Food is love. Food is happiness. And, once a year, food inspires us to conjure our inner poet and present to you a list of the year’s openings and closings—entirely in rhyme.
It wasn’t a great year for restaurants downtown: Five Guys, El Puerto and Song Song’s, all down. Plus, we said bye to Peking and Holy Cow. South Street closed too (but it’s reopened now!).
Fellini’s Speakeasy said its final farewell, and, hey, Caffe Bocce? We thought you were swell. Cubano changed hands and its name is now Grit. There’ll be four locations, to fuel a true coffee fit.
The Box played its last tune and we drank our last drink, but Jack Brown’s will serve burgers in that space in a blink.
Moving off the Mall now, to West Main and on down… We lost No. 3 and Toro’s Tacos skipped town. Now l’étoile only caters after years by the tracks. We’ll miss its French-Southern cuisine, but, hey, them’s the facts.
Ariana Kabob served up its last skewer, and without Dragon Lady, we’re one Chinese food spot fewer.
Brazos Tacos popped in and then out again, but the word on the street is its food was a win. The Farm Cville is gone and Anderson Carriage is too, but the latter still caters—it’ll bring the seafood to you.
Savour moved south to Prospect Hill Plantation, and Woolly Mammoth closed down—no more food or libations. At Barracks Road, we said “yowza!” to Cups, but here at year’s end, they’ve closed down and packed up.
And that about does it for spots that we’ve tossed, but, c’mon, let’s not dwell on all that we’ve lost. Let’s look at some reasons to keep wagging our tongues, and next year the “lost” list won’t be quite as long.
Let’s start with the booze; we’ll try not to get sloppy. C’ville-ian Brewing and World of Beer get quite hoppy. In Afton, Silverback makes a right tasty liquor, but don’t drink beer beforehand or you’ll feel much sicker.
Downtown, Tin Whistle serves beer fit for a paddy. Try the nosh, too. We won’t call you a fatty.
If you’re off the sauce or just want something tame, the JusBaar and Stonefield’s Capital Teas win the game.
Is it Asian you want? Then get out your chopsticks: Osaka, Kokoro and Kuma are top picks. Thai Fresh and Thai Cuisine & Noodle House came here, too. And we’re going back for seconds of Zzaam’s Korean BBQ.
Wait, wait, wait! Barbeque, did you say? PastureQ can do that, in a really great way.
Also in Stonefield, Rocksalt’s raw bar delighted, and on West Main, Public’s oysters excited. Staying in midtown, hello to Threepenny. We like its take on a crab cake eggs Benny. Across the street, a family-style joint. Oakhart Social’s its name, community its point.
If you like to eat stuff you can hold in your hand, Yearbook’s tacos and MarieBette’s pastries are grand. In Nelson County, Giddy’s Good Fortune is fun. Service is fast; get your takeout and run.
Getting fancy downtown? Try Red Pump or Alley Light. Burgers at Barracks, perhaps? Zinburger’s just right.
When it comes to our food, we don’t like to play games. But at “barcade” Firefly, they’re one in the same.
Of course we can’t forget the new tasty sweets: Bloop at Mill Creek, for instance, brings the frozen treats. At My Chocolate Shoppe, it’s one truffle after another. They’re made in-house; bring one to your mother.
Need merlot with your sweets? Hey, here’s a thought. Visit Wine Loves Chocolate—you’ll love it a lot.
Speaking of Italy, here’s one to try: Benny Deluca’s pizza, where each slice is supersized.
Last on our list are three more places anew: Zoës Kitchen, Poe’s Public House, and Oakhurst Café are getting good reviews.
Now go forth and eat; there’s still plenty to devour. We’ll see you next year around dinner hour.
Rocksalt owner Travis Croxton brought his instantly popular raw bar to Stonefield in October.
The folks behind Blue Mountain bought South Street Brewery and reopened it in November with a new look and menu.