Brookville Owners to Take Over Gibson’s Grocery

MenuJennifer and Harrison Keevil, owners of Brookville Restaurant on the DTM, will be taking over Gibson’s Grocery on Hinton Avenue and open in late July, under the name Keevil & Keevil Grocery and Kitchen.

What can you expect? Made-to-order subs, take-away sandwiches and salads, and a couple rotating monthly sandwich ideas dreamed up by the Keevil’s and their chef friends. They will also be serving up breakfast sandwiches and other breakfast fare, along with smoothies….and plan eventually to offer take-away dinner options.

Of course, there will be regular grocery items, wine, beer, etc….with an emphasis on products from Virginia.

“The customers of Gibson’s Grocery have come to love the quality of service form the Gibson Family for the last 30 years and Jennifer and I look to continue to uphold those standards for years to come,” says Harrison.

Hot bites: New Neapolitan pizza place opening

dish-pizza-shay-aLooks like some authentic Neapolitan Pizza is coming to (well, near the DTM) in the form of a place called Lampo, the brainchild of a couple of MAS and Tavola chefs, who’ll be taking over The Farm Cville space (they’re moving to a larger location) next to Spudnuts. This is good news for pizzaphiles, as the Neapolitan is the real thing, a 200-year old recipe using a special flour from Naples, called cabuto, and fired up in a wood-fired oven that reaches temperatures up to 800 degrees. It’s cooked fast and hot in only 60 to 90 seconds, and best eaten right on the spot. There’s even an Italian association that protects the professionalism of the pizza makers in Italy and around the world, making sure real Neapolitan Pizza is made according to tradition, called the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN). Look for it to be open sometime in the fall.

Richmond restaurateur buys El Puerto’s

Tasty tacos from Richmond coming to the DTM?

Tasty tacos from Richmond coming to the DTM?

Looks like El Puerto on the DTM got an offer they couldn’t refuse. According to the TimesDispatch, Richmond restaurateur Hamooda Shami, owner of New York Deli, Don’t Look Back and Portrait House restaurants in Carytown, just purchased El Puerto’s at 223 West Main Street, next to the Whiskey Jar and Brookville:

“Shami said he came across the restaurant while staying in Charlottesville recently and saw potential in the space. He introduced himself to El Puerto’s owner and within a week he’d struck up a deal to buy the restaurant.

Shami says he’s still working out the details on the name and concept, but he’s partnering with Don’t Look Back co-owner Nathaniel Gutierrez on the Charlottesville spot and it likely will be a version of the pair’s popular Carytown taco shop.”


According to the TD, the place is expected to open in October. Stay tuned for more details. For a look at the Don’t Look Back concept, click here.

Full Circle: Blue Mountain to take over South Street

blue mountainBack in the late 1990s, a young graduate of Hampden-Sydney College became my office-mate at a doomed Internet-start-up called Value America. It was his first real job out of college, and he hated it. We shared an office the size of a broom closet with no windows, and created and cranked out stupid ads for laptops and Weber grills that ran in USAToday and the The Wall Street Journal. We had greedy hopes that our stock options would be worth something one day. Alas, Value America went down in flames. One Christmas, though, young Taylor Smack received a home beer-brewing kit. The rest, of course, is local history. Now, Smack and his partners have purchased South Street Brewery on the DTM, where Smack actually worked for five years as he was hatching his beer-making plans. Below, you’ll find a release from Smack – who was always a fine writer, by the way – that’ll give you some details about his plans for the place. This, my friends, is a welcome development for the DTM. – David McNair

South street

Is the Continental Divide Going to Join Christian’s Pizza in Richmond?

continental divideThe Continental Divide occupies a sliver of a room on a nearly desolate corner of W. Main Street right before the bridge that crosses in front of the Amtrak station. It’s next to another restaurant, the exquisite L’Etoile, and close to a pawn shop, and easy to miss if not for the neon sign that whispers Get In Here from the front window.

It’s also frequently packed with folks lined up to and beyond the entrance. It’s first come, first serve for the Tex-Mex inspired cuisine—the flank steak has always been a personal favorite, and on a recent visit the fried tomatillo salad really hit the spot—and a place that seems unique to Charlottesville. There’s only one location and you better get there early if you want one of the high seated booths or the rectangle cocktail tables near the front or, if you’re fortunate, a seat at the bar.

Unlike other Charlottesville food staples like Bodos, Christian’s, Sticks (which already has a Richmond site), or Marco and Luca’s, the Divide has never replicated, and that’s always been part of its appeal. Even though it’s a favorite of so many residents, the Divide still has a way of feeling like a personal secret, so it was surprising to read in Richmond’s Style Weekly that they are opening a branch in RVA at 2501 W. Main St.

The reaction from Charlottesville expatriates must have overwhelmed because the Divide felt compelled to temper the news on their Facebook page: “Ok ok ok ok! Hold the phones! While no deal has been signed in Richmond as of now, we are very excited to see what the future may hold, and appreciate the enthusiasm of the Richmond community!”

