The next time you find yourself at Duner’s, raise a glass to executive chef Laura Fonner, who took home a big prize on a recent charitable rendition of the Food Network show “Guy’s Grocery Games.” Fonner will use her $20,000 winnings to help pay for her ownership of the Ivy restaurant and to support PACEM, a local organization that provides shelter—and meals, sometimes cooked by Fonner herself—for homeless people in the winter months.
New kids on the block
One new restaurant has opened—and another is on the cusp—for your dining and imbibing pleasure at The Shops at Stonefield. The taps are flowing at Champion Grill, a sports bar from Champion Brewing Company, in the former Rocksalt space, and the first franchised location of Matchbox, a D.C. venture known for its wood-fired pizza, has announced a December 17 debut.
Speaking of neighborhood bars, Tin Whistle Irish Pub will be vacating the space at 609 E. Market St. by January. 1, 2020, over lease woes. You’ve still got a minute to stop by and enjoy pub fare, a brew, and maybe some live music—and offer a fond farewell to a Charlottesville stalwart. .
Under the stars
Bundle up and bring a blanket, because Keswick’s Castle Hill Cider is playing host to a free evening of stargazing to celebrate the winter solstice. Local astronomers will guide attendees through a presentation, and professional telescopes will be available for prime solar-system viewing. 6-9pm, December 20. 6065 Turkey Sag Rd., Keswick. 296-0047, castlehillcider.com
Lone Star State, meet Waterbird?
Waterbird Spirits is dropping hints on its social media channels that distribution in Texas might soon be a reality for the new-to-the-market canned cocktails produced by Wilson Craig and his team at the Water Street facility. Local makers doing big things—we can get behind that.
Feeling festive? Head to Bold Rock Hard Cider for the release of its latest cider cocktail (no hard liquor here!), made with a blend of Bold Rock White Cranberry cider, lime, and mint. Bonus: A holiday-themed glass can be yours with the purchase of any beverage while supplies last. 11am-9pm, 1020 Rockfish Valley Hwy., Nellysford. 361-1030, boldrock.com
Local restaurants offer many ways to ring in 2020, but we’ve got our eye on Belmont’s Mas Tapas, where New Year’s Eve brings an endless bounty of carne asada, papas bravas, and other small plates. $75 per person, plus tax, tip, and bar tab. Seatings at 5:30 and 8pm. Reservations required: call 979-0990 or email email@example.com. 904 Monticello Rd. mastapas.com