., with lunch on weekdays and weekend brunch. 2110 E. Main St., 344-1523.

House proud: Osaka Sushi & Steak on River Road just launched a top-to-bottom interior redesign with new floors, walls, furniture, art and “amazing theatrical lighting,” general manager Ren Mefford says. The business will close until June 4. 5023 Huguenot Road, 288-8801.

Eat for good: Hot Tamale CafAc at 13815 Fribble Way in Midlothian will donate 20 percent of all lunch and dinner sales on third Thursdays to United Methodist Family Services. Diners must mention UMFS when they pay. Happy-hour sales are included, but coupons may not be used, says Bethanie Constant of UMFS. 254-9674.

Feed the Reader

Farmed Out
Ordinarily I'm not one to write restaurant reviews, good or bad, but this week I had a really unpleasant lunch at the much-touted Urban Farmhouse. Not only did my colleague and I wait 30 minutes for two salad plates, the meals were not what we ordered! The white bean and asparagus salad was loaded down with fresh spinach (great but not in description) and we could only find one tiny cubed asparagus. I asked for the tarragon tuna on a bed of greens instead of sandwich and was told “no problem.” I received a great-tasting scoop of tuna on a few greens and over half a plate of chips! The cooks at the prep area did nothing to try and placate me or the other folks waiting too long, and the women at the order counter gave an insincere “sorry” for the lunches as we left. This was my second experience at the Farmhouse and probably my last; the first wasn't much better. We need local restaurants like this downtown to serve us working folk — but the food to price ratio is too high ($26 with drinks for above) and the time spent not worth my lunch hour.
— J. McC., Richmond

Urban Farmhouse founder Kathleen Richardson responds:
Whereas some restaurants may cringe from unfavorable reviews, we welcome our customers' feedback! We are still trying to figure out a lot of things, how to operate within a downtown area, how to get more and better organic and all natural products, and how to be true to our mission, “to do our best to make each customer feel better than they did before they came.” We are disappointed to hear when the experience isn't the best we can make it. I encourage any of our customers to call me personally with their comments and suggestions. This is what will help us to achieve our mission.

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