By Erin O’Hare and Sam Padgett
After a special dinner service on Wednesday, January 31, the Old Mill Room at the Boar’s Head Inn will close for a major renovation, the first since the restaurant opened in 1965.
The old wooden beams and hardwood floors will remain, says Boar’s Head Resort marketing and communications manager Joe Hanning, but the rest of the space will undergo a redesign, complete with new seating and a modern atmosphere inspired by the existing Old Mill Room, says Hanning. New design elements will include a glass-backed bar between the current restaurant and bistro spaces.
Renovations will begin February 1 and should wrap up in September of this year, says Hanning, but guests at the inn won’t be without an on-site restaurant: There are two other recently renovated places to eat, Racquet’s Restaurant inside the fitness club, and the Birdwood Grill near the golf course. And while the new restaurant will look a bit different, the revised menu “won’t be too far-fetched from what it is now,” Hanning says—it’ll still be fine dining.
Executive chef Dale Ford, who has been with the Boar’s Head Inn since December 2016, has planned a special farewell dinner, Feast of Five Forks, for January 31 (tickets are $95 and can be purchased online). The Old Mill Room has been “the grand dame of dining rooms in Charlottesville” for decades, says Ford, and with this prix-fixe dinner, he wanted to pay homage to the restaurant’s history. Ford and other resort staff gathered old Old Mill Room menus, including the very first menu from 1965, and researched how various dishes would have been served at the time. Ford, who grew up on the Florida/Georgia coast, says he’s especially excited about cooking a stuffed prawn dish that was a menu staple for almost a decade.
Big changes at Bang!
Travis Burgess is the new head chef at Bang!, but he’s no stranger to the Asian tapas restaurant: He started working there 10 years ago, when he was 14, washing dishes.
And if his last name sounds familiar, that’s because Travis is the son of Bang! co-owner Tim Burgess.
Travis took over the kitchen at Bang! earlier this month, and he’s changed about half the menu, which is still Asian tapas, still priced between $4 and $14 per small plate, and still heavy on the veggies. He’s kept longtime Bang! favorites like the kale tortellini and the goat cheese dumplings, and replaced some less-ordered dishes with new ones, including carrots cooked in a cast-iron pan and topped with cashew cream sauce and nori seasoning and an egg noodle and charred eggplant plate. There’s also a dish that Tim thought up: a vegan pastrami-style sandwich made with beets and turmeric sauerkraut.
Travis, who cooked at Trummer’s On Main in Clifton before moving to Charleston, South Carolina, to cook at upscale bistro-style Southern food restaurant Fig, most recently worked as a bread baker at Butcher & Bee in Charleston. And in his quest to incorporate bread into an Asian menu, he’s introduced three kinds of steam buns to Bang!: fried chicken, beef shoulder and king oyster mushroom with broccoli kimchi.
Tilman’s, the wine-and-cheese specialty shop on the Downtown Mall, will begin a series of weekly tasting events that will run through March. The first in the series, a wine-and-cheese pairing, costs $30 (paid in advance), and will take place at the shop at 6:30pm on Wednesday, January 24. Tilman’s co-owner Derek Mansfield says future tastings will include a wine-and-chocolate and cider-and-cheese pairing, among others.
According to a note posted on the door of The Nook, the diner is closed until February. And windows are brown-papered up, so we can’t see what’s going on in there.
On Tuesday, January 30, wine journalist, critic and teacher Steven Spurrier, who helped legitimize the California wine scene in the 1970s, will host a five-course wine dinner at Veritas Vineyard & Winery in Afton. Each course will be paired with a Spurrier-selected wine, and he plans to share plenty of stories from his 50 years in the industry. Tickets for the dinner are $165, and can be purchased at the Virginia Wine Academy’s website.