By Sam Padgett and Erin O’Hare
The Yard food hall at 5th Street Station is gearing up to open in May, in the building next to Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Jeff Garrison, the project’s lead, says he wanted to “create an active community-engaged area…a great area to hang out.” And so The Yard put extra emphasis on seating, including a shaded outdoor patio and complimentary WiFi. Additionally, if Garrison can obtain a coveted festival liquor license for the space, drinks can be openly carried between the businesses, which is beneficial because The Yard could also serve as an entertainment venue. As for the food half of the hall, The Yard already has leases from Basil Mediterranean Bistro & Wine Bar, Extreme Pizza and Chim, an Asian street food restaurant. While the first restaurants are going to be opening this May, The Yard will continue to add more options.
Back in December, we reported that The Villa Diner would be moving to a new location in town, as its current home at 129 Emmet St. N will soon be demolished when the University of Virginia begins to develop the land at the corner of Emmet Street and Ivy Road later this year.
Now we can report that The Villa’s moving down the road, into the former location of the Royal Indian Restaurant at 1250 Emmet St. N, adjacent to the new Zaxby’s. Villa Diner co-owner Jenifer Beachley describes the relocation as “terrifyingly exciting.” She says that the same atmosphere and service that customers have come to expect at The Villa will move with the business, and there will be a few additions to the menu. The Villa’s final day in its current location will be Memorial Day, and the Beachleys expect the new location to open in June.
Best of the South
In Southern Living magazine’s 2018 Best of the South poll, Charlottesville was named the eighth best food town in the region (food cities are in a different category). In that same poll, Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton was named the best brewery in Virginia.
And in Garden & Gun magazine’s Southern Craft Brewery bracket, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, whose flagship is in Richmond but operates a pilot brewery and taproom in Charlottesville, made it to the final matchup out of a field of 32 breweries, to take on Scofflaw Brewing Company of Atlanta for the championship. Hardywood was named the bracket winner on Tuesday.
Losing a gem
Pearl’s Bake Shoppe, known around town for its vegan cupcake offerings, among other sweet treats, closed its Charlottesville location on March 24. According to information posted to the bakery’s Facebook page, the owners have chosen to focus attention on their Richmond location instead.
Water Street Restaurant—or, chef Brice Cunningham’s rebranded Tempo—closed after service on March 31. The eatery, which served upscale casual French and American cuisine, opened in September 2016.
Brunch game just got stronger
In a March 12 Facebook post, Kung Fu Tea Charlottesville at 1001 W. Main St. announced that it will soon begin serving dim sum (and judging by the hundreds of comments and shares on the post, folks are excited about it). For those unfamiliar with dim sum, it’s a style of Chinese (usually Cantonese) cuisine served with tea for a brunch-type meal. The bite-sized portions of food—think steamed buns, steamed vegetables, slow-roasted meats, congee soups and even dessert dim sum such as egg tarts—are served on small plates or nestled inside little steam baskets.
In the last few weeks, a Facebook page called Quality Pie has popped up and begun sharing photos of baked goods, as well as both interior and exterior shots of the former Spudnuts donut shop on Avon Street in Belmont. It appears as though the bakery is the work of former Mas Tapas chef Tomas Rahal.