Quite a few eyebrows were raised when the Thomas Jefferson Foundation recently announced that starting this year it will rent out the grounds of Monticello for private events. Not the house itself, but places around the grounds, including the Jefferson Library, the new Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center and Smith Education Center and the Smith Woodland Pavilion. That drunken corporate holiday parties and possible wedding receptions might soil the sanctity of our UNESCO World Heritage Site has some traditionalists around town wondering about the impact of the regime change at the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns and manages the plantation. Leslie Greene Bowman took over as President of the foundation in late 2008 from Daniel P. Jordan, who’d been the chief executive there since 1985. In a report last month, The Daily Progress said that Jordan declined to comment specifically on the new rental policy, but was quoted as saying, “A new administration is in place now. And I wish them well.”
Karen Laetare is diplomatic about her decision to discontinue operations at the Café at Monticello, leaving it at “it was a wonderful learning experience.”
Now, Karen Laetare, owner of Brix Terrace Café on Pantops, tells us equally as graciously that as of May she will not continue to operate the Café at Monticello, because, simply, “It’s a new administration.”
Laetare says the decision to part ways with Monticello was mutual and that her stint “was a wonderful learning experience.” She goes on to explain that the nature of her assignment simply changed in terms of the type of food she was asked to prepare and that she wants to continue in the Brix direction. Though the Café at Monticello was never a branded Brix café, Laetare strove to provide the same level of freshly made sandwiches, paninis, salads, soups and baked goods for which Brix is known.
When her contract with Monticello is up in May, Laetare’s full attention will return to high-quality, gourmet fare Brix-style, both at the restaurant on Pantops, which serves breakfast, lunch and a full-service dinner, and through her catering business. She’s already making some changes at Brix to reinvigorate her Mediterranean-inspired menu as well as to offer less expensive meals for the recession-weary. Many of her lunch items are now available through the dinner hours, and she’s planning to add full-size versions of her Mediterranean individual pizzas. She’s also added savory waffles, a Brix spin on fish tacos and free WiFi. Technically, you can camp out all day from coffee at dawn to dessert at dusk and fulfill all your work and nutrition needs.
We named Laetare as one of our 2007 C-VILLE 20 emerging players for her entrepreneurial success in launching Brix from a funky little corner store on Route 53 in 1999 to a booming catering business and freestanding flagship shop in the Pantops Shopping Center as of 2007. Laetare has since closed the Route 53 location. Right now, she says she’s focusing on continuing to build her Brix brand and make the Pantops location successful. Still, she says her “radar is always on” for additional opportunities or locations.
Chef Ben Thompson fires up his favorite wintertime dishes with Rock Barn and Devils Backbone Brewing Company. Learn how to pair smoked sausage and pork with craft beer and try select brews. Friday 1/23. Free, 5pm. Ivy Provisions, 2206 Ivy Rd. 202-1308.
Life was so simple when there was only one beer festival. Top of the Hops descended on the Pavilion in the fall, you put on your pretzel necklace and tried a bunch of good craft beer you’d never had before. Your liver had 364 days to recover. Then came Know Good Beer (KGB), first held […]
Sweet and savory We’re about to get a new pie shop on the Downtown Mall. And in true Charlottesville fashion, for the academic-turned-pastry-chef behind The Pie Chest, it was a circuitous path that led her here. The ever-changing food scene in this island-of-misfit-toys of a town seems to bring
Set aside for a moment that eating out three times a week is perhaps excessively gluttonous, and come with me on a quick trip. It’ll be like a vacation, but you’ll get to stay right here in Charlottesville. Oh, hey, we could call it a STAYcation! Get it? No one’s ever thought of that before,
Ryan Hubbard and Mark Marshall aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel. The two guys behind Red Hub Food Co., a catering service that recently opened a lunch counter at its 202 10th Street NW location, are serving up classic North Carolina-style barbecue, plain and simple. For them it’s not about
Hello, Lampo For a pizza place that turns out pies in a matter of minutes, we sure had to wait a long time for Lampo, the real deal Neapolitan joint that opened on Monticello Road last month. Loren Mendosa, Ian Redshaw, Mitchell Beerens and Andrew Cole promised a fall opening, and the fellas
It’s resolution season, and a pair of local business owners are hoping to capitalize on the influx of interest in all things healthy that rolls around every January. If all goes according to plan, made-to-order juice bar and health food counter Cville Juice will be open by the end of January.
