For Foods, a new station


When Karen Laetare, owner of Brix Terrace Café, told us in January that she was planning to end her stint with the Café at Monticello come spring, she boiled down her time there to a “wonderful learning experience.” And now that her time there has been cut even shorter—as Foods of All Nations recently acquired the contract to set up shop—she still says the same. “It’s bittersweet,” she says. “It taught me a valuable lesson on how to combine my business with other mega business.” Laetare was bought out for the remainder of her term, which would have ended in May. 

Thomas Jefferson Foundation Vice President Vicki Jones says the Café is currently in a “transition phase,” but offers enough to serve visitors lunch, coffee and, she says, “even some dessert.” 

While it was a very sudden termination of her time there, Thomas Jefferson Foundation Vice President and CFO Vicki Jones says the decision was mutually agreed upon. She tells us there were several interested parties looking to nab the contract, but that Foods ultimately won out on account of its fresh and interesting selections. “Their food allows for visitors [to Monticello] to eat here or take it with them,” she says.

The store opened Monday morning and Jones says they’re still in a transition phase. Offerings are limited, but, she says, “You can eat lunch, get some coffee, have a snack and even some dessert!” 

And what will Laetare do with the free time? Sleep. “I’ve worked 15 days in a row. I’m taking tomorrow off to rest,” she tells us. After that, she plans to focus on her Pantops café and says she has “other irons in the fire.”

More on Milano


Not so fast, coffee fiends! Turns out, Milano may not close after all. Owner Mark Cave tells us the South Street coffee shop currently has three parties interested in buying the business. “We’re in a discussion phase at this point,” he says. And while Cave hopes Milano stays open, he tells Restaurantarama that, right now, it’s 50/50. 

And what of his role in the business, if it’s sold? “I may stay on in an advisory capacity,” he says, “but all that is yet to be determined.” 

Go ahead and wine


Here’s more proof that Virginia is for wine lovers: Beginning March 22, more than 100 restaurants and wine shops across the state will participate in the first-ever Virginia Wine Week. 

Sponsored by the Virginia Wine Association, the event means you can expect to find at least two Virginia wines—sold by the glass—on the menus and shelves of each participating restaurant and shop. The VWA says via press release that the event “is an exciting new partnership to expand local wine offerings in our restaurants and shops.” We’ll cheers to that!

To find out which restaurants in our area are participating, visit

Chang Watch: Week Two

The elusive Taste of China chef Peter Chang has done it again, and we’re not talking disappeared. He’s actually appeared, this time in Oxford American magazine as the object of writer (and devoted Changian) Todd Kliman’s culinary affections. Last week we mentioned Chang’s appearance in The New Yorker, and this week, Kliman recounts his own long history of following the chef and the many restaurants he’s started. You can find the OA article at, but don’t waste too much time reading it—Chang is famous for fleeing quicker than you can say “hot pot.”

Link to Zinc

As Vu Nguyen told Restaurantarama a few weeks ago via e-mail, “Zinc blog lives!” The West Main bistro makes near-daily updates about the progress of chef Jarrett Freeman’s farm and the restaurant’s renovations to its front patio. Particularly interesting, though, is the rundown on Doobie and Mr. Wiggles, two Durocs destined to be your dinner come June. This ain’t no pig in a poke! Visit for more.