For the last four years, the husband and wife owners of the Cavalier Diner, which opened as of February 1 in the old Sam’s Kitchen spot, spent their time sitting on a beach in Athens, Greece. Veterans of the Charlottesville restaurant industry, the Greek couple had sold a local establishment they’d owned for 20 years and retired to the homeland, presumably for the rest of their lives. (Because of a noncompetition provision related to that sale, we can’t divulge the names of the previously owned establishment or the couple, so we’ll just call them Mr. and Mrs. Cav.)
Life and work: The owners of the new Cavalier Diner became restaurateurs again after finding a cushy retirement in Athens, Greece, boring.
While sunbathing along the Mediterranean seems like a good gig to us, Mrs. Cav says, “My husband couldn’t stand it anymore.”
Seems you can take the restaurateur out of the restaurant but you can’t take the restaurant out of the…blah blah, you get it. Mr. Cav was bored silly.
“It was either buy a restaurant or hire a psychiatrist. Buying a restaurant was cheaper!” says Mrs. Cav.
The Cavs were good friends with Sam of Sam’s Kitchen, so when the latter was ready to retire, they were ready to step back into the food fray.
Fans of Sam’s circa Sam will be pleased to know the Cavalier Diner continues to serve all-day breakfast. Fans of Mr. and Mrs. Cav (you probably know who you are) will be happy to know their new menu includes familiar salads, subs and Italian-American pasta dinners and dishes such as manicotti, stuffed shells and cannelloni, all with homemade sauces. As for Greek influences, the menu includes a gyro and a Greek salad.
Restaurantarama knows several readers have been wondering why this town doesn’t have a fully fledged Greek restaurant, so with a fully fledged Greek before us we asked why the Cavs have never opened such a place.
“Most Greek cuisine doesn’t have a long enough shelf life,” Mrs. Cav tells us. “It breaks down too easily. Some people might sell it after that, but my husband and I won’t.”
Last week, we reported that the Kluge Estate Farm Shop’s kitchen had closed. Not a huge deal. Though you can’t get a decadent quiche anymore, the place still sells lovely snacks for you to nibble while you taste and buy Kluge’s award-winning wines. Apparently, however, some of you misread the column to say the whole Farm Shop had closed. Just the kitchen, people! We asked Kluge’s PR contact Kristin Moses Murray for more scoop. Says Murray: “The Farm Shop is a retail wine shop. It was never intended to be a restaurant. We’ve been in the business a while now and we listened to the comments. What always did well and what has been the most requested thing is the cheese.” And you can still get your fancy cheese and wine at the Farm Shop people! And we know and you know that that’s a meal in itself.
Crush to become…
…something else soon. Paul Coleman, owner of the retail wine shop in Belmont, confirmed to us that the place has been for sale for a while and that a deal to turn it into a restaurant with a retail wine component is close to being finalized. We happened to know a few more details about the new owner and concept, but we’ve been sworn to secrecy pending all the pesky paperwork. We’ll give you the full story as soon as the ink is dry.