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

Chef Jason Alley of Pasture is teaming up with Brookville to create a small local farm to  make their food even more local. Photo: Sarah Cramer Shields Chef Jason Alley of Pasture is teaming up with Brookville to create a small local farm to make their food even more local. Photo: Sarah Cramer Shields

Zocalo is busting loose. On Monday, February 24, for one night only, Zo.Ca.Lo is turning into Zy.De.Co, serving up Cajun and Creole cuisine in celebration of Mardi Gras. A handful of small plates, ranging from $6-9, will include dishes like gumbo, boudin balls, and Natchitoches meat pies, as well as beignets and bread pudding for dessert. Drink specials include Louisiana favorites like Abita beers and hurricane cocktails. Meanwhile, Crewe d’Bayou will be on hand for live zydeco music. Don’t bother trying to make reservations; just show up at 5pm when the doors open, and order as much food as you can until they run out.

Local restaurants are about to get even more local. Chef Jason Alley of Pasture is teaming up with the crew at Brookville to create a small farm in Manakin-Sabot, between Goochland and Tuckahoe. The restaurateurs hope to supply as much of their own produce as possible, controlling the process “from seed to plate.”

Football season has come to an end, and so has the short-lived era of a sports bar on Fontaine Avenue. Gameday Restaurant Bar & Grill made its debut in August 2013 and featured large TVs, specialty pizzas, bar grub, and beer to appeal to the sports-loving crowd. Six months later, movers were spotted hauling out furniture, the phone goes unanswered, and a “For rent” sign hangs in the front.

Nothing goes with hanger steak and Brussels sprouts quite like…owls? If you’re interested in hanging out with some raptors while chowing down on French cuisine, check out Wining and Dining for Wildlife, a special benefit dinner for the Wildlife Center of Virginia at l’etoile on Monday, February 24. The restaurant and DuCard Vineyards are teaming up to present four courses, including bacon-wrapped dates and pâté grandmere, each paired with select wines. Between courses, you’ll meet a crew of “avian ambassadors,” or non-releasable birds of prey that have been rescued by the Wildlife Center. Admission is $85 per person, plus tax and gratuity, and $20 per ticket will go toward the Wildlife Center of Virginia. The dinner begins at 6:30pm. For reservations call (540) 923-4206, or visit www.ducard vineyards.com/wildlifedinner.

Basil Mediterranean Bistro, the Corner spot that offers French, Greek, Italian, Lebanese, Turkish, and Spanish food all under one roof, has just expanded its repertoire. Owner Raif Antar announced last week that the restaurant now includes an expansive wine bar, featuring a private section that seats 12, more than 80 European beers, Mediterranean wines, an entire section of bubbly, and a late-night bar menu that’s open until 2am on Thursday-Friday. And if you’re craving a panini or a Lebanese pita roll-up but don’t feel like leaving your couch, Basil now delivers from its bar menu until 3am on weekends.

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.

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