Overheard on the restaurant scene: This week’s foodie news


Bacontini at Blue Moon Diner. Photo: Eric Kelley Bacontini at Blue Moon Diner. Photo: Eric Kelley

Ever tried chocolate covered bacon? Now’s your chance. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, My Chocolate Shoppe is open for business! Located at 406 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall, is open 11am-7pm Tuesday-Saturday, and 12-5pm on Sunday. Stop by for a box of treats for a loved one—or for yourself—this week.

An elusive new Downtown Mall restaurant opens on Wednesday, February 12. The Alley Light, in a room above Revolutionary Soup, brings together a host of talent from the local food and drink scene. Restaurateur Will Richey of The Whiskey Jar and Revolutionary Soup has chef Jose De Brito of Ciboulette and Fleurie manning the kitchen, and Blue Light Grill and Pasture mixologist Micah LeMon running the bar. The elegant “club room” offers a list of carefully selected wines, cocktails with top shelf liquors, and microbrews. As for the food, in addition to platters of cheese and housemade charcuterie, the menu includes small plates like cured cod gratin, octopus carpaccio, and beef tartare. For reservations call 296-5003.

Blue Moon Diner knows that the way to your heart is through your stomach. If you’re looking for something different for Valentine’s Day this year, check out Blue Moon’s Bacon Lovers 2014 meal. The $30 prix fixe menu includes five courses that all feature sweet, smoky bacon. You’ll begin by picking three starters from a choice of six, like bacon corn chowder and Mona Lisa pasta salad with pancetta. The menu offers three bacon-centric main courses, and for dessert, indulge in Chaps banana ice cream with bacon caramel praline sauce, or bacon gingerbread with cinnamon whipped cream. And to drink? A BLTini, with Smirnoff, tomato water, tribuno dry, chopped lettuce and chive, and, of course, bacon.

Can’t get enough waffle fries? Keep an eye out for a new Chick-Fil-A, the second largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain in the U.S., which may be coming to Pantops if approved by the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors. If you want to weigh in on the development proposal unanimously approved last month by the Albemarle County Planning Commission, stop by the County Office Building at 6pm on Wednesday, February 12, for a public hearing.

State law could make life a little easier for Virginia beer brewers. Richmond’s Style Weekly reported that Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery owners Sean-Thomas and Lisa Pumphrey are pushing for new legislation that would create a farm brewery category within state law, allowing farm breweries to operate the way wineries do. The bill passed the Senate last week, and is now before the House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources. In 2012, Richmond brewers successfully changed state law to allow breweries to offer on-premise tastings and sell beer for consumption on-site.

As of Wednesday, February 5, Public Fish & Oyster is officially open for business. Located at 513 W. Main St., the new seafood restaurant featuring a raw bar is open 4pm to 2am Friday and Saturday, and 4pm to midnight during the rest of the week. Happy hour is 4-6:30pm Tuesday through Friday, and features a selection of oysters for just $1.50 apiece, plus beer and wine specials. For dinner reservations call 995-5542.

On Saturday, February 22, New York Times best seller and award-winning author of The Philosopher’s Table, Marietta McCarty, will be at The Commonwealth Restaurant & Skybar for a luncheon and interactive discussion. McCarty’s book features menus for 12 monthly evenings, including music, cultural discussion topics, and, obviously, recipes. The cost is $35 per person, and the menu includes chili grilled chicken, roasted yellow squash, and chocolate bread pudding. For reservations call 202-7728.

We’re always keeping our eyes and ears out for the latest news on Charlottesville’s food and drink scene, so pick up a paper and check c-ville.com/living each week for the latest Small Bites. Have a scoop for Small Bites? E-mail us at bites@c-ville.com.