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

SMALL BITES

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Black Jack’s Mobile Soul Food Kitchen can be found on East High Street during weekday lunch hours, and across from Tonsler Park on Cherry Avenue every evening for dinner except Sunday. Staff photo. Black Jack’s Mobile Soul Food Kitchen can be found on East High Street during weekday lunch hours, and across from Tonsler Park on Cherry Avenue every evening for dinner except Sunday. Staff photo.

We’re always keeping our eyes and ears out for the latest news in 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.

There’s a new food truck in town, and it’s serving up good ol’ Southern cuisine. Black Jack’s Mobile Soul Food Kitchen can be found at East High Street during weekday lunch hours, and across from Tonsler Park on Cherry Avenue for dinner every evening except Sunday. The menu covers everything from steak and cheese sandwiches and hot dogs to mac and cheese and collard greens, and you can’t beat the price of the lunch platters starting at $6. Owners Lemar and Kieren Brown said starting a food truck just made sense—with a longtime Aberdeen Barn chef and fried chicken king Mike Brown in the family, they’ve been around soul food their whole lives. The most popular item on the menu by far is the lightly battered tilapia, crispy around the edges and served with a side of tartar sauce. And make sure you try the cornbread. It tastes like cake.

Cocktails are coming to tavola! The rustic Italian restaurant in Belmont is opening up a cicchetti bar in January 2014, where guests can enjoy a full list of wine, beer, top-shelf liquor, and favorites from the antipasti menu while waiting for a table. Owners Michael and Tami Keaveny are also expanding the restaurant to include a new private party space in addition to the original nine-table restaurant, which will be available to book for special events as early as this December. To make reservations for a holiday party or private event, call 972-9463 or e-mail info@tavolavino.com.

Charlottesville has a new item to add to its list of superlatives. The Daily Meal recently released its 2013 list of America’s best small towns for food, and Charlottesville beat out 10 other towns like Tarrytown, New York, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and Boulder, Colorado for the No. 1 spot. The feature named Brookville, Mas, and Tempo as some of the top farm-to-table choices around.

Just in time for the colder months, Starr Hill Brewery is rolling out a new seasonal beer that is sure to warm you up, the Snow Blind Doppelbock Lager. The full-bodied German-style lager is brewed with Pilsner, Munich, and Carafa malts, and at 7.4 percent alcohol by volume, it’s sure to keep you nice and toasty. Starr Hill founder and master brewer Mark Thompson described the new beer as heavy and malty, and said no winter is complete without enjoying “a well-made doppelbock by the fireplace.” Snow Blind hit the shelves earlier this month, and will be available through January.

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