Grit opens fourth location; Snowing in Space coming to West Main

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Grit Coffee opened its fourth location last week at The Shops at Stonefield. Photo by Eze Amos Grit Coffee opened its fourth location last week at The Shops at Stonefield. Photo by Eze Amos

Snowing in Space Coffee Co., a local nitro coffee business that’s been serving up thick, creamy, Guinness-like (but not alcoholic) nitro coffee on tap at several locations around town, will soon take over the old C’Ville-ian Brewing Co. space at 705 W. Main St.

Snowing in Space co-owner Paul Dierkes says he signed the lease only recently, and plans to open a coffee concept on West Main—where there isn’t really another shop dedicated to just coffee—in early 2017.

Currently, Snowing in Space coffee—in flavors such as the nutty Gimme-Dat, the blueberry Lil Blue and the peppermint, green tea and coffee blend Ninjabrain—can be found at Paradox Pastry, Keevil & Keevil and The Local, and in some hip local offices like WillowTree Apps.

Dierkes is particularly excited about the collaboration opportunities the new location affords. Snowing in Space has worked on special brews with Trager Brothers Coffee and Lamplighter Coffee Roasters in Richmond, and they’ve also collaborated with Virginia Distillery Co.

Another jolt

Grit Coffee Bar and Café opened its fourth location last week at The Shops at Stonefield. Baristas at the newest Grit will sling the same locally roasted coffee and espresso drinks as the other three locations, but they’ll have a few special-to-Stonefield options, such as nitro cold-brew coffee and, by early 2017, beer, wine and cocktails. Grit co-founder Brandon Wooten says the Stonefield Grit has a “10-tap draft system that will include a rotating selection of harder-to-find craft beers, ciders and wines.” The cocktail menu isn’t finalized yet, but Wooten says it will be focused on “unique drinks perfect for enjoying before or after dinner.” Customers can expect a few classic cocktails, but most of the drinks will be “built around bitter notes meant to give a subtle nod to coffee” and pair well with a new rotating dessert menu. Some cocktails will have an espresso or cold-brew coffee base, and others will utilize liqueurs and potable bitters.

But it’s not all drinks and dessert: Grit will offer build-your-own breakfast sandwiches, Cuban sandwiches, empanadas, savory small plates and grab-and-go options as well.

The Alley Light welcomes new chef

Brian Jones, who’s perhaps best known around Charlottesville as Petit Pois’ opening chef, has left his most recent post at Fifth Street Station’s Timberwood Tap House for a new gig: He’ll be cooking at The Alley Light.

At The Alley Light, Jones will help co-owner and executive chef Robin McDaniel cook the extensive Alley Light menu and contribute dishes to the specials board.

McDaniel and her husband, Alley Light co-owner and general manager Chris Dunbar, previously worked with Jones at both Petit Pois and Fleurie, and the three are glad to be working together again. Jones is “a great presence [in the kitchen],” Dunbar says. “He’s very organized, very detail-oriented, creative.”

The decision to leave Timberwood wasn’t an easy one for Jones—he says he enjoyed getting to know the owners and the kitchen staff during his six months with the restaurant, and it was a joy to watch Timberwood open in October. But, ultimately, Jones says, kitchen management wasn’t his thing. He missed cooking. “I was ready for the challenge of managing, but my heart still wanted to be behind the range with a towel in one hand and a spoon in the other, cooking great food, using the highest quality ingredients thoughtfully prepared and executed with great technique,” he says.

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