Once upon a time, a beloved Charlottesville institution lived in a shopping center on Ivy Road. Its name was Tiffany’s Seafood and everyone loved its steamed shrimp very much. One morning, Tiffany’s woke up to find itself being charged an awful lot of rent. Beverly Baber, Tiffany’s owner, had to close down the restaurant on August 20, which made a lot of people very sad because it had been around for at least 30 years.
Here are the new digs of Tiffany’s Seafood. “By far the best seafood in town,” say these loyal patrons.
“Where am I going to live now?” thought Tiffany’s. After searching the seven seas, the restaurant found a new place in Seminole Square. It was longer and narrower than the old location, but with the original Tiffany lamps, furniture and even the bar from the old days, the new spot felt pretty much like home. And Tiffany’s liked the spot’s new carpet, and how clean it was.
On December 1, Tiffany’s opened back up. And everyone lived happily ever after.
Just in time for the holidays, as we reported two weeks ago, the fairly venerable Blue Bird Café suddenly closed its doors. Makes us think of that seasonal ubersong whose first line is “Gone away is the blue bird” and whose second line, if we take it literally, seems to promise some sort of nouveau replacement for the popular W. Main Street brunch spot that first hatched off McIntire Road in the ’80s. You might ask, what replacement is that? But here’s a more pressing question: Why did Blue Bird fly away?
Neither Brent Pye nor Chuck Hancher, partners in the restaurant, are eager to explain what happened: Pye wouldn’t comment and Hancher didn’t return our call. We spoke with Pye back in May, when he’d just hired a new chef to revamp the menu and generally revive the Bird’s appeal. At that time, Pye readily admitted that the Downtown Mall’s burgeoning scene was making it tough to hold onto business–hence the bid for better tastes.
But we’re not convinced that lackluster sales alone killed the Bird. Rather, our theory is that the building’s owner, one Paul Boukourakis, ended the restaurant’s lease for reasons of his own. (How do we know? A little bird told us.) We found no record of a sale; whether the building changes hands or not, we’ll keep our binoculars out for a new bird to roost there—of the culinary breed, we hope.
Ain’t capitalism grand?
Joining a crowded field of chain restaurants in the Hollymead area (between the Rivanna River and Airport Road, there’s already a McDonald’s, an Arby’s, a Blimpie, a T.G.I. Friday’s, a Quiznos, a Starbucks, a Jersey Mike’s Subs and a Panera—ack! Get us to Revolutionary Soup, comrades, and quickly!) are a couple more franchises. Sid and Anjara Tripathi, a husband-and-wife team, opened a Subway on the east side of Seminole Trail in June and are set to open a Dairy Queen right next door in January. (Actually, according to the logo on the building, it’s just “DQ.”)
Sometimes peace does prevail within our system of self-interest. At least so far, there’s been no report of proprietary conflict between Sakura Japanese Steak and Seafood, a small regional chain with a several-month-old branch in said Hollymead, and the one-of-a-kind Sakura sushi bar on 14th Street. Perhaps this is because the similarly-named restaurants actually have fairly different menus.
And sometimes capitalism is just sort of baffling. Witness the apparent entry of Starbucks into the culture-making game: It’s just released the third in a series of CDs that are sold only in Starbucks stores. Restaurantarama does not like coffee giants telling us what music we should listen to, but maybe other people do. If you’re one of them, go listen to the Low Stars and have a macchiato today! (Street cred sold separately.)
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