Reached by phone, a representative of the restaurant said much the same, that the news was mere “word of mouth” and that “nothing has been signed.” To be clear, the Divide has not denied they are opening a new place, and contacted by e-mail, Style Weekly reports that an official announcement is expected in the next two weeks.

Meanwhile, the weekly’s short piece also mentioned that a Christian’s Pizza is opening in the west end of Richmond. First reported in Richmond BizSense, the restaurant is set to debut sometime this spring at 7003-A Three Chopt Road inside the Village Shopping Center. “The beginning of next month is the most likely scenario,” said Andrew Vaughn by phone in Richmond where he is currently spending much of his time trying to pull everything together.

The founder and still co-owner of Rapture said he was “looking for something to sink his teeth into” when he decided to open a Christian’s in Richmond, seemingly the next logical step not only for him but a franchise that already has four locations in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Vaughn hopes that the pizzeria’s ornate and diversely topped pizza by the slice will captivate west end RVA as it did downtown Charlottesville more than a decade ago. To that end, the new Christian’s will be offering a few new types of pizza (and salads), as well as resurrecting the Sicilian, a thick-crusted former feature at the original downtown location.

That task will fall to Christian Tamm, the founder and owner of the downtown Christian’s (the others are privately owned), and Vaughn’s business associate in this newest chapter of the popular pizza place. In the mid-2000s, the two opened the Christian’s on UVA’s corner before selling it in 2009, and have decided to partner once again. “I missed the fun of it and the whole concept,” Vaughn explained. “I love Christian’s.”

Updated 3/12/2014

New DTM restaurant: P4 to become Red Pump, A Tuscan Kitchen

Red Pump Tuscan Kitchen Facebook page.

Red Pump Tuscan Kitchen Facebook page.

You’ve probably noticed that Positively 4th Street has been closed and gutted. That’s because its going to become the Red Pump Tuscan Kitchen. Looks like there are some heavy hitters behind the venture, too, namely DMB manager Coran Capshaw and P4 owner Alan Taylor, along with Pippin Hill Farm owners Lynn and Dean Andrews. No wonder a recent post on the “Red Pump” (we predict people will just naturally shorten it to this, a la Skybar) Facebook page has the new owners down in San Miguel, Mexico (again) having custom-made tables and chairs built for the new restaurant. They’re going for a sophisticated, yet casual trattoria vibe (though inspiration for dishes will come from other Mediterranean regions) , complete with a wood-fired pizza oven, home-made pasta, tasty cured meats and cheeses, and a focus on locally sourced foods, of course.  They promise a “lively social atmosphere where family and friends can gather,” and are shooting for an May 2014 opening. Stay tuned.

Correction: 2/21/2014: According to the folks at Red Pump, the official name will be “Red Pump, A Tuscan Kitchen.”

“We hope to take fine dining on the downtown mall to the next level,”says Peter de Saint Phalle, the marketing director for the restaurant group.  “We will focus on supporting local farms and featuring organic meats and produce in our menu. Pizza here is thin crusted, wood fired, and topped with fresh ingredients of the highest quality.”

Saint Phalle emphasized that the Red Pump will not be a late night bar, but rather a “elegant atmosphere where family and friends can gather and feel at home with our staff.”

Quality will be an emphasis as well, from their signature cocktails and local wines, to their house made pastas.

“We are dedicated living up to their expectations. Our inspiration is in our name. Tuscan cooking relies on hardy food that won’t weigh you down. Fresh vegetables, olive oil rather than butter, baked rather than fried. For us, healthy plus hardy equals happiness.”

New place! The Alley Light shines on Second Street

Alley light

The Alley Light is tucked away on Second Street NW between Rev Soup and Downtown Thai. Photo from The Alley Light Facebook page.

Update 3.23.14: check out this new Happy Hour deal at The Alley Light!   $2 drafts and apéritifs from 4:30 to 6:30pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.

Had a chance to check out The Alley Light, a new place on the DTM opened by Will Richey of Rev Soup and the Whiskey Jar. As one person with us said when we walked in, “I don’t feel like we’re in Charlottesville anymore.” Indeed, tucked away in an actual alley on 2nd Street NW, in-between Rev Soup and Downtown Thai, Will says the place was inspired by places like the Algonquin Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, a kind of restaurant/lounge that has a high-end yet comfortable vibe. There’s a main room with big, comfortable chairs around low-set coffee tables, perfect for a serious meeting of the minds or a late-night drink. This is a cool, grown-up place to hang out, read the paper, bring a date for a real intimate evening, or just escape from your typical DTM venue.

You’ll find local beer and wine, a menu of specialty cocktails, reasonably priced small-plate dishes like pork belly, mussels on the half shell, marinated calamari, and mushroom crepes. There’s also a selection of larger, shared dishes, like a big cheese board or veggie board, a seafood plate that includes shrimp, cod, scallops, salmon and squid, plus beef tartare, octopus, a veal, foie gras and sweet bread terrine, and much more. Seriously, check this place out on their official opening night, Wednesday, February 12.