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Portrait Houes's pork barbecue pizza Photo by Ash Daniel
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Cupping at Vitality Massage Photo by Dom Formosa
Pitcher Perfect Spend enough time at Portrait House, Hamooda Shami's latest addition to his Carytown eatery empire that is across from the Byrd Theatre, and you may notice the walls have eyes. Lots and lots of eyes. "We wanted to come up with a unique theme," says Shami, who decided to go with a random portraits-of-people-you-might-or-might-not-be-related-to theme and pulled it off with his usual flair. "It's a growing mix in the main restaurant," says Shami, who's not above enshrining a customer or two, should they proffer a worthy image of themselves. "We've been adding portraits every week. If somebody came by with a good one [of themselves], we'd probably put that up." That day may come soon. Customers are fast establishing happy hour and dinner routines that include the restaurant's wood-fired pizzas, house-made burger buns, grass-fed beef burgers and a 24-tap craft beer bar featuring $4 happy hour drafts. "I love Carytown," Shami says. "It's my favorite place. On certain days, it's almost utopian. Bury me in Carytown." For more information, call 278-9800 or visit facebook.com/portraithouse . Beyond Naan Opened in April as restaurateur Mel Oza's answer to the common tandoori-chicken-filled lunch buffet, Curry Craft focuses on just that — craft. Craft beer and craft cocktails often remain conspicuously absent at traditional Indian restaurants, but that's not the case at Oza's establishment: "Predominantly, I was trying to undo what some Indian places have done," he says of his reimagining of Indian restaurants as hip. "There's a general perception of ‘Let's go out for Indian food and then go out for drinks after.' " Indeed, Oza's choice of Carytown rather than Short Pump was purposeful, as he sought not the dinner-and-gone crowd of the West End that might have certain expectations when ordering traditional Indian dishes. Beside strict regional recipes, Oza's menu goes rogue. "It's not a focus on any particular region — it's focused on ingredients," he says, touting fresh produce alongside house-made sauces and cheeses used to achieve clever twists on familiar dishes. Ordering at Curry Craft may seem like a leap of faith for the uninitiated, Oza says. "We don't ask for spice levels," he says, insisting that the common assumption that American diners can't handle Indian heat doesn't bear out. "Our success rate has been high — the idea is not to dictate but really get them to believe in us." For more information, call 358-0350 or visit currycraft.com . Healthy Habit The Daily aspires to become nothing less than Carytown's newest and most satisfying habit, says Jared Golden, one-third of the Richmond restaurant triumvirate that brought us The Hard Shell, Europa and Pearl. "We wanted to do something like a neighborhood café that was approachable [and] affordable," Golden says, adding that the makeover to the building that once housed Glass and Powder Board Shop involved bulldozing the entire front of the structure to create a newly wide-open space meant for mixing, meeting and people watching. "The plan was to create somewhere you could go often," Golden says. It was also to satisfy co-owner Ted Wallof's craving to replicate his favorite dining experiences from Los Angeles. "I'm definitely into food-consciousness, health-consciousness and environmental responsibility," Wallof says. "People want to know where their food comes from." And if all that's not enough to guarantee success, Golden says, there's location, location, location. "If you're fortunate enough to have a patio on the sunny side of the street, people are going to come." For more information, visit richmondrestaurantgroup.com . Refinished Fun Think Build-A-Bear for furniture refinishing-enthusiasts and you're probably not far from the concept behind TC Artworks, which opened in mid-June. Add a little wine and good conversation with friends, and you've hit the nail on the head. "I'm calling it Vino and Vintage," says owner Tamara Clary Clark of the available two-hour classes — starting at $35 with refinishing materials included — that are meant as a fun and educational answer to the typical girl's night out, theme party or even corporate teambuilding event. "You come for fun, and you leave with knowledge and a beautiful project," Clary Clark says. For more information, call 919-783-1000 or visit tc-artworks.net . Cupple Massage Certified massage therapist Kenzie Korman had a goal in mind — helping people reach their full physical potential — but the path she took to get there diverged