An ode to the year’s restaurant openings and closings

Glass Haus Kitchen Photo: Andrea Hubbell Glass Haus Kitchen Photo: Andrea Hubbell

As 2013 comes to a close, here’s a look back on the area’s ever-changing food and drink scene, in rhyming couplets. As they say, to eat is a treat, to rhyme divine.  

Farewell, Camino, and Big Dawgz, see ya later. To those who loved weiners, you were the Corner’s major player. Goodbye to Arch’s on Emmet and down Ivy Road, too. Arrivederci, C’ville Cheese Store—we hardly knew you.

We’ll miss you a lot, oh yummy Glass Haus Kitchen. Good thing you still cater; your desserts were just bitchin’. Nicola’s Chicken Kabobs and Cafe Europa shuttered too. And Saigon Café’s closing makes us feel blue.

We’ll wave goodbye to Topeka’s and au revoir to Brasserie Montiel. That Commonwealth coffee house made a right tasty meal. Zinc, we saved you for last because it’s the saddest closing of all. (The bigger you love, the harder you fall.)

But now there’s room in our tummies for new places to eat, so let’s get to the list and discover more treats.

For some Mexican flavor, try Plaza Azteca or El Puerto. But don’t head to the Corner’s Baja Bean—sorry to tell you, es muerto. Toro’s Tacos took over and it fills up that niche, but Tako Nako (on Hydraulic) may also scratch your itch.

If it’s spice you’ve been craving, here’s two for the list: Downtown’s Just Curry and Taste of India can’t be missed. In brand-spanking-new Stonefield, things got kind of fancy—small plates at Pasture and Travinia, and Parallel 38’s got us antsy.

On the Corner, hello to Crozet Pizza and Onyx. The new hookah bar serves flavored smoke with your tonic. On West Main, JM Stock Provisions has meat. Its commitment to sustainable ag is real neat. More Provisions on Ivy, but this time for sammies. And Kabuto Sushi delivers, so order in your jammies. If it’s fish you’re craving, try Kokoro on Main. You have nothing to lose and sashimi to gain.

Some restaurants closed down and then opened back up, like Carmello’s and Henry’s. They both fill our cup. St. Maarten did the same, but stayed at its Wertland location. There’s a lunch menu, patio, and beers for UVA nation. A few spots shut down and reopened, renamed: Black Market Moto Saloon is Woolly Mammoth (it’s the hipsters we’ll blame). Lunchbox Express will be Boneyard, Darjeeling’s AVA, and Mi Canton’s the new Saigon Café.

In the former Millmont Grill, Sedona Taphouse took over. (Try the $5 deal Mondays if you’re a frugal steak lover.) In place of Topeka’s is Shadwells and instead of Europa, there’s Fig. The menu’s Cajun and Creole, and for this scene that’s big. In the former Carmello’s, Gameday Restaurant Bar & Grill. It’s a great place to just drink a cold one and chill.

A second location of Bangkok 99 hit the scene. We’re lucky it did; can’t get enough Thai cuisine! Downtown-adjacent, there’s Vinegar Hill Café. It’s in the Jefferson School City Center, where you’ll find it midday. Further afield in Crozet, check out Restoration for dinner. It’s open for lunch too, and both menus are winners.

Near Tonsler on Cherry, Chef Ralph opened his grill. We haven’t yet tried it, but trust us, we will. Downtown, you’ll find Dr. Ho’s Holy Cow. Vegan food from a walk-up window? Our taste buds say “wow!” Caffe Bocce took its spot near the Mall on Market. Did someone say Italian? We’ll sit down and park it. But not before visiting The Livery Stable. We’ve been waiting a while for a seat at that table.

For your last course, might we suggest something sweet? Pearl’s Bake Shoppe offers fresh cupcakes and treats. Opening soon Downtown, My Chocolate Shoppe sounds divine. But that name is confusing—is it your shop or mine? And to wash it all down, visit Three Notch’d Brewing. The beer choices are plenty; we’ll understand if you’re still stewing.

And with that we’ll close out a tasty 2013. Next year, we know, will be an even better scene.

Have a scoop for Small Bites? E-mail us at or call 434-817-2749 (x38).