Simon Davidson

Simon Davidson, founder of The Charlottesville 29, has had a passion for food for as long as he can remember. Even as a young child, at restaurants with his parents he would ask the server to allow him one more appetizer while everyone else was ordering dessert. He has eaten all over the country and all over the Charlottesville area, which he has called home for nearly all of his adult life. In his real life, he practices law at the international law firm McGuireWoods, which was founded in Charlottesville, and also writes a political law column for the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call. Most important of all, he says, he is the father of two and husband of one.

Nick Leichtentritt was a much loved member of Charlottesville’s food scene. Photo: Martyn Kyle

Milli Coffee Roasters founder dies at 34

Nick Leichtentritt, founder of Milli Coffee Roasters and Sicily Rose, died February 17 at the age of 34. Pursuing a passion for food and drink, Leichtentritt left a corporate job in 2012 to open the coffee shop, followed by his cannoli shop, Sicily Rose, in 2018. Both developed loyal followings, and Leichtentritt became a beloved […]

Research by J. Nikol Jackson-Beckham, a Randolph College professor and beer historian, inspired a new brew based on one made more than 200 years ago. Photo: Good Beer Hunting

Thomas Jefferson—beer nerd? New Champion release honors TJ’s personal brewer

Thomas Jefferson was not an IPA guy. We know this thanks to the scholarly efforts of J. Nikol Jackson-Beckham, a Randolph College professor, whose research provides a fascinating account of the work of Jefferson’s enslaved brewer, Peter Hemings, a son of Elizabeth Hemings. Jackson-Beckham’s recently published article, “Missing Ingredients—The (Incomplete) Story of Thomas Jefferson’s Unsung […]

Petite MarieBette debuts downtown with a new co-owner, Will Darsie, and lovely baked goods. 
Photo: Corbett Smithson

MarieBetter: Bakery adds downtown location

MarieBette Café & Bakery spin-off Petite MarieBette is now open at 105 E. Water St., offering coffee and baked goods (of course!), as well as breakfast sandwiches and grab-and-go lunch. Longtime MarieBette employee Will Darsie co-owns the new spot, and will manage it. The son of a chef (mom) and a farmer (dad), Darsie moved […]

Alicia Walsh-Noel, Manager of Brasserie Saison. Photo courtesy subject

Five Finds on Friday with Alicia Walsh-Noel

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Alicia Walsh-Noel, manager of Brasserie Saison, which celebrates Sunday each week with  an “Eggs Benefit” brunch from 11am-3pm with live jazz and specials from the bar. A portion of proceeds goes to a different charity each month, and this month it is The Charlottesville Free Clinic. Walsh-Noel’s picks: 1) Kao Soi at Monsoon Siam. “This […]

Smoked trout dip will be a new menu item when Commonwealth Restaurant & Skybar relaunches with a new menu from Harrison Keevil and Will Richey Monday, September 4. Photo by Sara Miller

Commonwealth Restaurant & Skybar revamps menu, under new management

Commonwealth Restaurant and Skybar is getting a makeover. And, it’s bringing in some industry experts: restaurateur Will Richey and chef Harrison Keevil. Co-founder of Ten Course Hospitality, Richey has to his name The Alley Light, The Bebedero, Brasserie Saison, The Pie Chest, Revolutionary Soup and The Whiskey Jar. Keevil meanwhile co-owned Brookville restaurant with his wife before closing last year and opening Keevil […]

Matt Greene, chef, butcher and co-owner of JM Stock Provisions, says Riverside Lunch is “everything I want in a restaurant.” Photo courtesy of Tom McGovern

Why chefs indulge at Riverside Lunch

Why do so many chefs love Riverside Lunch? Don’t get me wrong—I love it too. Few things hit the spot like a Riverside burger. But this is the era of local food, where chefs preach the gospel of local sourcing and other responsible food practices. Yet they regularly allow themselves to “cheat” at Riverside. Take […]

Tyler Teass, chef at the new Brasserie Saison, honed his modern-cuisine chops at Rose’s Luxury, in Washington, D.C., and says Oakhart Social chef/owner Tristan Wraight, right, hits the mark in new American cuisine. Wraight’s vegetarian wife serves as his muse for dishes such as the twice-charred local carrots with pea shoots, sweet and spicy pecans and housemade buttermilk ranch dressing. Photos by Tom McGovern

Oakhart Social’s chef knows no boundaries

I am old enough to remember when cooking was not cool. Before entire networks were devoted to it, cooking was relegated to the nerdy back room of public television. The prototypical chef was the bumbling Muppet Swedish Chef, while rock stars like Animal were the cool Muppets. Today, chefs are the rock stars. And, cooking has […]

Chef Tucker Yoder focuses on fresh, seasonal ingredients in everything from a vegetarian spin on a Bolognese to a braised pork belly spiked with black garlic. Photo by Amy Jackson

Former Clifton Inn chef at home in meat market

What happens when a meat market hires an acclaimed fine-dining chef? Timbercreek Market is about to find out. When Timbercreek Farm owners Sara and Zach Miller opened the market in July 2015, their aim was to bring directly to consumers the same produce from their farm that had long been served at top restaurants around […]

Maria Gracia (formerly of El Tepeyac) approves of the authentic Mexican cuisine at The Bebedero. Photo: Tom McGovern

The Bebedero evokes the true flavors of Mexico

Comedian Jim Gaffigan claims that Mexican restaurants seem to take the same combination of ingredients and repackage them under different names. Tortillas, cheese, meat and vegetables, he says, combine to form nachos, tacos, burritos, chimichangas and more. At many so-called Mexican restaurants, this is sadly true, giving Mexican food an undeserved reputation as slop to […]

Côte-Rôtie food truck’s menu, influenced by several cultures and classical French technique, changes weekly, and includes rotisserie and yakitori dishes, such as istara spedini atop Schuyler Farms arugula with a lemon-rosemary vinaigrette. You can find them on most Sundays and many Tuesdays at Champion Brewing Company, which offers its own revolving menu of new craft beers and picnic tables for dining al fresco. Photo: Tom McGovern

Côte-Rôtie champions trying new things

The first time I visited the Côte-Rôtie food truck, I knew it would be at Champion Brewing Company before long. Since opening in 2012, the downtown brewery has become the capital of Charlottesville food trucks, and hosts one almost every night. This is the brainchild of Champion owner Hunter Smith, who had seen the success […]