Derek Mansfield and Courtenay Tyler know that shopping for the perfect wine and cheese can be tough. They’re hoping to take the intimidation factor down a few notches, though, with Tilman’s, their cheese shop and wine bar that opened last week on the Downtown Mall.
Mansfield and Tyler met while working at Relay Foods, and as the company wound down in preparation for its merger with Door to Door Organics earlier this year, the two colleagues started talking about what it would be like to hang their own shingle here in Charlottesville. Tilman’s, named for the popular department store that occupied the building in the 1930s, is the result of those conversations and months of planning.
Wine, cheese and charcuterie are the focus at Tilman’s, which offers a variety of composed cheese and charcuterie boards available to eat at the marble-topped bar, perhaps with one of the nine wines offered by the glass or a pint of beer on tap. Customers can sample a cheese before they buy, and knowledgeable staff is happy to answer questions, make recommendations and sub different cheeses in and out if you’re not a fan of blue or goat. There are sandwiches (like the prosciutto and fig, and Italian pork) and salads, too, and desserts such as chocolate cake with merlot and chocolate ganache, and a goat cheese tartlet with roasted pistachios and honey. The shop also has a retail element offering about 40 different bottles of wine, cheese to go, boxes of crackers, baguettes, containers of Found. Market Co. shortbreads (bee sting and salted rosemary among them), Blanchard’s coffees, jars of chutney, specialty snacks and more. Taylor’s pimento cheese recipe, which Mansfield says will be familiar to Relay Foods customers, makes an appearance on the menu as well.
Mansfield says he wants Tilman’s, which is open from 11am to 9pm Monday through Saturday, and from 10am to 5pm Sundays, to be a welcoming spot, the kind of place where people can come in with a book or laptop and hang out for a few hours.
Chef Curtis Shaver’s Sandwich Lab has been a bit elusive as of late. For those unfamiliar with Sandwich Lab, we’ll get you up to speed: In 2014, Shaver, executive chef at Hamiltons’ at First & Main, put together a once-a-month, one-day only, delightfully-over-the-top sandwich available for lunchtime pickup at the Downtown Mall restaurant.
Although the sandwiches regularly sold out, Sandwich Lab’s frequency has waned.
Fans of Shaver’s sammies, get ready to rejoice, because come spring 2018, Shaver will be making sandwiches for a sandwich joint-cum-bike repair shop, Peloton Station, at 114 10th St. NW, in the former Cville Classic Cars space. (In a bike race, the peloton is the main pack of riders who save energy by riding close to other riders to reduce drag.) Peloton Station, which Shaver is opening in partnership with Hamiltons’ owner Bill Hamilton and managing partner Greg Vogler, is intended as a space for cycling enthusiasts to grab a bite to eat and a beer after a ride, and even have their bike repaired while they wait.
Shaver, a former part-time bike mechanic and riding enthusiast, has long wanted to combine cooking and riding, and the timing seemed right, Vogler says. These sorts of bike cafés have popped up in European cities and in places like Asheville, North Carolina, and the Peloton Station partners think Charlottesville’s ready for one, too.
In addition to chef sandwiches and beer, Peloton Station will offer happy hour tune-ups, repair clinics, community builds and a chill atmosphere for bikers and non-bikers alike. Shaver says that some Sandwich Lab favorites will be on the Peloton Station menu, and, just in case you were wondering, no, Sandwich Lab probably isn’t gone forever.
Double or nothing
According to a post on Sugar Shack Charlottesville’s Facebook page, the reason the build-out is taking so long is that an expanded patio is being added to the 1001 W. Main St. space because this Sugar Shack location will also include owner and donut aficionado Ian Kelley’s other project: Luther Burger. It’s the second Sugar Shack to include a Luther Burger (the other is in North Chesterfield), which promises beef, turkey and veggie burgers served on buns made from Sugar Shack donut dough, and, according to the Facebook post, “the best waffle fries in your life.”
Mooning over baked goods
Vegan and gluten-free baked goods gluttons have probably already heard of Moon Maiden’s Delights, whose sprouted-grain, gluten-free and vegan cakes and pastries, such as cranberry pear rolls with carob frosting and berry garnish and salty maple-glazed coconut brownies, are sold at City Market, Rebecca’s Natural Foods and Java Java. But for those who aren’t familiar with the bakery, now you’ve been introduced, and at a most convenient time: Moon Maiden’s Delights has opened a brick-and-mortar location on the Downtown Mall, in York Place. Owner and baker Sidney Hall recently moved to town and says the bakery has helped her get to know the community.