Studio IX welcomes The Carpe Café; Hardywood opens taproom

Hardywood’s taproom at 1000 W. Main St. plans to use 100 percent renewable electricity through Dominion’s Green Power Program, and all of its furniture and fixtures are made from reclaimed wood. Photo by Kate Magee Hardywood’s taproom at 1000 W. Main St. plans to use 100 percent renewable electricity through Dominion’s Green Power Program, and all of its furniture and fixtures are made from reclaimed wood. Photo by Kate Magee

For a while now, Matt Rohdie has wanted to grow his Carpe Donut business into something beyond his bakery and shop on Allied Lane and the truck that’s a regular fixture at Fridays After Five (and plenty of parties and weddings). So when Studio IX owner James Barton approached him with the possibility of joining forces to open a café in the spot formerly inhabited by Shark Mountain Coffee Co., Rohdie was game.

The Carpe Café, which had its soft opening a couple of weeks ago and will open officially on Friday, February 17, “is an aggregation, a team effort from the Charlottesville [food] community,” says Rohdie. It touts Carpe Donuts in addition to food from local makers such as Revolutionary Soup, Hudson Henry Baking Co., Farmstead Ferments, BreadWorks, Mad Hatter Foods, Ula Tortilla, NoBull Burger and Speedie B’s Energy Bars. Eggs (used for breakfast sandwiches) will come from the Local Food Hub, and drinks include Mudhouse and Trager Brothers coffees, Snowing in Space cold brew nitro coffee and Blue Ridge Bucha.

Rohdie and Barton are working with the creators of The Festy Experience to bring some music into the mix, too. On Saturday, February 18, the café will hold a bluegrass brunch put together by The Artist Farm (the folks responsible for The Festy Experience).

Rohdie says the café, which will be open from 8am to 5pm Monday through Saturday, uses certified organic ingredients whenever possible, but he acknowledges that often the organic certification (which costs tens of thousands of dollars) is too expensive for a small local purveyor. A benefit of working within a local food scene like Charlottesville’s is that Rohdie often knows the producers well enough to know that their processes are organic, sustainable and trustworthy, even if they don’t hold the USDA organic certification. “With a small business, it becomes a relationship of trust between the owner, the purveyor and the customer,” says Rohdie.

On tap

The Hardywait is over. At noon on Saturday, February 18, Richmond-based Hardywood Park Craft Brewery will open its pilot brewery and taproom on the ground floor of the Uncommon building at 1000 W. Main St.

According to a Hardywood press release, the taproom is a research and development center that will help Hardywood choose new signature beers via an “immediate feedback loop.” In short: Try one of the experimental recipes concocted by lead brewer Kevin Storm and assistant brewer/apprentice Anna Warneke in the on-site 3.5-barrel brewhouse, then tell them what you think via a comment card or one of the iPads located throughout the 150-person capacity taproom. Popular recipes will be considered for wider production.

During the grand opening, they’ll broadcast the UVA men’s basketball game against UNC on the taproom’s big-screen TVs while JM Stock folks cook burgers and sausages from noon to 4pm. Pilot batches of the Shipman’s Porter, Arschandler Weisenbock and the Byki American black IPA will be on tap.

The taproom will be open from noon to 10pm Tuesdays through Sundays. As for food, they’ll have fresh-baked pretzels made with Hardywood’s signature Singel Belgian blonde ale served with beer cheese and beer mustard, as well as other snacks from Virginia-based purveyors.

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