Tavern-style eatery to open in West Main spot
Andy McClure knew it was time to breathe new life into West Main, A Virginia Restaurant when he closed its doors in August. Despite being sad to say farewell to his 11-year-old restaurant, he was eager to give the space a makeover and bring a new concept to Charlottesville: Introducing Tavern & Grocery upstairs and Lost Saint downstairs, a restaurant/bar combo.
His goal all along was to design the space to honor the building’s history, and he says now it “really looks like you’re going back in time.” But “it’s not going to be themey in that regard,” McClure says, adding that the servers won’t be wearing ruffled shirts. “It is still a modern interpretation of a tavern for sure.”
McClure, who also owns Citizen Burger Bar, The Virginian and The Biltmore, teamed up with David Morgan, whose culinary pedigree includes working as Tucker Yoder’s sous chef at Clifton Inn, to create the menu. Morgan will serve up what McClure describes as classic dishes from tavern experiences around the world, such as a banh mi featuring house-smoked local pork belly and a burger, the “ubiquitous American tavern item.”
“You’ll see things that are familiar to you done in a classy way,” McClure says. The rotating menu will also feature nightly specials, and the restaurant will offer a few grocery items for sale, such as a charcuterie platter.
As for what’s going on downstairs, his brother, Patrick, who’s been involved with all of McClure’s restaurants in one capacity or another, will run Lost Saint, a speakeasy-style bar.
“It’ll have an old-school bar style, a little bit more rock ‘n’ roll down there,” McClure says. “It will definitely feel kind of dark and fun.”
Lost Saint’s menu will include classic drinks, plus specialty cocktails featuring infused liquors, smoked elements and housemade ingredients like bitters and tinctures.
McClure’s plan is to have both the restaurant and downstairs bar up and running by mid- to late-January.
The lights are out in Just Curry’s dining room on the Downtown Mall, and the restaurant has closed up shop. But a note on the door promises customers they can still get their hands on dishes such as chicken tikka masala and vegetarian tofu curry with basmati rice—Just Curry is transitioning to a wholesale operation, and part of its menu is already available through Relay Foods.
“I’ve been doing Just Curry for a while now, on and off for the past nine years, in the retail arena,” says owner Alex George, who’s also an owner of Commonwealth Restaurant & Skybar. “And while I’m getting away from the retail operation, it’s not going away. Wholesale is a new feel, a new challenge for me.”
Obviously he still needs a kitchen space where he can whip up the Indo-Caribbean dishes he’s distributing, so you’ll still often find him in the Just Curry kitchen. He hates to see the dining room go to waste, though, and he’s toying with the idea of sharing the space with another restaurateur.
“I’m able to do what I do at any time whether it’s midnight or early in the morning,” George says. “There are other folks out there who have dreams and aspirations of opening a restaurant, and I’m always happy to help out any time I can.”
And when George isn’t standing over pots of simmering spicy curries and basmati rice, he’s using his classic French training as a gourmet caterer.
“It’s all part of getting away from the whole retail arena to focus more on catering and wholesaling,” George says. “Just creating different foods that bring me joy.”
For more information about his catering menus, call 242-3211.
The list of wineries available to the public for Saturday booze tours and bachelorette parties just got a little shorter. As of January 1, Mountfair Vineyards is closed to the public and only available to its club members.
According to a succinct press release sent to club members in December, this year marks the winery’s 10th year of production. Mountfair will only open its doors one Saturday a month for events for its club members, and no longer offers public tastings on the weekends. Membership levels include three, six or 12 bottles per quarter, with 15, 20 and 25 percent discounts respectively on all purchases.
For more information about how you can access Mountfair’s now exclusive wines, visit mountfair.com/wine-clubs.
Third spot for Three Notch’d
Good news for beer-lovers in Richmond: Charlottesville’s Three Notch’d Brewing Company will soon open a new brewery and taproom down I-64 in the Scott’s Addition neighborhood. According to a Richmond BizSense article posted on the brewery’s Facebook page, construction on the 4,000-square-foot space begins this month, with a second-quarter projected opening. The concept for the new location centers around collaboration, according to the article, and the team will work closely with other brewers and restaurateurs in the city.
Three Notch’d has been serving up locally made beers since its launch in 2012, and its first expansion was in 2014 with the opening of a tasting room and brewhouse in Harrisonburg.