Food mill: Big culinary project planned for historic Woolen Mills

A rendering of the proposed renovation of the Woolen Mills shows that its industrial feel would remain intact. Image: 3north A rendering of the proposed renovation of the Woolen Mills shows that its industrial feel would remain intact. Image: 3north

Just a couple of months after local tech company WillowTree began restoring the historic Charlottesville Woolen Mills to become its new headquarters, collaborators in an ambitious food and drink project have announced plans to move into the brick behemoth on the Rivanna River. The Wool Factory will include a restaurant, event space, brewery, and a coffee and wine shop in 12,000 square feet of the building. (WillowTree has said it will renovated 85,000 square feet and lease it for 10 years.) Built around 1820, the mill became Albemarle’s largest employer before its closing in the 1960s.

Brad Uhl, Brandon Wooten, and Dan FitzHenry, part of the team behind Grit Coffee, are driving The Wool Factory venture. Notable participants include Champion Brewing owner Hunter Smith, who will launch a spinoff, Selvedge Brewing, in the renovated space. Executive chef Tucker Yoder, formerly of Back 40, will head up the restaurant Broadcloth, oversee catering, and create a menu for Smith’s brewery. Grit will open The Workshop, a coffee and wine spot.

Located on the eastern edge of Charlottesville, about a mile from the Downtown Mall, The Wool Factory’s opening is planned for late 2019 or early 2020 according to a press release.

Twice is nice

The second edition of Nancy Bauer’s Virginia Wine Country Travel Journal, the popular guide to area vineyards, is hot off the press. Bauer has been exploring the commonwealth’s wineries and writing about the industry for a decade. C-VILLE Weekly readers can get free shipping on the journal by entering the promo code CVILLE at Bauer’s website, Virginia Wine in My Pocket (vawineinmypocket.com).

Pun alert!

Root 29 is the name of the new restaurant and cocktail lounge due to open in May at the DoubleTree by Hilton, at 990 Hilton Heights Rd., just off Route 29 (groans). Diners wouldn’t normally flock to a restaurant in a chain hotel, but chef Ron Lindemann, formerly a chef at the Boar’s Head Resort, will feature products by Albemarle Baking Company, Homestead Creamery, Three Notch’d Brewing, Barboursville Vineyards, and others with local roots (rolls eyes).

New in Belmont

Foodie haven Belmont has added two newcomers to the culinary mix. Located at 407 Monticello Rd., Belle Coffee & Wine, sister restaurant to Citizen Burger Bar, serves breakfast and lunch, 7am-3pm, seven days a week, and “happy hour snacks” 3-8pm, Thursday-Saturday. Barbecue joint No Limits Smokehouse, at 816 Hinton Ave., held its grand opening April 28.