Richmond Times-Dispatch / Dining Out Review, Dana Craig

Your great-aunt used to rave about your culinary experiments, so you must be destined to cook for a living. You worked at a chain restaurant for a month in high school, so you totally have service-industry experience. You love talking to people, so why not do it from behind a bar?

No, these are not the reasons to open a restaurant.

But what if you believe seasonal ingredients should come from the region’s best purveyors? And that food should be complemented by handcrafted cocktails, artisan wines and locally brewed beer? Better yet, maybe you’ve traveled extensively in Baja California and southern Italy, taking detailed notes on the people, flavors and spaces you encountered.

These, dear readers, are reasons to open a restaurant.

Within moments of entering the new Tazza Kitchen in Short Pump, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

The brainchild of principals Jeff Grant (founder of Café Caturra, which Tazza took over), John Davenport and John Haggai, all of whom hold the aforementioned values and travel experience, Tazza Kitchen is a collection of sights, sounds and smells to behold.

Seamlessly integrating indoor and outdoor dining spaces, Tazza’s sleek yet warm design is centered on a custom wood-burning oven imported from Naples and an elegantly arching concrete bar. Here, a range of guests can be found sipping classic cocktails with a twist ($9 each) or one of several Virginia-brewed beers.

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