Overheard on the restaurant scene: This month’s Sandwich Lab, Red Pump opening, and White Hall’s birthday

Last month's Sandwich Lab creation: Wagyu corned beef brisket with truffle fries, cambozola cheese, “comeback” sauce, and pickled ramps on grilled rye. Staff photo. Last month’s Sandwich Lab creation: Wagyu corned beef brisket with truffle fries, cambozola cheese, “comeback” sauce, and pickled ramps on grilled rye. Staff photo.

Sandwich Lab: Get it before it’s gone

It’s about that time again. The guys at Hamiltons’ at First & Main have been tinkering in the kitchen with everything you could possibly imagine going between two slices of bread, and have come up with the third installment of the Sandwich Lab project. The chef-driven endeavor features a limited number of a specialty sandwich one Wednesday a month, and each $7 sandwich is made with local ingredients and must be ordered in advance. 

This month’s concoction, which will be available on Wednesday, June 25, features citrus duck confit with local beet relish, Caromont Farms goat cheese, local arugula, and crispy wasabi onions on a kaiser roll, served with a side of truffled popcorn. You’ve got to order them in advance, and they go pretty quickly, but keep an eye on the Sandwich Lab Facebook page and call 925-6649 to reserve yours.  

Red Pump Kitchen prepares for its Downtown debut 

Been wondering what’s going on behind the temporary walls around the old Positively 4th Street location? Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards owners Dean Andrews and Lynn Easton Andrews and their crew have been overhauling the restaurant space in preparation for the June 24* opening of Red Pump Kitchen.

“It’s Virginia meets Tuscany,” said Dean Andrews, noting that the menu will feature authentic Italian cuisine made with as many local products as they can source. 

The owners recruited longtime chef Todd Grieger, who’s been in the food industry since he was 16 and has hopped around Charlottesville’s food scene over the years, making a name for himself in the kitchens of Palladio Restaurant, Glas Haus, Maya, and Mas. The menu will include wood-fired pizzas, handmade pastas, fresh, daily-baked bread, and entrees like bistecca alla fiorentina.

“We’re really putting the emphasis on flavors, not presentation,” Grieger said. “In Tuscany, you’d walk to the market, buy whatever you can, cook it, and eat it. What’s there is what they eat. It’s not too frilly or frufru.”

Happy birthday, White Hall 

It’s been 20 years since White Hall Vineyards opened its doors for business, and it’s time to celebrate. On Saturday, June 21—which also happens to be the summer solstice—White Hall will host a lavish five-course dinner prepared by chef Bill Curtis of Tastings of Charlottesville. On the menu are sliced yellow beets with bouche de poitou chevre, grilled jumbo scallops, boneless oak grilled quail breast, sliced petit tenderloin, and chocolate mousse. 

Each course will be paired with one of White Hall’s wines, and the Tara Mills Band will provide live entertainment during the event. The cocktail hour beginning at 6:30pm will feature some special guests—three owls from the Wildlife Center of Virginia. The birds may be the only ones passing on the wine, but they’ll hang out on a stable perch with volunteer Bill Sykes, who will be on hand to answer questions about the rescue raptors. Tickets are $125 per person, which includes tax and gratuity, and all the proceeds will go to the Wildlife Center of Virginia. To reserve your seats ahead of time, visit www.whitehallvineyards.com/events.php.

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. 

*A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Red Pump will open to the public on June 19.