Graduate Hotel preps for opening of rooftop restaurant and bar

Heirloom, a farm-to-table restaurant and rooftop bar at the Graduate Hotel, opens next week. Locally sourced ingredients are the focus in the kitchen and behind the bar. Photo: Stephen Barling Heirloom, a farm-to-table restaurant and rooftop bar at the Graduate Hotel, opens next week. Locally sourced ingredients are the focus in the kitchen and behind the bar. Photo: Stephen Barling

Pork belly donuts.

Now that we have your attention, let’s talk about a new spot that’s about to open across from the UVA hospital next week. Introducing Heirloom, a farm-to-table restaurant and bar on the ninth floor of the Graduate Hotel Charlottesville, where the old Red Roof Inn used to be.

“We don’t want to be just a hotel restaurant,” says General Manager of Food and Beverage Andrew Koerper, who spent the last four and a half years managing the food and beverage operations at the Omni hotel. “It’s very hyper-local, and I really love the concept.”

Heirloom’s concept—entrées and small plates composed of as much locally sourced meat and produce as possible—was created with sharing in mind (though we’re certainly not going to judge if you hoard your plates for yourself). Koerper says to expect menu items like charred oysters, sous vide steak, macaroni and cheese and the aforementioned pork belly donuts.

The bar will be stocked with Virginia beer, wine and cider, and bar manager Ben Quade—whose food-and-drink résumé includes C&O, Revolutionary Soup, The Whiskey Jar and most recently Firefly—has been meticulously crafting a list of house cocktails featuring as many local ingredients as he can get his hands on.

We have yet to sample anything off the menu, but it’s safe to say the view is reason enough to check this place out. Built on top of what used to be the roof of the old hotel, the patio, with tables, chairs and couches, overlooks the entire city. It’s going to be hard to beat sipping a glass of wine that was made only a few miles away while watching the sun set behind the mountains.

Koerper says he hopes the location, the menu and the unbeatable view will make Heirloom the new go-to spot for a cross-section of people in Charlottesville.

“The Graduate Hotel is very much about community, and I think that the restaurant itself will definitely appeal to the community and the locals,” he says. “I know there’s a lot of push to kind of merge the Downtown Mall and the Corner, and I think this is a really great bridge for that.”

Live and kickin’

We love local food and we love good music, so it only makes sense to put the two together for a good cause.

For seven years, Local Food Hub has built its model around partnerships with small Virginia farms, food-distribution experts and other nonprofits in the area in an effort to make local food more easily accessible. The organization has built relationships with more than 60 farms while providing freshly grown food to the community through schools, health clinics and youth programs, and next week it’ll be able to add another person to its list of partners: Willie Nelson.

On Wednesday, May 25, the legendary country music star will perform live at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion, with the proceeds benefiting Local Food Hub.

“Willie Nelson has a lifelong connection and dedication to local food and small family farms,” says Local Food Hub Executive Director Kristen Suokko. “This concert will help us raise funds for our mission to connect people with food grown close to home.”

Visit nteloswirelesspavilion.com to buy tickets, and check out localfoodhub.org/willie for information about sponsor packages and an exclusive pre-show celebration.

At last

After years (literally, years) of taunting us all with the promise of po’ boys and gumbo, Belmont couple Lucinda Ewell and Ian Day have officially debuted Southern Crescent. Located next to The Local Smokehouse on Hinton Avenue, the space is a beautifully remodeled old house with hand-painted ceilings and a giant porch for seating.

And that lovely porch is all that’s open for the time being. Ewell says she and Day are waiting until the liquor license comes through before they open up the interior and start serving dinner, but, in the meantime, the much-anticipated restaurant is serving lunch from 11am-3pm every day.

Have a ball

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Brewer’s Ball is coming to Charlottesville. Local chapters of the national organization have been holding these annual food-and-drink-oriented fundraisers for years, and Charlottesville will host its inaugural Brewer’s Ball on Thursday, June 9. A $75 ticket will give you access to booze from local favorites such as Pro Re Nata Farm Brewery, Bold Rock Hard Cider and Veritas Vineyard & Winery, plus food from Moe’s Original Bar B Que, Carpe Donut and Kardinal Hall, among others. Tickets are available at brewersballcville.com.

Tasty tidbits

Cider with a purpose…On Saturday, May 21, Potter’s Craft Cider will release a Trappist-style dry cider at the IX Art Park, with proceeds from sales to benefit The Haven and efforts to raise awareness about homelessness in the area. Double gold…Devils Backbone Brewing Company just brought home two World Beer Cup Gold Awards for its Schwartz Bier and Reilly’s Red.

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