While the Main Street Market does have many virtues (including a fine array of purplish hues on its exterior and a preponderance of top-quality foods), it is not exactly known for affordability. I mean, you could drop $5 on a tomato in that place, easy. So we were pleasantly surprised to get a look at the new no-frills lunch menu that Seafood @ West Main, the Market’s fish shop, recently started serving. Among other bargains, the menu includes a blackened fish po’boy for less than $6! Forgive the exclamation point, but in your more upscale pockets of the Charlottesville dining scene, this counts as an absolute steal.
“One of the philosophies of our business is try to make seafood accessible to people, and affordable,” says owner Chris Arseneault, who—like any good restaurateur—also waxes enthusiastic about the freshness of his fish. The finned and clawed goodies arrive at West Main after traveling through only one middleman between the fishermen and Arseneault (who, once upon a time, was a commercial fisherman himself, in central California). “We buy directly from points from Louisiana to Prince Edward Island, Canada, and all points in between,” he says.
And now some of that fish, rather than going home with customers to be baked or fried in their kitchens, winds up in a crab salad sandwich or a salmon cake basket. Arseneault has installed a second counter for lunch service across from his original retail spot, and he’s tapped Dave Ganoe as his chef. It’s lunch only, and only for takeout, but Arseneault says someday a more formal, sit-down seafood restaurant may take shape under his watch. In the meantime, it’s fried oysters for all.
As previously reported elsewhere in C-VILLE, Eppie’s on the Downtown Mall experienced a series of unfortunate events on the evening of July 30. First, according to owner Dan Epstein, his brother and partner Charles took some rags to the laundromat. When they came out of the dryer, they went into a bag and then into the restaurant, where Charles spent an hour or so before leaving. Sometime after this, the rags…spontaneously combusted.
It’s because of this highly unlikely accident that Eppie’s has taken some time off to repair the restaurant’s front door and hardwood floor. Johnny Cash-style, “there’s a ring of fire” visible on the floor, says Dan Epstein. Luckily, though, equipment and infrastructure escaped damage, and, even more importantly, no one was hurt. Epstein praises the fire department for their blazing alacrity. “From the time the fire department got the call,” he says, “they had it out in eight minutes. I can’t even get across town in eight minutes.” He guesses that by the time you read this, Eppie’s will be reopened.
Insert yogurt here
There used to be a Donut Connection on Emmet Street, just north of the Arby’s. And now there’s a big field of gravel in that spot. And someday, there will be yogurt. It will be frozen; and it will be known as Arch’s.
The successful local treatery (which earned runner-up status in both the Dessert and Frozen Treat categories of this year’s “Best Of C-VILLE” contest—see pages 61 and 63!) already has stores on Route 250W and the Corner. Though owners Rob and Sandy Archer didn’t return our calls by press time, an employee at the Corner location confirmed that they do indeed plan to open a third yogurt outlet on Route 29N. With a Ben & Jerry’s nearby in Barracks Road Shopping Center, this looks to us like an impending battle of two opposing frozen-treat camps: the impossibly rich versus the sensibly tasty.
For now, though, it’s just a field of gravel.