Chef and owner Brian Munford oversees a culinary construction crew who uses fresh ingredients to craft a menu of innovative international dishes, which earned Patina Grill a spot on Richmond magazine's 25 Best Restaurants in 2010. Prepare palates for a lavish meal or wars against crustacean nations with the seared-crab-cakes starter, served with house-made fettuccine and a unique butter flavored with red peppers, basil, and bacon ($13). Diners can match their mandibles against the chimichanga with wild mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, and cheese ($24) or quell tummy grumbles with the roasted pork ($25). The szechwan tea-smoked duck arrives alongside wild rice and mu shu vegetables ($30), a delicious pairing, unlike peppermint chewing gum and Mountain Dew.
When Ronn Teitelbaum opened the first Johnny Rockets location in 1986, his goal was to create a restaurant where people could escape the postmodern blues of everyday life and experience a taste of time-honored Americana. The name itself is a nod to this ideal—it combines the star of a classic American fable, Johnny Appleseed, and a classic car, Oldsmobile’s beefy Rocket 88. The chain now makes itself at home in America's cultural landmarks, including Yankee Stadium and the Flamingo Hotel.
During dinners at the famous burger joints, you’ll see signs of simpler times, starting with the cooks and servers—dressed head to toe in white, including white paper hats, they look like they’ve fallen out of a wormhole from the 1950s ready to sling shakes and cook up some eats. Behind a stainless-steel bar lined with red leather stools they tend to their traditional diner fare, including burgers and melts with sides such as chili-cheese fries and onion rings. Riding sidecar to each meal is a collection of hand-dipped and hand-spun floats, shakes, and malts topped with whipped cream.
The brother-sister team behind Rudino's Pizza and Grinders incorporated an onsite bakery into the restaurant's design, keeping the kitchen full of fresh, homemade dough for pizzas and sandwiches. After coating crusts with a sauce based on the duo's family recipe, cooks layer on any number of ingredients—including fresh basil, jalapeños, and bacon—as well as a blend of mozzarella and provolone cheeses that melts as beautifully as a box of crayons in a kiln. They also slide open-faced grinders into ovens after loading them with such sandwich fixings as italian sausage, salami, and fresh vegetables that are never frozen or canned. After ordering at the counter, guests can enjoy their meal at one of the many tables scattered throughout the yellow- and red-walled dining area. A mounted television broadcasts sports games, and two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows help to keep the space illuminated with enough natural light to jumpstart a solar-powered monster truck.
Cool sips of creamy green-tea frappes and thai iced coffee balance the fiery curries and delicately seasoned stir-fries at Elephant Thai Short Pump, whose chefs import their spices from Thailand each week. This touch of authenticity is palpable in the seasoned chicken, pork, and shrimp inside the kanom jeeb thai dumplings as well as in the spicy chili and garlic sauce that drowns helpings of vegetarian drunken noodles.
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Around the brand new confines of 250 Sports Grill, grass-green countertops, ornamental football helmets, and dark wood accents recall a well-maintained football field, and 18 large flat-screen TVs––one for every 100 square feet of space—keep guests entertained. The bar may be a new kid on the block, still celebrating its grand opening, but its commitment to pairing classic pub eats with the thrill of athletic competition is decidedly tried and true. Some days, the eatery will even open as early as 6 a.m. to catch live international events such as the British Open, the World Cup, and the European yodeling showdown. Inside 250's kitchen, chefs serve up Florida Gator fried-alligator bites, full racks of sauce-slathered ribs, and hearty half-pound burgers with Angus beef and fresh bison. If they dare, diners also may attempt the 250 Burger Challenge, wherein they must down a 2.5-pound burger and a side of fries in less than 20 minutes.