You do need a shirt and shoes to dine at High Tide Burrito, a new little taco shack of a place that opened a month ago in the old Baggby’s Gourmet Sandwiches spot in the Forest Lakes Shopping Center (most recently and briefly Café LaJoi). With its laid back, casual beach décor (a large photo of the coast in Corolla, North Carolina, adorns one wall), however, you get a sense that owners and brothers Jack and James Yancey probably wouldn’t care if you stumbled in all barefooted and sandy from surfing for a heaping helping of mahi-mahi fish tacos.
It actually was at the beach on vacation in Alabama that the Brothers Yancey dreamed up their taco shop about a year ago. Both Charlottesville natives, the two are veterans of the local restaurant industry, having cooked and managed in many a fine dining establishment—Fuel, C&O, Hamiltons’—as well as more casual spots—Shebeen, Riversides Lunch and North. “We were tired of counting someone else’s money at the end of the night,” says James.
Sweet home Charlottesville: While at the beach on vacation in Alabama, brothers Jack (left) and James Yancey dreamed up the idea for High Tide Burrito.
Neither Yancey has prior professional experience with Mexican, although they’re big fans of the fajita and count a favorite place called Bad Bean Tacqueria in Corolla as one of their inspirations for High Tide. Plus, the genre appealed to them for its simplicity, relative cheap start-up costs and need for no additional staff, the management of which James says was “the worst part” of his other restaurant gigs.
There wasn’t a ton of work to do to turn the old sandwich-making station in Forest Lakes into a burrito-making one. The small kitchen doesn’t have a big walk-in cooler or fridge, so the Yanceys make all the fixins for their burritos, tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas and chili from scratch every day—they take turns coming in at 6am to chop veggies, make salsas, sauces and guac and slow roast the meats (16 hours for the beef; 12 hours for the pork!). Then, James runs the ordering counter during the day while Jack cooks in the back, and they switch places for the dinner hours.
High Tide has that beachy-Mexican fusion vibe to it, but with less of a California surfer dude and more of a Southern, Kenny Chesney feel to it. There are cheap domestic and import beers, but no other mixed drinks just yet. “We plan to add margaritas, and when we do they’ll be made from scratch as well,” says Jack.
Shiver me Timberwood
While we’re on the subject of the Forest Lakes area, here’s some more news from north of Target: Timberwood Grill is getting bigger. Steve Guiffre, owner of the 3-year-old bar/restaurant is expanding the dining room and creating a media-ready banquet/meeting room to appeal to the growing sector of banquet/meeting room business types around that area (think NGIC, baby). He’s also expanding the parking lot and spiffing up the patio eating area—you’ll soon be able to watch the big screen TVs out there. Business continues as usual until the renovations are completed around the end of the year.
Silver medals for Starr
Two weeks ago, Starr Hill Brewery nabbed two silver medals in the annual Great American Beer Festival held in Denver. The prizes were awarded to Starr Hill’s wheat beer, The Love, in the South German-style Hefeweizen category and to a small-batch Hellerbock-style brew called Smoke-Out in the Pro-Am category. The latter category includes beer recipes that have been concocted by award-winning members of the American Homebrewers Association and then brewed by professional craft brewers. Starr Hill has won 13 awards at the festival over the years, but these two are particularly noteworthy, because they highlight Starr Hill’s continued attention to small-batch craft-ness despite going all Anheuser-Busch/InBev on us.