Sure, we’ve got Coke versus Pepsi, Yankees versus Red Sox, and Apple versus Android. But do any of these really hold a candle to the age-old rivalry between cats and dogs? If their depiction in pop culture is any indication, they’ve been squaring off since the dawn of time. I’m always a bit
Jason Oliver wanted to make Devils Backbone a “brewer’s brewery.” That might seem like a terrible idea. Why would you want to run a brewery that appeals to such a small audience? But in the process of running a brewery that appeals to people like him, Oliver has unwittingly—or perhaps
Inn and out ’Tis the season for accoladed executive chefs to make some big changes, apparently. Not long after Melissa Close-Hart left her 14-year gig at Palladio to strike out on her own in Belmont, her culinary school classmate Tucker Yoder announced his plan to step down from his post as
Food is love. Food is happiness. And, once a year, food inspires us to conjure our inner poet and present to you a list of the year’s openings and closings—entirely in rhyme. It wasn’t a great year for restaurants downtown: Five Guys, El Puerto and Song Song’s, all down. Plus, we said bye to
Explore pioneer life with a variety of multicultural vignettes, a Mummer’s play by the museum’s traditional Irish forge and a horsedrawn carriage ride. Refreshments and live music follow this lantern-lit tour. Through 12/23. $8-15, 6pm. Frontier Culture Museum, 1290 Richmond Rd., Staunton.
If a Major League Baseball pundit were to assess Charlottesville’s roster of chefs, he might compare it to one of those baseball franchises built on players acquired from other teams. Most of Charlottesville’s top restaurants, it seems, are run by chefs who came here from somewhere else. Then
Get an after-hours glimpse of Thomas Jefferson’s iconic Monticello. This hour-long small group tour winds through the historic house to give you an intimate look at 19th century holiday traditions. Through 12/30. $45, 5:30pm. Monticello, 931 Thomas Jefferson Pkwy. 984-9800.
Junction’s function Even chef Melissa Close-Hart seemed surprised when she revealed the concept behind the new Belmont eatery she’s opening with The Local owner Adam Frazier: It’ll be called Junction and serve up modern Mexican with a touch of “cowboy cuisine” thrown in. Close-Hart said she’s
Darden students and Dominican Republic natives team up to create line of Caribbean-inspired juice Why did the Darden students cross the border? To bring back tropical fruits for a new line of local juice, obviously. When Luis Solis took a trip back home to the Dominican Republic earlier this
Get your blood pumping and work off those last lingering Thanksgiving calories with a brisk run at the Holiday Classic 5K. This annual course, beginning at the East Walk of Monticello and ending at the Thomas Jefferson Vistor Center, supports trail preservation. The under-12 crowd can get in on
Café Cubano buyers show Grit What’s in a name? The group that bought Café Cubano last year is hoping not all that much. Eric Kelley, who’s owned and operated Para Coffee since 2008, and new partners Brad Uhl and Brandon Wooten are changing the name of the Downtown Mall breakfast bites and
The closure of specialty seafood seller Anderson’s Carriage Food House last month probably didn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’d been in the store over the past several years. It didn’t take an engineer to see the building was in a state of severe disrepair. But there were things you wanted
Deck the halls with a Wa-hoo-wa as UVA’s historic Lawn illuminates in anticipation of the holiday season. Seasonal music accompanies this wintertime tradition setting Jefferson’s iconic Rotunda a-twinkling. Thursday 12/4. Free, 7pm. The Lawn, UVA. 924-0311.