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A New Sticky

Cous Cous is open, serving Mediterranean and Moroccan fare in the former Chuggers at 900 W. Franklin St. The new restaurant offers lunch weekdays and dinner nightly, with tapas-style dishes for $5-$9, and entrees of chicken, lamb and shrimp ranging from $16-$27.

Formerly with Stella's, chef Charlie Williams' specialties include Manchego fritters, falafel, cremini mushrooms stuffed with chevre and crab, and marinated lamb served over couscous.

Owners John Yamashita and Jason Henry of the Fan District's popular Sticky Rice join Alex Copeland in this new 60-seat venture, which opened late last month on the ground floor of the Chesterfield Building.

Barkeeps are busy pouring sangria and mojitos, taking the former tearoom a long, exotic distance from the days of ladies' chicken-salad luncheons. 358-0868.

Hamburger Heaven

Chef Matthew Tlusty just closed on a deal to turn the former Kitchen Table restaurant at 3 N. 17th St. in Shockoe Bottom into a new burger joint. He'll offer six styles of burgers with his signature shoestring fries, which were favorites at his former fish grill, Limani.

Tlusty's gourmet burgers will feature shitake mushrooms, vidalias, fontina, even fried eggs and ham, and he's looking at designs in New York and elsewhere that might have the kind of interior flow he wants for the small space.

Tlusty is still figuring out details for the operation but hopes to fill a niche in the neighborhood. He says the hardest part is getting qualified kitchen- and wait-staff in Richmond. He's looking for people with the right attitude to operate a relaxed but quality-conscious business — and, he adds, an appreciation for Wisconsin cheddar and thick-cut smoked bacon "served on the perfect bun." Look for an opening in late fall.

Clams on Ice

Changes at Escabar are keeping pace with the seasons. Look for a new raw bar on the terrace Wednesdays through Saturdays featuring shrimp, stone-crab claws with Joe's South Beach mustard sauce, and the traditional spread of clams and oysters. The intimate space now has a daily happy hour from 5-7 p.m. and offers live music inside on Wednesday evenings. 5806 Grove Ave. 288-4885.

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