The Collegian
Monday, April 15, 2024

Brigid Beitel

To dine or not to dine: Secco Wine Bar

Carytown prides itself on offering off-beat shops and eateries to satisfy those of us who aren't content with Chipotle or Panera Bread, and who are looking for something closer to campus.

To Dine or Not To Dine: Nile Ethiopian

Deciding how many stars to give Nile was really a struggle. I ended up writing this entire article before deciding that Nile was only worth two out of five stars. Ethiopian cuisine typically consists of spicy vegetable and meat dishes in the form of "wat" or thick stew, served with, atop or inside "injera" which is a large flatbread but seemed to me more like a large spongy sourdough crepe. Ethiopians do not use utensils.

To Dine or Not To Dine: The Empress

Gluten-free eaters now have a delicious spot on Broad Street to take their non-restricted eating friends. The menu at The Empress is original and full of unique flavor combinations.

To Dine or Not To Dine: Xtra's Cafe

Xtra's Cafe is a new gem in the heart of Carytown that offers a great variety of dishes in a fun and slightly retro atmosphere. Xtra's just opened on Cary Street in September and has since done an excellent job of filling a niche for eclectic American dining with plenty of vegan and gluten-free options as well. Brand spanking new, Xtra's Cafe is a fun spot for families, dates or groups of friends. The restaurant is named after the co-owner and daughter in the father-daughter proprietary pair, Xtra Moore. The same family owns the bead retailer on the first floor, above which Xtra's Cafe is nicely situated. The upbeat ambiance and assorted menu are what have Xtra's Cafe named one of the 15 restaurants to look out for in 2011 by Richmond Magazine. The zig-zag tile floor and the brightly patterned booths are just the beginning of Xtra's interesting vibe. There is a full-service bar with a serpentine shape that spans almost the entirety of the main dining room. There is also a second and slightly smaller dining area and outdoor patio with space heaters to allow for outdoor dining during the winter months. The colorful decor complements the colorful menu that the timely waitstaff is happy to serve. On the menu, the distinctive appetizers are sure to catch your eye.

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