Tacos in the sky
As the season turns, the Downtown Mall is also seeing some turnover, starting with Champion Hospitality Group’s just-opened culinary venture, Passiflora, which offers Tex-Mex and Baja Mediterranean cuisine. While we are still mourning the loss of Commonwealth Restaurant & Skybar, it’s good to see new openings on the mall. “We put our hearts and soul into this restaurant, and we are excited to share it with Charlottesville,” says General Manager Elizabeth Hood.
Expect to find small plates for around $10, local brews, and plenty of vegetarian options. CHG hopes to finish renovations on the rooftop open-air bar in time to catch the last warm nights of the year: “You can absolutely expect to see live bands as part of the experience,” says Hood. Passiflora is open Thursday through Tuesday, and accepts reservations and walk-ins.
Nod to Nosh and hello wraps
Another transition took place on the outer rim of the Downtown Mall—Modern Nosh closed its doors in September. Known for kosher fare and loaded sandwiches, Modern Nosh was established with a mission to give back to the community. Over two years, the restaurant donated hundreds of pounds of bread and benefited non-profit organizations like The Women’s Initiative and the Companion Animal Fund.
“We are so sad to be leaving,” says owner Stephanie Levin. “With the large number of business people not coming back to work downtown, the loss of tourists, and the lack of outside seating, we just couldn’t find a way.” Levin hopes to reinvent Modern Nosh along with its vision of supporting the community sometime next year. “Numerous people have asked me to open a food truck—maybe so,” she says. “If I find a commercial kitchen, perhaps I will stick to catering.”
Otto Turkish Street Food is slated to open in the space on November 1, introducing yet more authentic flavors to Charlottesville. Owners Ali Sevindi and Haldun Turgay worked at The Clifton together for five years before officially partnering up. Now, they are excited to serve fast-casual fare like döner kebabs (seasoned meat stacked in the shape of an inverted cone that cooks slowly on a rotisserie) and homemade sauces at the corner of Southwest Second and Water streets. Specializing in wraps and bowls, Otto Turkish will have two rotisseries to choose from; one chicken and one a mix of beef and lamb.
Jughead’s a regular
Dairy Market’s food-and-beverage hall is quickly filling its 18 stalls, adding two more merchants this month. Moo Thru, a favorite ice cream stop for D.C. commuters, is expanding to a fourth location in the heart of Charlottesville. The family-operated creamery behind Moo Thru will supply dairy products to market vendors, including The Milkman’s Bar, the cocktail joint from Ten Course Hospitality. Milkman’s promises to be a ’50s-inspired soda-pop shop straight out of Archie comics—but with a lot more of the hard stuff.