When deciding on what to do next with the Yearbook Taco space, owner Hamooda Shami dug deep into a lengthy note on his iPhone, a note full of mostly wild hospitality ideas that ends with a Peanuts cartoon where Lucy, in her winter coat, hat and mittens, says to Charlie Brown, “I feel torn between the desire to create and the desire to destroy.”
Shami feels that he played it safe in creating the Yearbook Taco concept, which, he says, with its yearbook photos of staff and customers adorning the walls, has run its course. Yearbook reached its peak about 11 months in, Shami says, when the novelty wore off.
With that in mind, Shami will open 11 Months—a space for extended restaurant/bar pop-ups—in February. Every 11 months, he’ll close the restaurant for a month to rebrand, tweak the menu and bar offerings and redecorate the space for the new theme. The general restaurant layout and staff will remain the same.
“When you make a bold, innovative move, sometimes people respond, sometimes people don’t. Either people will respond well, or this will be my most public humiliation,” Shami says, laughing optimistically. He hopes that it goes over well, both here and in Richmond—he’s signed a lease to open an 11 Months there, too. It’s not likely that the two spots would host the same concept at the same time, but he’s open to anything.
And there’s potential for community involvement, he says. If the idea is successful, he’d consider presenting five different concepts for the public to vote on, and whichever concept won would be the next 11 Months Presents theme.
Shami wouldn’t go on the record as to what the first 11 Months concept is, other than to say it’ll be “weird, but not too niche.” But he did profess his love for Morrissey more than once during our conversation.
This spring, The Juice Laundry will open a new location in Washington, D.C., in the Arris apartment building, part of The Yards near Nationals Park. Owners Mike and Sarah Keenan say they were approached by the building’s developer, who had traveled to Charlottesville for a wedding several months ago and happened to visit The Juice Laundry on Preston Avenue.
“We see it as a really great and exciting opportunity to bring our products and passion for healthy living to a new community—and all the UVA grads now living in D.C.,” they say. As for The Juice Laundry here in Charlottesville, nothing will change, though the growth could allow them to expand the menu to include “even more healthy, delicious options.”
Allie Hull, founder of Homegrown Virginia and an Ivy resident, will be on hand from 2-5pm Saturday, December 10, at the Crozet Artisan Depot, during the Taste Virginia reception. A variety of foods created from local farm produce, such as jams, jellies and sauces, will be ripe for sampling. Homegrown Virginia makes small-batch recipes highlighting produce picked during the peak of ripeness.