Bashir's is here!

By the looks of it last week, we may have been the last people in town to visit Bashir's, which reopened September 3 in the post office building at the east end of the Downtown Mall.

From the groups gathered to read the menu outside the front door to the packed tables and lengthy line inside the expanded space, it's clear that Bashir's customers have not forgotten the Middle Eastern sandwich shop known as much for its friendly owners, Bashir and Kathy Khelafa, as for its exotic lunches and now dinners.

Despite their frenetic pace to keep up with the line snaking its way back from the counter, Bashir and Kathy seemed right at home in the new space, and service was as quick as Dish recalled. Though we took our meal to go, the ambience in the space is appealing, with orange walls, dark wood tables and plush, pillow-covered sofas. Colorful tapestries add another splash of color.

The new menu features old favorites like the ham and brie sandwich, but Dish chose the roast vegetable sandwich with romanesco sauce and the house salad of tomatoes and cucumbers we need only say we'll be heading back there soon. The new falafel bar also had more than a few takers, and we haven't even given the new dinner menu a try.

We'd tell you to check it out, but chances are you already have!


Tea time

 It must be something in the air. A few days before Bashir's opened its doors, Twisted Branch Tea House (above Bashir's former space in the Downtown Mini Mall) quietly welcomed its first official customers.

Owner Matteus Frankovich says Thursday, August 29, was the big day, though he deliberately stayed hush-hush to keep things from getting too crazy. With an array of imported teas that will be brewed tableside, as well as goodies made in-house, Twisted Branch open Tuesday to Sunday from 3pm on– offers downtowners a twist on caffeine consumption.


Doom and gloom?

 Things are looking down for dining in Scottsville this summer.

First, in early September, '50s diner Blast From the Past closed its doors with nary a warning. Dish couldn't reach the proprietors by presstime.

And then word came over the wire that upscale Jimmy's on the James might be experiencing some kind of shut-down. The doors were reportedly locked, and although a sign announced imminent renovations, a few locals believed Jimmy's might also be sliding toward oblivion. Could it be true?

"The rumors, the rumors, the rumors!" exclaimed Jimmy's on the James chef Chad Ervin. "We closed for renovations," Ervin explained, "but then we kind of thought of not doing it." Then, much to the relief of Scottsville residents, "We started to do it," Ervin says.

Construction delays, it turns out, were the only reason for Jimmy's on the James closed door. The construction of a new bar and installation of French doors will keep the restaurant out of the action for short while, but then it will be business as usual. The actual work should only take about two days, says Ervin, who met with the contractor earlier this week. If all goes as planned, Ervin hoped to reopen the restaurant while this week's Hook is still on newsstands. We'll check back and see how it goes.



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