Crush to become Tavola

Crush to become Tavola

We knew Michael Keaveny’s purchase of Crush Wineshop in Belmont would be big news. For one, Crush founder Paul Coleman had a very public and much-discussed break-up with business associate Gregg Oxley last year before putting the shop up for sale. Two, Keaveny only recently left a position as director of restaurant operations for the very public and much-discussed Coran Capshaw. We also knew the deal’s details would leak out in fits, spurts and half-truths, but Keaveny promised us an exclusive interview if we kept our traps shut until he legally had the keys, so we obliged and he gave us the goods.

The name Tavola, which is Italian for “table,” came to Michael Keaveny, he says, when he realized, “I don’t have any other hobbies except sitting around a table with family and friends celebrating food and wine.”

The place shall be called Tavola—the Italian word for table—but the full-service restaurant will be more Italian in philosophy than cuisine. Keaveny, who’s Italian by heritage, says he came up with the name when he realized, “I don’t have any other hobbies except sitting around a table with family and friends celebrating food and wine.”

With room for only 37 seats, the focus will be on fresh, high-quality ingredients and a frequently changing menu of simple dishes that Keaveny, former executive chef of Painters Restaurant in Bellport, New York, will prepare himself in an open kitchen—a really open kitchen. Where used to be Crush’s tasting bar, the architects at Formwork (of Ten, Blue Light Grill and enoteca fame) have designed a highly-efficient cooking area with grill, six burners and two pasta burners. Bar seating will surround the prep area, and a few diners will be close enough to tear up from the onion cutting.

Tavola will serve beer and wine, not exclusively Italian, and offer some wine for retail. Forlorn fans of Crush’s popular Friday night tastings can look forward to the possibility of Monday night tastings and other wine events hosted by Megan Headley—former general manager of enoteca.

Keaveny, who as of press time is holding a sale of Crush’s inventory, says he’ll close in about two weeks and re-open as the redesigned Tavola in early May.

Mudhouse on the move

As we reported last week on, Mudhouse is setting up its second true coffeehouse in Crozet at the old site of Uncle Charlie’s, which closed a few months ago. Owner John Lawrence, who called us from the spot in the midst of some seriously loud hammering in the background, tells us renovation of the cavernous venue should be completed and the new coffeehouse opened by early summer.

“This space is large enough so we can host regular tea tastings of our seasonal menus and coffee cuppings of our Black Label single origin and estate coffee,” says Lawrence. The additional square footage also allows for an expanded menu of sweet and savory snacks and regular music “similar to the kinds of acts that played when the space was occupied by Kokopelli’s Cafe,” says Lawrence, who plans to focus on jazz and acoustic acts.

New BBQ on Rose Hill

Kinney and Lee’s BBQ and Catering opened on February 27th across the street from Rose Hill Market, so we were quite surprised to see the “Closed” sign when we went to sample the fare for lunch last week. “We got so rushed, we didn’t have time to turn the sign this morning!” they told us. Kinney and Lee’s has a few seats for dining in and offers take-out meals as well as pork barbeque by the pound and ribs by the rack.