Restaurantarama



Sweet prize

Sweet prize

Restaurantarama might spend a lot of time tagging along with restaurateurs, but that doesn’t mean we actually know what it takes to open an eatery. Of the health inspections, liquor license applications, flatware choices and menu-related agonizing, we have only secondhand knowledge. Joanna Yoakam, though, has been there, and she wants to spare someone else […]

Thai trip

Thai trip

That would be the trip we just took over to Carlton Avenue, where we scouted out the leading edge of the outer-Belmont dining scene. There, we were part of the very first lunch

Upstairs, downstairs

Upstairs, downstairs

The guy’s nothing if not ambitious. As we reported several weeks ago, Alejandro Montiel, already piloting a successful ship in Crozet (La Cocina del Sol, that is), took over the former Rococo’s space on Commonwealth Avenue last year. And is he turning it into a restaurant? No, he’s turning it into two restaurants. Restaurantarama recently […]

Climb every mountain

Climb every mountain

Social climbing is generally considered an unsavory affair, but what Karen Laetare is up to is more like mountain-hopping—somehow more palatable. For eight years, she’s been running Brix Marketplace in a funky old building that sits on a curve of Route 53, between Monticello and Jefferson Vineyards. That’s an elevated spot, but a fickle one […]

Back in brick

Back in brick

Guess what we saw last Tuesday when we were strolling down the Mall? Why, the newly reopened doors of The Nook. Being devoted correspondents—as well as hungry for lunch—we marched right in and asked for a table.

Name that spoon

Name that spoon

The last year has been a turbulent one on the W. Main Street corridor, and we blame the stormy weather there for the fact that our metaphors are all mixed up. One longtime fixture bit the dust (Blue Bird Café) while another rose from the ashes (Blue Moon Diner). In the Main Street Market a […]

Northward found

Northward found

So, given much thought to Ruckersville lately? Yeah, neither have we. The place feels like a distant and, well, trafficky universe north of the airport on Route 29N. But, despite our perhaps unfair lack of attention, Ruckersville does in fact have a restaurant scene, which appears to be expanding. We caught wind of two late […]

Take a side

Take a side

Quick: Hoos or Hokies? If you’re the type who has a deeply considered and passionate response to this question, Restaurantarama has A) nothing in common with you, and B) just the restaurant for you. Seriously—we are not a sports person. Blame it on one too many withering glances from not-at-all-well-meaning jocks in our high school […]

Smokin’ Belmont

Smokin’ Belmont

Slowly but surely, the separate universe that is Belmont is earning its stripes as a dining destination. It’s worth a trip across the bridge to the town-within-a-town for brunch at Mas or lunch at La Taza, and soon you’ll have another reason to make the journey (or, if you live in Belmont, to cheer): a […]

Carpe diem

Carpe diem

Most of the time, we at Restaurantarama are privy to would-be restaurateurs’ solemn oaths that they will be opening their new eateries “in late spring”—which means August—or that they’re “just waiting on the health inspector”—which means that the kitchen equipment will be delivered sometime next month.

Bean cart district expands

Bean cart district expands

An odd sight popped up on the Downtown Mall during the last week of December. Right next door to Chaps, where a long-established coffee cart known as Java Hut sits outside the ice-cream parlor, Sal’s Caffe Italia opened its own coffee cart. There they were, looking like Tweedledee and Tweedledecaf. Whispered rumors of a feud […]

Latecomers’ ball

Latecomers’ ball

In last week’s rundown of all the restaurants around town that closed or opened in 2006, there were a few surprises. “Otto’s?” you might have been forgiven for thinking as you scanned the list. Or, “What the heck is McGrady’s Irish Pub?”

Happy food year

Happy food year

Whew! What a ride! If you’ve been reading this column for the last 52 weeks, you know that your trusty Restaurantarama has been kept hopping by the many comings and goings in the fast ’n’ furious world that is Charlottesville dining. For a little burg that a lot of people up in Poughkeepsie have never […]

Fish tale

Fish tale

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 […]

High-water mark

High-water mark

It’s not easy running a restaurant in Scottsville, but that doesn’t stop people from trying. We’ve been keeping tabs throughout the year on the culinary comings and goings down there, and it’s practically a full-time job given the nearly 100 percent turnover the little town’s eateries have undergone in the past 12 months. And now, […]

"Warhol's factory with coffee and computers"

"Warhol's factory with coffee and computers"

Derek Breen has no shortage of snappy descriptions for the business he plans to open in January in a blue house on Elliewood Avenue. There's the phrase that headlines this column—a come-hither to artsy, collaboration-minded patrons. There's his metaphor "MySpace live,"

Squeeze me

Squeeze me

Correction Appended There used to be an honest-to-god juice bar in town, called Liquid, and when it closed almost exactly three years ago it left a giant smoothie-shaped hole in the local scene. (As anyone who’s ever visited that spot’s current tenant, Atomic Burrito, can tell you, wheat grass is no longer in the house.) […]

More of a good thing

We like the fact that our little town has a reputation for good dining and dedicated diners, because that reputation attracts still more promising restaurants. Whatever’s the opposite of a vicious cycle—a kindly cycle?—this is it. Case in point: Lemongrass, a Thai and Vietnamese place soon to open on the Corner, will be run by […]

Eats on High

Eats on High

Out on E. High Street is a bit of a haven for the home-cooking aficionado. You’ve got Jak’n’Jil, Riverside Lunch and, just across Route 250, the old-fashioned ice-cream stand Chandler’s. Dining-wise, the neighborhood stands in sharp contrast to the more uppity mores of Downtown, as well as the Corner’s frothy scene. Until the beginning of […]

Little, more

Little, more

Little, moreLately, Restaurantarama has noticed a growing interest in the smaller plate. Waning is the era when you’d dig into a platter piled with a pound or more of one entreé. Now—at least at your more trend-conscious eateries—it’s more likely that you’ll order at least two dishes, maybe more, and that they’ll be served in […]

Wir sprechen bier

Wir sprechen bier

Achtung!  Todd Debarba, Alexander Hans Radziwill Debarba and Nicole Radziwill took top honors for their getups at Ludwig’s on Saturday. When Restaurantarama picked up our copy of C-VILLE last week, we were shocked. Apparently, some other “writers” in this office think they have the right to “cover” food and drink. We refer, of course, to […]

No Way, Jose!

No Way, Jose!

The gourmet lunch spot and wine shop Ciboulette has always had a mixed reputation: great food, erratic service. (Both these qualities were widely attributed to the shop’s owner, Jose De Brito, who is described on one local blog as having “kind of a tart personality.”) Now the prominent Main Street Market space will start with […]