To eat is a treat, to rhyme is divine

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Boy, are we stuffed! What a year it’s been for restaurants. While we said “So long!” to 20 eateries in 2010, we welcomed, by our count, more than 40. Here, in verse, are the goodbyes:

After a year-long wait, Semolina opened in August. The restaurant, from Basil Mediterranean Bistro owner Raif Antar, serves up doughy crust with San Marzano tomato sauce and creamy, fresh mozzarella.

Au revoir, Buddhist Biker Bar. So long, Bel Rio. We’ll miss you, Cassis and you too, Milano. We sure liked Ventana and enoteca was swell. Goodbye, Deuces Lounge—we didn’t know you that well. L’s Burrito & Juice Co. will be sorely missed, and we’re sad to include Arirang on our list. We were surprised to hear Taco Bell had burnt down and shocked when L7 (and Bel Rio) owner Jim Baldi skipped town. Red Lobster moved north, The Upstairs was sold, and Cantina’s concept just never took hold. See ya later, Boston Market and Golden Corral. And, hey, Royal Indian? We’ll miss you, old pal. We thought Zam Zam Kabob was so fun to say and Asia Specialty had a tasty buffet. We’ll finish our rhyme with Brix @ Monticello and, coming up next, to the new spots say, “Hello!”

In nearby counties we welcomed a few:

Paulie’s Pig Out, Patriot’s Place, Tony G’s are all new. So are Bangkok ‘99 and Blue Tavern & Sports Bar. Stonefire Kitchen and Barbeque Exchange aren’t too far. Visit Green House Coffee and Southern Way Café. Both of these spots set up shop in Crozet. 

If it’s pizza you want, try Fry’s Spring or Brixx. The JPA and Barracks Road spots, respectively, give you a fix. It took a whole year but Semolina’s now open—we had been wishin’ and wantin’ and prayin’ and hopin’. Try Sweet Frog for froyo or Baskin Robbins for ice cream; Carpe’s storefront for donuts and Dunkin’ for coffee. Visit Para on the Corner to nab a Charlottesville Cupcake and, nearby, try Sushi Love for goodness’ sake! 

In terms of ethnicities, we welcomed a bunch. Hibachi Grill and Supreme Buffet, maybe King Chef for lunch. Hello to Mykonos and Osaka III. The hot pots at Taste of China are just the bee’s knees. Lil’ Sweden has meatballs, El Jaripeo has guac. Marco & Luca’s new locations (at 29 and the Corner) have dumplings on lock.

We saw a few casual eateries open up: Penne Lane, Downtown Hotdog and The Backyard—tip top! In Belmont, La Taza reopened as Roast and Downtown above Escafé, it’s Brookville we toast. 

While we’ve yet to try Wings Over C’ville or HoneyBaked Ham, we’ve heard Vintage at Willow Grove Inn is the jam. We salute Martha Jefferson’s Terrace Café and tip our hat to Olive’s Grill, just down the way. Roving kitchen The Lunchbox is a business of note and that, dear foodies, is all that she wrote.

Rhyming aside, keep your eyes peeled (and stomachs empty) in 2011 for these soon-to-open spots: The Livery Stable (at 218 W. Water St.), Carlton’s (in the former Boheme and Asia Specialty space), The Pigeon Hole (formerly L7), Atlas Coffee (on Fontaine Avenue) and Peter Chang’s China Grill (in the former Wild Greens spot). 

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