Para Coffee buys Café Cubano, and other restaurant news


Café con leche from Café Cubano. Staff photo Café con leche from Café Cubano. Staff photo

Two coffee shops become one

Last week, the owners of Para Coffee, the homey coffee shop tucked away on Elliewood Avenue where UVA students and professors camp out for hours with lattes and textbooks, announced that they’ve purchased Café Cubano on the Downtown Mall.

Para owners Eric Kelley, Brad Uhl, and Brandon Wooten, who founded the Corner spot in 2008, said they’ve been looking for a second location for several months and jumped on the opportunity to buy Café Cubano from owner Tony Jorge.

“The vibe Tony has created is a great complement to our Corner location,” Kelley said. “We think the Cubano menu will help drive our vision for Para forward.”

The ownership team plans to make some changes to both locations in the coming months, so they’ll match in materials and aesthetic. The Corner location doesn’t have a kitchen, but Kelley said the downtown location will continue to serve the breakfast and lunch menu that has made Café Cubano so popular. They’ll slowly phase in the updates to the space, but nothing major for at least a few months.

“We’re hoping to get feedback from the many loyal regulars and staff as to what improvements they’d like to see and let that drive much of the special changes,” Kelley said.

Local chefs prepare for Edible Food Fest

For the third year in a row, Orange County is preparing for its annual
Edible Food Fest, an event that will showcase some of the region’s top dogs in the food world. The day-long downtown event on Saturday, August 9, will feature demonstrations by chefs and authors, plus dozens of vendors selling everything from hickory syrup and kombucha to grass-fed meats and handmade jams. Presenters will include Sully Carter, with a talk on backyard beekeeping and Harvey Ussery on raising chickens. Guest chefs will include BBQ Exchange’s Craig Hartman, Alley Light’s Will Richey, Charlottesville Cooking School’s Martha Stafford, and Hamiltons’ Curtis Shaver. 

The Edna Lewis Dining court will offer a variety of local treats, with local favorites like Blue Ridge Pizza, South Fork Food Truck, The Pie Guy, and Carpe Donut on hand. And if a day’s worth of grub isn’t enough for you, several local artists will be on stage performing live music all day.

Tickets will be available at the gate for $7, and children under 12 get in free.

Say cheese 

Cheese-making doesn’t have to be just for the experts. We’re surrounded by local farms here in Central Virginia, and one of them wants you to come on out and learn a few tricks of the trade. On Saturday, July 26, join Bellair Farm’s Kyle Kilduff for a hands-on lesson about all things cheese. He’ll discuss the history of Fromage Frais and Chèvre, and the differences between cow, sheep, and goat milk in cheeses. Then he’ll walk you through the steps to make it in your own kitchen. The cost is $25 for adults and $5 for kids.

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 each week for the latest Small Bites. Have a scoop for Small Bites? E-mail us at