Overheard on the restaurant scene: New pizza spot, Clifton dinner, and wine on tap

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File photo. File photo.

New pizza joint in the making 

Did you know that “Neapolitan” is not just a type of ice cream? Turns out it’s also a regulated, highly-structured way of making pizza, and it’s coming to Charlottesville. Tavola sous chef Loren Mendosa just announced the plans for Lampo, a Neapolitan pizzeria that he and a team of three others in the local food scene are in the process of opening. Mendosa, Ian Redshaw and Andrew Cole from tavola, and former Mas cook Mitchell Beerens have teamed up on the effort, and plan to open the 24-seat restaurant in The Farm Cville’s spot on Monticello Road near Spudnuts. 

The Charlottesville area certainly isn’t lacking in pizza options, but Mendosa said Neapolitan pizzerias are regulated by strict guidelines. The Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana (The True Neapolitan Pizza Association) sends inspectors to check out the ovens, crusts can only include flour, yeast, water, and salt, and the pizzas bake for less than 90 seconds. 

“You have to figure out how to add flavor through the technique and process,” Mendosa said. “It’s kind of cool, because you have to figure out how to be creative within the limitations. It really forces you to study and learn everything there is to know about the process before you can really produce a decent product.” 

The restaurant has been in the making for about a year, and Mendosa said he and the team are aiming for a fall opening. 

Wining and dining 

On Tuesday, July 29, the Clifton Inn will welcome an all-star cast of Richmond’s top chefs for its Chefs in the Garden series. Lee Gregory of The Roosevelt has been a James Beard semi-finalist for best chef in the Mid-Adlantic each of the last two years, and Caleb Shriver and Phillip Perrow of Dutch & Co. were recently named among the best new chefs in the Mid-Atlantic by Food & Wine magazine. Cocktails and canapes on the lawn begin at 6pm, followed by a six-course, southern-inspired meal prepared by Tucker Yoder at 7pm. Spots are $88 per person, and $150 per person with wine pairings. Call 971-1800 for reservations. 

 Wine on tap 

Craft beer on tap is becoming increasingly more trendy at restaurants and bars across the country, but what about wine? Tap26, a startup based in Ashland, is trying to get wine lovers to ditch the glass bottles and go the keg route when it comes to the fruitier libations. The company buys wine by the keg—which holds 26 bottles—from winemakers and sells it to restaurants and bars. Blenheim Vineyards is one of the first wineries in the area to begin kegging their wines through Tap26’s Virginia on Draft barrel program, which is more environmentally sound, and allows the wine to be served at a lower price point. Blenheim’s wines are already on tap at Parallel 38, and will soon be available on draft at The Roosevelt in Richmond.  

We’re always keeping our eyes and ears out for the latest news on Charlottesville’s food and drink scene, so pick up a paper and check c-ville.com/living each week for the latest Small Bites. Have a scoop for Small Bites? E-mail us at bites@c-ville.com. 

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