Here today, gone tamale

Dear Ace: What happened to the Atomic Burrito kiosk on the Downtown Mall? One minute, it was there, and then the next minute it was gone.—Ivana Taco

Dear Ivana: Choking back a nostalgic lump in his throat, Ace felt his heart aching for a love recently lost: a burrito, backed up by a Mai-Tai and consumed while staring at CVS’ window display.

   To answer your question, Ivana, Ace contacted Jeyon Falsini, nightlife provocateur for the Atomic Burrito empire. A good guy and a good employee, Falsini was tightlipped on the kiosk matter.

   Ace was disappointed, but determined, because the truth, Ivana, must come out! Ace’s super-sleuth hunch told him that the kiosk closing had to do with something bureaucratic. And what better bureaucracy is there than the State Alcoholic Beverage Control?

   Following his hot, self-generated lead, Ace spoke with Becky Gettings, the ABC flak. At first, Gettings said that the Atomic Burrito chain had a clean record as far as the ABC was concerned. But just to be sure (because Ace’s hunches are never wrong!), Gettings contacted Charlottesville’s ABC special agent. After speaking with the agent, Gettings said that the Atomic kiosk did, in fact, have a little run in with the ABC this summer.

   Apparently, before opening the kiosk, owner Andrew Vaughan neglected to obtain written permission from the ABC to serve alcohol in the open-air space. When the ABC special agent showed up at the kiosk to address the unauthorized alcohol sales, he told Vaughan that he would have to stop serving alcohol. Atomic Burrito immediately complied. Because Atomic promptly did the right thing, the ABC decided not to press the issue with an official hearing.

   If the ABC incident explains why the kiosk stopped serving booze, the explanation behind the full closing remains unclear. Yielding to his investigative whim once again, Ace contacted the Charlottesville Neighborhood Development Services Director Jim Tolbert. Tolbert said that the kiosk closing had nothing to do with a City decision, leaving Ace to conclude, Ivana, that a kiosk cannot survive on burritos alone. But alas, we may never know, since Vaughan, the kiosk’s owner never returned Ace’s calls.

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