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Side Dish

Food news, events and whispers.

PIT MASTERY: When Carey Friedman was a child, some of his fondest memories created from the barbecue pits his Grandpa Eddie built to smoke beef ribs and brisket. Fast-forward through Friedman's years as an attorney and policy adviser to Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine, and he's now parlaying those memories and an admitted barbecue obsession into a new family-owned restaurant, Grandpa Eddie's Alabama Ribs & BBQ.

"We're trying to differentiate ourselves from the chains," Friedman says. "We are trying to do one thing and do it well, making old-style Southern barbecue and all the desserts, salad dressings and sauces from old family recipes."

Friedman hung photos of his grandpa on the kitsch-cleared walls of the former Diner 250 at 12859 Broad Street Road, west of Short Pump, and he built barbecue pits out back, inaugurated with ceremonial shots of Petrone tequila. He'll serve tequila flights at the restaurant's full bar.

Now Friedman is training a kitchen crew and wait staff and preparing to open in early November with dinner service first; lunch will be added before the winter holidays. Look for a few non-barbecue entrees, peanut-butter pie and Aunt Lindy's cheesecake as Friedman celebrates his heritage: "This is something I've worked my whole life to get to," he says. "It's a real family affair."

FRIENDS OF PHO: Richmond's growing interest in Vietnamese food is no more evident than in the Horsepen and Rigsby roads neighborhood, where three pho shops now operate within a block of each other, and two more established places are within smelling distance. Vinh Phat, Pho #1 and Tay Do have similar menus — noodles, broken rice, soups and rolls — and authentic cooking methods. And each is a small, no-frills, broken-English setting far removed from the nearby Broad Street corridor (and its Vietnamese heavyweight, Mekong). With the addition of Kim's Bakery and Café Bi Da, a Vietnamese pool hall/coffeehouse nearby, this area shows vigor and a distinctly new-Richmond flavor.

VEGAN QUEEN: Sarah Kramer is to vegan cookbooks what Patricia Cornwell is to crime novels — the top-selling writer in the genre. She's coming to Richmond next month for a two-day appearance sponsored by Fountain Bookstore and Mise En Place, the Shockoe Slip cooking school. Kramer is unveiling "La Dolce Vegan!: Vegan Livin' Made Easy" with a potluck-dinner book-release party Nov. 8 and a reservations-only cooking class Nov. 9. Both events are sure to be lively as Kramer's effervescent style and enthusiasm for the dairy- and animal-product-free diet have won legions of fans worldwide.

BUG-EYED: If candy corn and Junior Mints are too pedestrian for your Halloween bacchanal, consider instead the sweetly perverse: candied scorpions from Carytown shop For the Love of Chocolate. Owner James Kinard says he's been selling chocolate-covered ants, grasshoppers and larvae to kids and curiosity-seekers for 14 years, along with candy-coated seaweed, chocolate coffins and other ghoulish treats, distinguished further because they actually taste good while looking frightful. — Deveron Timberlake

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