UPDATE: Savory Grain opens today, Dixie Donuts goes gluten-free, and info about Pearl Raw Bar

So much love lately for Richmond restaurants, plus insight on two new ones headed our way.

Update #1 — February 15, 2013; 9:49 AM

Yesterday, we reported that Dixie Donuts was about to offer gluten-free doughnuts. Turns out we got ahead of ourselves: they’ll be testing gluten-free doughnuts this weekend.

“We are testing this Saturday,” Betsy Thomas, co-owner of Dixie Donuts, said by phone this morning. “This is going to require a very different flow, and we need to do a soft opening with that.”

She said “it’s becoming more apparent that there is a need for gluten-free items.” Not only will bakers experiment with gluten-free recipes this weekend to create a “really good doughnut,” but they’ll also workout the logistics of regularly creating gluten-free items amid the hundreds of doughnuts made daily that are not gluten-free.

“The concerns are mixing and cross-contamination…we realize that a lot of people get really sick,” Thomas said. She added that Dixie Donuts is “trying to go the extra mile” to ensure its customers with a gluten intolerance don’t.

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Original — February 14, 2013

The Savory Grain opens today. Jamie Bohdan, former executive manager of The Republic and Metro Grill, has teamed up with head chef Sean Murphy (F.W. Sullivan’s, Lady N’awlins) in the former Empress space at 2043 W. Broad Street. The new restaurant will feature a chalkboard menu geared toward New American cuisine and will have 24 beers on tap. Call 804.592.4000 for reservations.

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Pearl Raw Bar is also expected to open sometime next week in the former deLux space at the corner of Main and Strawberry. The Richmond Restaurant Group, which closed deLux last summer, told Style Weekly that, after five years of owning a bar in the Fan, it had lost its allure. Pearl Raw Bar will be the sixth restaurant that Michelle Williams and Jared Golden own together (the other five include: Europa, Water Grill, both Hard Shell locations, and The Hill Cafe).

Seafood has become a cuisine that does well for them, and Pearl Raw Bar will follow in those footsteps with oysters, crab legs, shrimp, mussels, and clams being served at their large 20-seat marble bar. Sandwiches and entrees will range from $10 – $25. You can keep up to date on their progress through their Facebook page.

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To all those gluten-free people out there, Dixie Donuts has a treat for you! Beginning this weekend, it will begin offering gluten-free donuts. That’s right, real donuts with zero gluten in them. Dixie Donuts is located at 2901 W. Cary Street.

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This past Sunday, Richmond celebrated excellence in Richmond’s restaurant community at the second annual Elby Awards presented by Richmond Magazine, where the who’s who in Richmond dining got dolled-up and toasted each other. The winners were:

  • Fine Dining • Lemaire
  • Upscale Casual • Stella’s
  • Neighborhood Restaurant • Kuba Kuba
  • New Restaurant • Deco Ristorante
  • Cocktail Program • The Roosevelt
  • Excellence in Service • Wendy Kalif at Bistro Bobette
  • Rising Culinary Star • Mike Yavorsky of Belmont Food Shop
  • Chef of the Year • Dale Reitzer of Acacia Mid-town
  • Restaurateur of the Year • Kendra Feather

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Breaking news: today is Valentine’s Day. SURPRISE! If you were supposed to make dinner reservations and forgot, we’ve conveniently put a list together of prix fixe dinners happening around town. But if you can’t get a reservation, or nothing tickles your fancy, we suggest a few of our favorite takeout options to make your belly smile:

  • 81/2
  • Bombolini Pasta
  • Sticky To Go Go
  • Dixie Chicken
  • Burger Bach
  • Mekong
  • Olio

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Speaking of love, Richmond got two great shout outs in national publications recently:

photo of Stella’s by Erin Soorenko

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