The Hole shebang

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It’s kind of like something out of It Could Happen To You, the movie with Nicolas Cage and Bridget Fonda in which a cop promises to split his not-yet-won lottery winnings with a diner waitress. Except, in our local version, Nicolas Cage would have split soon after the waitress inherited her piece of the prize.

L7—once owned by Jim Baldi before he sold it and skipped town—will soon become The Pigeon Hole, an all-day breakfast restaurant owned by L7’s former manager, Lex Gibson.

Such is the story of Charlottesville native Lex Gibson, the new owner of Jim Baldi’s former Elliewood Avenue restaurant, L7. Says Gibson, Baldi—who a few weeks ago abandoned his controversial Belmont restaurant Bel Rio and left town—made her an offer she couldn’t refuse. (She wouldn’t say exactly what that offer was, but when Restaurantarama asked if she’d paid a rumored $1, she said simply: “It was too good of an opportunity to pass up.”) Starting sometime mid- to late-August, L7 (formerly Cantina, which was formerly Martha’s Cafe) will be The Pigeon Hole, an all-day breakfast joint with the soul of Martha’s and the funk of L7 itself. 

Gibson, who’d been managing the Corner restaurant and instituting some changes to it on her own, hopes to create a space that “makes me really happy to be in.” She hopes customers will be happy to be there too, of course, which is why she’s changing the menu (“Asian fusion never made any sense to me,” she says), adding some fun events (she’s already instituted BINGO and movie trivia nights) and toying with the idea of selling craft beer and wine on and off premises (“I’m a big beer nerd,” she tells us). 

Those are lofty plans for someone who’s been drinking legally for only three years. But the 24-year-old says she’s up to the challenge, having worked in the restaurant industry since she was 14. Plus, “I’m very bossy and I get things done.” Says the new restaurant owner, she’s “pleased as punch” to have this new opportunity. 

Missing in action

More details surface this week in the case of missing restauranteur Jim Baldi. More on that in a report here.

Miyako news

This just in from Downtown Japanese eatery Miyako: The York Place restaurant will soon serve lunch. Last week, Restaurantarama sat down with General Manager Clinton Beck and Chef Manabu Imai, who say the lunch offerings will be in the style of donburi, a rice bowl dish served with everything from teriyaki to raw fish. Prices will range from $6.95 to $11.95, with service slated to begin in a few weeks.

The search is on

Restaurantarama checked in with Keswick General Manager Matthias Smith on the subject of former Fossett’s chef Craig Hartman’s replacement. They’re looking, they’re looking! They’ve spoken to a few chefs in Virginia, but Smith says they’ve also found some candidates as far away as New York and California. 

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