In this town, where culinary staff come and go quicker than the time it takes to pour a martini, it comes as no surprise that Coran Capshaw’s restaurant empire—which includes Mono Loco, MAS and enoteca—would be rife with rumors. Restaurantarama addressed a few of those in April of last year and, while none of them, according to Stu Rifkin, Capshaw’s right-hand restaurant man, were true, the addition of a few TVs behind the bar at Blue Light Grill gave us reason to return to one: that the Downtown seafood spot may become a sports bar.
Blue Light General Manager Carrie Throckmorton sits below the restaurant’s new TVs, which Stu Rifkin says were put in to “add to the atmosphere.”
Last Tuesday, one of the TVs displayed the Winter Olympics, while two others flanked it, displaying an aquarium scene. Wait, Winter Olympics? Sounds awfully sporty to us. Still, Rifkin says these rumors are false—still.
“It will never be a sports bar,” he says. “A restaurant with a TV is not a sports bar.” In fact, the “TVs” aren’t TVs at all—they’re studio monitors, which Rifkin says have been there for a few months now and are meant to add to the restaurant’s atmosphere.
Still, something seems (pardon the pun) fishy to us. The restaurant sign was removed briefly this week to make way for a new sign at Ten and Restaurantarama recently noticed an ad on Craigslist, posted February 8, for a new Blue Light chef. The ad calls for “a proven team leader. Culinary degree prefered but not mandatory.” Is Rifkin looking for a new chef? “At this point, no,” he says.
The restaurant currently has a full culinary staff, but Rifkin says there’s a long list of people—both at Blue Light and the other restaurants Rifkin oversees for Capshaw—that want the job. “I post [the ad] in Richmond because, why not add a few more?”
And down the street
A few weeks ago, the folks from Henry’s Restaurant were across the street fiddling around at the old Chinaberry space on the Mall. What’s going on?
“We are doing some preliminary measuring,” the restaurant’s manager, Nickie Schoolcraft, says. At this time, the Henry’s crew has only looked at the space. In fact, it hasn’t been determined that the space is even feasible as a restaurant, but she says they’re in discussions. “Our only reason for the potential move would be to have the convenience of a Mall-front location,” she says. Currently, the home-cookin’ restaurant is accessed by a winding staircase below Vita Nova.
The whipping boy for a recent Belmont noise issue, late-night bar and restaurant Bel Rio has made a few changes to its menu. Wednesday night server Cheri Jones says the restaurant has added “a dozen things under $10,” including four new burgers, ahi tuna tacos, pork carnitas and chipotle meatloaf. Jones also pointed out Bel Rio’s new $5 entree night, when the chef makes five entrees—like fish and chips—all under $5. She noted that they offer four desserts at that same price point, too.
UPDATE (Monday, February 22): Milano owners Mark and Victoria Cave sent a press release announcing Milano’s impending closing. "Milano Cafe needs an owner/proprietor, someone who can devote the time and resources needed to further grow the product and the brand," the release reads. The Caves say the cafe deserves much more time and energy than they can afford to give it. Check back next week for more.