once she entered graduate school for occupational therapy. "I decided to become a massage therapist last minute," says Korman, who found her interests leaned more toward massage therapy, homeopathic medicine and other natural approaches to wellness. "Massage cupping is kind of my niche." In April, she opened Vitality Massage at 3423 W. Cary St. Cupping is the use of heated glass or plastic cups placed strategically on the skin. The difference in atmospheres causes suction on the skin that practitioners say draws out toxins and improves lymphatic flow. The practice, Korman says, can also be used for body contouring. "If somebody's trying to lose weight or if they have excess liquid, what I can do is help pump that out and get your lymphatic system going," she says. The sessions also work for athletes, improving recovery time, and for office workers seeking relief from posture problems. Coupled with customized massage sessions, Korman says, "I try to bring a more clinical approach to everything." Korman works by appointment only for now, but she's determining possible future walk-in hours. For more information, call 254-4500 or visit facebook.com/vitalityrichmond . Conte's Concept Bikes are big these days in Richmond, but responding to the city's newfound two-wheeled obsession means Conte's Bike Shop is getting smaller — even as the Tidewater-based chain expands its market presence. "Since we moved [the Broad Street store] four miles west, it creates a large gap for our customers who live in Willow Lawn and the Fan," says Charles Conte, a scion to the company founded 56 years ago. "Coming to Short Pump is a whole 'nother country to them." Thus was born the express concept store. Opened earlier this year in the old Clover Consignment location, the storefront remains a retail shop selling new products, but it's also building its focus around Richmonders' love of the bikes they already own. "These [express stores] are really concentrating on services to the client," says Conte, adding that today's cyclist sees his bike as an investment worthy of the finest maintenance and repairs. "They can buy a bike from us — we have those — but [this shop is] a whole different animal," he says. "We can turn things around a lot quicker here than in our other stores. Since the focus is on services, it really gives [the customer] the upper hand in that category." For more information, call 340-1211 or visit contebikes.com . Aged Wine In human years, Secco remains a toddler, but in bar years this favorite spot for wine aficionados is growing up fast. Celebrating its third anniversary this year, Secco is already displaying its maturing taste with a new menu that offers large- plate options and reinvents its old popular small-plate menu as a sophisticate's version of bar food. The small-plate menu items, says head chef Tim Bereika, are now "more shareable," but they continue to incorporate seasonal ingredients, farmstead cheeses and traditional charcuterie. "[It's] something two or three people can dig their hands into," Bereika says. In some ways, the passing years have been a bit of a Benjamin Button experience for Secco. Born with a menu that drifted with fluency between English, French and Italian, owner Julia Battaglini says the menu has done away with parentheticals and linguistic obstacles. "At its core, nothing has changed," she says. "I just want more people to try us." For more information, call 353-0670 or visit seccowinebar.com. Trendy Tots When Lyn Savedge Page and her business partner Jane Crooks opened their first Carytown women's consignment shop in 2008, they didn't expect their family of boutiques to grow so quickly. But many of the same women who shopped and consigned their clothes at Clementine — and later at Ashby — weren't content to outfit only themselves to the nines. "Apparently, women in Richmond love to dress their kids beautifully," Page says. "We feel very fortunate that we get to work with moms who dress their kids well." So well that when they opened Clover Consignment in 2010 in a modest 750-square-foot space across from Clementine, they outgrew the space nearly as quickly as their customers' kids outgrew pants. When opportunity to buy the new space at 3024 W. Cary St. arose, the partners jumped at it. "We kind of bought a headquarters," she says. The new space houses offices and a combined online business for the three shops. It also leaves room to grow. "In our old space, anyone who shopped there knew we had a lot of inventory in the back because we didn't have the space," Page says. "Now when inventory comes in, it goes on the sales floor. And it changes pretty much every day." For more information, call 355-3517 or visit cloverkids.com .