About last year: Looking back at 2018 — Food

Sugar Shack Photo: Morgan Saylor Sugar Shack Photo: Morgan Saylor

Best new creations

When it comes to Charlottesville food and drink, there is no such thing as a bad year.

In 2018, MarieBette Café & Bakery unleashed its prezzant, a sorcerous pretzel and croissant hybrid, where buttery, delicate pastry gets an addictive umami boost from a dip in lye. Not to be outdone, Albemarle Baking Company launched Roman pizza, rectangular slices of room temperature ’zza made from a 48-hour naturally fermented dough, using organic wheat and whole wheat flour. Meanwhile, Reason Beer’s hop-forward Collaboration 29, a delicious IPA created in tribute to Charlottesville, won not just sentimentality points but also a major beer competition, where it earned top prize over some of the nation’s most acclaimed IPAs. At Prime 109, the Lampo team broke ground with steak cut from locally sourced heritage beef, dry-aged 60 days or more. And, after the ham biscuit was declared Charlottesville’s signature dish, an impeccable new version became a menu fixture at Ivy Inn.

MarieBette’s prezzant

Last but not least was my 2018 Dish of the Year: Fleurie’s Autumn Olive Farms’ Heritage Pork, Prepared Nose to Tail. Many elite chefs have worked wonders with the extraordinary products from Autumn Olive Farms, but never have I encountered a dish that better honors the farms’ hogs than this one. Read more about it at charlottesville29.com.—Simon Davidson


2018 saw a lot of happenings on the Charlottesville food and drink scene. Here’s a roundup of some of the biggest changes around town. —Jenny Gardiner

Welcome to town

Armando’s on the Corner for late-night Mexican eats

Augustiner Hall and Garden rolls out the barrels

Beijing Station from Marco & Luca Dumpling owners

Box’d Kitchen serves up meat or
veggies, over rice

Brewing Tree Beer Company, courtesy of Starr Hill founder

Druknya House brings a touch of Tibet to town

Farm Bell Kitchen cooks up Southern cuisine in the Dinsmore Boutique Inn

JBD Soul Food whips up catfish on Hinton Avenue

J-Petal scoops Thai rolled ice cream and more

Maru for Korean on the Downtown Mall

North American Sake Brewery, with vaunted Côte-Rôtie chef on board

Patisserie Torres delivers sweet and savory treats from Fleurie’s pastry chef

Peleton Station for bikes, beer, and noshes

Pho 3 Pho gives us uptown Pho on 29 North

Prime 109 launches to rave reviews and pricey beef

Rocket Coffee brings coffee and bagels to Crozet

Quality Pie converts the former Spudnuts space into a new café

Renewal, for West Main dining in the new Draftsman Hotel

Sicily Rose makes cannolis just like your nonna’s

Sugar Shack Baby Ruth donuts, anyone?

The Yard at 5th Street Station includes Basil Mediterranean, Extreme Pizza, and Chimm Thai

Peleton Station Photo: Stephen Barling

Leaving the scene

Back 40, Escafé, Greenie’s, Kebabish, La Taza, The Local Smokehouse (catering still available), Mono Loco

Pearl’s Bake Shoppe, Shark Mountain Coffee (at UVA’s iLab), Water Street, Zzaam! Fresh Korean Grill

A new lease on life

Aromas Café moves to Fontaine Research Park

The Clifton receives an overhaul, and adds a Michelin-starred executive chef

JM Stock gets a new owner, but keeps its amazing ham biscuits

Littlejohn’s New York Delicatessen also gets a new owner—and lowers its prices

Market Street Wine employees take over from longtime owner Robert Harlee

The Nook reopens after kitchen renovations

Pie Chest and Lone Light Coffee add a second location on High Street

Silk Thai Restaurant keeps it authentic in former Thai 99 space

Tavern & Grocery welcomes a new owner and a new “top” chef

Villa Diner moves to Emmet Street North corridor

Meals on wheels

Angelic’s Kitchen on Wheels

Bluegrass Creamery

FARMacy food truck

Firefly on the Fly

Good Waffles & Co.

OrderUp! 


New Year’s wish

For Bang! to return rice balls and pork spring rolls to their rightful place on the menu. Sure, the tuna poke is delish, but isn’t there room for some old-school lovin’ too?