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

Carpe Donut's products will soon be available in 41 Mid-Atlantic Whole Foods Market locations. Photo: Ashley Twiggs Carpe Donut’s products will soon be available in 41 Mid-Atlantic Whole Foods Market locations. Photo: Ashley Twiggs

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.

The restaurant may be new, but the chef behind it certainly isn’t. Yoshihiro Tauchi, a native of the Japanese island Shikoku, has teamed up with his wife and co-chef Yukiko to open Kokoro Japanese Sushi Restaurant, located inside York Place on the Downtown Mall at 112 W. Main St. Since arriving in Charlottesville 14 years ago, Tauchi has hand-crafted fresh sushi behind the counters at Foods of All Nations and Ten. The word “kokoro” is Japanese for “heart,” Tauchi said, and the menu offers classic, authentic Japanese items like tuna, yellowtail, and salmon rolls, in addition to specialty rolls, noodle dishes, and multi-part dinner plates. Currently Kokoro is open Monday through Saturday, 5:30-11pm.

Charlottesville’s favorite donuts are going global! Well, not quite, but they’re expanding to the entire Mid-Atlantic region. Carpe Donut, the local spot that’s been serving up hot, fresh, organically made donuts since 2007, will soon be distributing its products to 41 Whole Foods Market locations on the east coast. The baked treats can already be found in five of Virginia’s Whole Foods, but according to Carpe Donut store manager Charles Owens, that’s been a result of Carpe Donut employees approaching individual stores with the products. Starting on February 1, the shop’s donuts and fro-dos—ice cream sandwiches made with donuts—will be automatic buys at Mid-Atlantic Whole Foods, which means each store has to make shelf space for them. Owens said they’ve already established a new facility where production of donuts and fro-dos will be quadrupled, and the team hopes to soon open a new, larger location where guests can enjoy donuts and coffee with Wi-Fi and more seating.

It’s been several months since Zinc, the upscale restaurant and bar in an old garage at 420 W. Main St., closed its doors. The building has been vacant since June, but Charlottesville newcomer Merope Pavlides and her husband Peter Emch have big plans for the spot. Pavlides—a writer and editor who arrived in Charlottesville six months ago —and her husband are in the process of renovating the building and transforming it into Threepenny Cafe, a restaurant with “casual creative cuisine.” One of the first changes is to install a brick pizza oven, Pavlides said, and the menu will include “moderately priced affordable entrees” like soups, salads, and dishes from everywhere from Spain and Portugal to Greece and Africa. If all goes according to plan, Pavlides said Threepenny will be open for business in February, 2014.

Charlottesville’s pool of frozen yogurt options has gotten a little smaller. Arch’s Frozen Yogurt on Emmet Street closed, and according to a notice posted on the door, is consolidating with the remaining location on the Corner. Arch’s on Ivy Road closed its doors this summer, and the Corner spot has been renovated and converted into a self-serve yogurt shop.