By Sam Padgett and Erin O’Hare
A third full-size Mudhouse will soon open on 10th Street NW, in the former Cville Classic Cars space. The local roastery and coffee shop’s new location will offer the usual Mudhouse coffee and atmosphere, plus an extended array of bakery items. Mudhouse co-owner Lynelle Lawrence is excited to add yet another java option to the already robust caffeine community in Charlottesville. For Lawrence, community is most important to the archetypal coffee shop environment where people can bring their laptops and business partners to a welcoming (and fragrant) place.
Lawrence plans to extend the community aspect of the new Mudhouse by making the brewing and roasting process more transparent.
“The thing about coffee is, we can’t grow it in our backyard,” says Lawrence. “This means we have to connect to other communities in Central America and Africa.”
There are plenty of quality coffee joints all over town, and Mudhouse’s new building of brew is intended to be accessible to a new group of people. “We want to serve that part of the community who knows about us, but can’t get to us as easily,” says Lawrence.
According to a message posted to the restaurant’s website, The Local Smokehouse closed its doors at 816 Hinton Ave. in Belmont on March 30. Fans of Matthew Hart’s barbecue can still get it via The Local Catering.
Matt Greene, the chef who consulted on Common House’s food and beverage program before the membership-driven social club at 206 W. Market St. opened last May, is back in the club’s kitchen as executive chef and culinary director. Greene, who worked at Marlow & Sons in New York, takes over for executive chef Antwon Brinson, who left to work with the City of Charlottesville to start a program teaching life skills through what can be learned in the kitchen (see our most recent issue of Knife & Fork magazine for more on that).
In advance of its first birthday, Common House has launched two new food initiatives that open the club’s ground floor to the public. One of those is Street Food Sundays, where local chefs cook street food-inspired menus served out of the social club’s chef’s counter on the ground floor Vinegar Hall room. Frank Paris of Heirloom at the Graduate Charlottesville hotel (and formerly of Miso Sweet) cooked ramen for the first Street Food Sunday last month. Ryan Collins is up next, on Sunday, April 15.
Collins, who previously cooked at Early Mountain Vineyards and some of José Andrés’ Washington, D.C., establishments, will offer a menu of Mexican-inspired cuisine similar to the food that will be served at Little Star, his forthcoming restaurant that will open sometime this year in the former Threepenny Café space at 420 W. Main St.
Proceeds from this week’s Street Food Sundays will benefit Andrés’ World Central Kitchen, which aims to create solutions for ending hunger and poverty around the world. Service starts at 4pm, and will go until they run out.
Also on April 15, Common House begins a community brunch series open to the public, each meal benefiting a different local community organization. The Virginia Institute of Autism is the beneficiary of the first brunch’s proceeds.
Virginia Distillery Co.’s whiskies continue to rack up the accolades. Its Cider Cask Finished Virginia-Highland Whisky was named best of class in the certified blended spirits category at this year’s American Distilling Institute Judging of Craft Spirits, where craft spirits from small, independently owned distillers are tasted blind and evaluated by a panel of dozens of spirits experts. Additionally, the Lovingston-based distillery’s Port Cask Finished Virginia-Highland Whisky was named America’s Best Blended Malt at Whisky Magazine’s 2018 World Whiskies Awards.
The Castle, UVA’s former late-night snack bar nestled deep within the old dorms, is making a comeback (and getting a facelift in preparation) as part of the Bonnycastle dormitory remodeling project. Since the spot is primarily frequented by students (it’s literally attached to a dorm), student input directed the remodel. The most significant change to The Castle is that it will no longer serve any meat, pushing UVA’s food provider Aramark to figure out a customizable series of bowls, salads and sandwiches. Additionally, The Castle’s new seating arrangement is described as “mindful,” focusing on soft chairs and open spaces, surely a welcome upgrade from cafeteria tables and bean bags. The Castle is expected to open in time for classes in the fall.