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Biker Bar Goes South

Keith Phillips doesn't suffer fools lightly. "I don't like idiots," says the local biker legend and owner of Shockoe Bottom's The Doghouse. So he's got two rules for the place: "No blood on the floor and don't mess with my pretty girls," with maybe some saltier language thrown in when the occasion warrants. But there haven't been many fights at the watering hole in its nine years, and Phillips wants it known that the place is a veterans' bar first , though cops and bikers also frequent the flag-draped watering hole at 1719 E. Main St. A poker run there April 23 will benefit McGuire VA Medical Center and is sponsored by the Hopewell chapter of the American Legion.

Now Phillips is making room for bikers in Chesterfield County, where he's set to open The Doghouse South at 10455 Midlothian Turnpike in the Pocono Crossing shopping center. The place will be a dart and RUB bar, he says. Not rub as in spices on meats, but as in rich urban bikers looking for a place to hang.

He'll cater to that crowd with hand-cut steaks, burgers and pastas on a menu created by personal chef Jay Frank, who earned his reputation as executive chef at The Berkeley Hotel and counts Frances Lewis as a client. Frank has been a fellow biker and friend of Phillips' since their days at Midlothian High.

Phillips had to convince Chesterfield planners that his new place wouldn't attract a Hell's Angels crowd, but would be a friendly gathering place for riders who already know him, including "probably everybody within a 60-mile radius who owns a larger Harley," he says. A dart room will take up one side of the former Fox & Hounds tavern, and the other side will have live music in the evenings.

New Fan Hideaway

In the Fan district, a surfeit of wooden spoons is turning up on the walls of the former Caffe Di Pagliacci, and patrons who bring in more spoons will get free dessert or some kind of reward, says co-owner Matt Woodward of The Wooden Spoon at 214 N. Lombardy St.

This is a first venture for Woodward and his fiancée, Jennifer Piacente. They've created a menu that mixes Italian standards with such signature dishes as tenderloin Napoleon. Shrimp and clams and daily specials will round things out, with dinner entrees priced $15 and under. They serve lunch and dinner daily and brunch on Sundays.

Best of all, the creepy but memorable Curtis R. Mills mural on the building's side wall remains: two kids in a stockpot under the motto, "There's a little Italian in everything we make." Yikes. — Deveron Timberlake

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