Go with Grace
Cavalier Produce has put a creative twist on feeding those in need. The food distributor announced Grace’s Good Food Box Program as a way to get fresh food into homes that need it through a partnership with Loaves & Fishes, PB&J Fund, Louisa County Resource Council, and Blue Ridge Area Food Bank’s Lynchburg branch. The boxes are filled with fruits, veggies, and other groceries for holiday meals, and delivered at cost. The program is named for the owners’ daughter, who “reminds us every day to pay attention to these little things and to take nothing for granted.” To donate, go to cavalierproduce.com.
Wheels of good fortune
In lieu of its annual Taste This! fundraiser, Meals on Wheels of Charlottesville/Albemarle is hosting a bingo event focused on supporting local restaurants. Unlike regular bingo, this version uses cards with area restaurant logos occupying each square. Players visit a variety of establishments, get their card stamped, and then enter the cards into a raffle—one entry per stamped logo—for multiple prizes. The event runs from December 15-March 1. Participating restaurants include The Alley Light, Orzo, Grit, Tavola, and MarieBette.
The fundraiser will help MOW keep its clients fed through this difficult time. Executive Director Leigh Trippe says Meals on Wheels has been very fortunate so far: “I should not ever be surprised by this community, but I’m amazed at all the help that we’ve gotten,” she says. “It has made us extremely grateful that we live where we live.”—Will Ham
A nod to excellence
When The Ridley opens in The Draftsman hotel in January, it won’t just add to Charlottesville’s upscale dining scene, it will bring an important legacy into focus.
The seafood-meets-sophisticated -Southern-cooking restaurant is named for Dr. Walter N. Ridley, who was the first African American to receive a doctoral degree from a Southern, traditionally white university. Ridley had to persevere through years and layers of resistance to earn his doctorate in education from the University of Virginia in 1953, and his achievements paved the way for the thousands of Black students who came after him.
The team behind The Ridley, UVA/Darden alum Warren Thompson (Thompson Hospitality) and his friend and business partner, Ron Jordan
(Jordan Hospitality Group), honor Ridley not only in name, but by supporting his foundation through their venture. Thompson’s parents both studied under Ridley, and he considers the project to be deeply personal. “The Ridley is a way for me to publicly recognize his contributions and his commitment to action and equality in a town critically important to both his story and my own,” says Thompson.
The Ridley crew say they’ll provide an elegant yet casual atmosphere that feels like a big city dining experience, plus a tantalizing menu of Southern, coastal offerings. Expect to fill up on soft shell crab, fried lobster tails, branzino, red snapper, and Cajun oysters at 1106 West Main.