Overheard on the restaurant scene: This week’s food and drink news


Finger lickin' goodness at Preston Shell. Photo: John Robinson Finger lickin’ goodness at Preston Shell. Photo: John Robinson

Say (mac and) cheese

Are your picky kids going through a macaroni-and-cheese-only phase? If by the end of the day you’re too exhausted for the “but you need to eat something green” fight, pack up the family and head to the Shops at Stonefield for some free macaroni at Noodles & Company. Every Monday through June 16, the noodle chain is giving kids 13 and under a small bowl of Wisconsin mac and cheese for free with any purchase of a regular sized meal.

Paws off at Blue Mountain

Nothing says summertime quite like enjoying a cold beer on a restaurant patio while the pup hangs out at your feet. Dogs are regularly found accompanying their owners, lapping up water, and eyeing the cornhole games at Blue Mountain Brewery during the warmer months, but that’s changing this summer. Newsplex reported that after a customer made a formal complaint after seeing a dog eat off a restaurant plate, the Virginia Department of Health got involved. Last Thursday, the brewery was notified that dogs are no longer allowed on the patio or other areas where food is served. A new outdoor pet-friendly area doesn’t offer table service, but guests can still order beer and food in to-go containers.

In with the new 

After an extensive search and receiving more than 100 applications, Farmington Country Club announced last week that it’s welcoming Michael Matarazzo as the new executive chef. Originally from Bellmore, New York, Matarazzo graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in 2003. He was named captain of the U.S. Regional Culinary Olympic Team in 2006, and his team was the first from the U.S. to win the world championship in Erfurt, Germany, two years later. The new chef will join the team in early June, so keep an eye out for new items on the club’s menu this summer.

Famous BBQ

What’s cooler than seeing one of your favorite local spots on national TV? On Tuesday, June 3, the season premiere of the Cooking Channel’s “Man Fire Food” featured two sandwiches from the BBQ Exchange in Gordonsville. Show host Roger Mooking digs into two sandwiches packed with pulled pork and bacon. If you missed the 8pm airing on Tuesday, tune in again at 6pm on Sunday, June 7.

Playing chicken

Speaking of national spotlights, two traveling foodies went nuts over the Charlottesville area’s gas station fried chicken in a May 23 Daily Beast blog post. “Some of the finest fried chicken we’ve found in the Mid-South is served in the most boring, cookie-cutter chain businesses that look just like a thousand other Citgos, Valeros, and BPs,” raved Jane and Michael Stern, who had particularly high praise for the chicken at the Brownsville Shell station in Crozet, the Preston Avenue Shell station, and “The Chicken Coop” window at the Exxon Mobil station in Lovingston.

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.