The Charlottesville 29

If there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?

The Little Food City That Could

Mt Rushmore dinner

Charlottesville residents have long known of the wonderful food we enjoy here. But, in recent years, the rest of the nation is increasingly taking notice of a city whose food quality outsizes its population.  The latest example is last week’s announcement of semi-finalists for the 2015 James Beard Awards, where Charlottesville cleaned house. In Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic, the twenty semifinalists include not one but two Charlottesville chefs.  Angelo Vangelopoulos (pictured), of The Ivy Inn, earned his second consecutive nod, while Peter Chang received his first.  The region spans Washington D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania,  New Jersey, Delaware, and Virginia.  Meanwhile, Diane Flynt, of Foggy Ridge Cider, is one of twenty semifinalists for the nation’s most Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional.

And, for the first time ever, a Charlottesville restaurant made the list of semifinalists for best new restaurant in the country.  The Alley Light joined a list studded with big city restaurants from big names like Jose Andres and Curtis Stone.  If you look at the approximate populations of the metropolitan areas of the best new restaurant semi-finalists, one stands out:

  • New York, NY:  19,950,000
  • Los Angeles, CA:  13,100,000
  • Chicago, IL:  9,500,000
  • Dallas, TX:  6,800,000
  • Washington, D.C:  5,950,000
  • Philadelphia, PA:  5,800,000
  • Atlanta, GA:  5,500,000
  • Boston, MA:  4,700,000
  • San Francisco, CA: 4,500,000
  • Minneapolis, MN:  3,500,000
  • Portland, OR:  2,100,000
  • Las Vegas, NV: 2,000,000
  • Austin, TX:  1,900,000
  • Little Rock, AK:  720,000
  • Charleston, SC:  712,000
  • Savannah, GA: 366,000
  • Portland, ME:  203,000
  • Charlottesville, VA: 118,000

Zy.De.Co. II


Anyone remember last February when Zo.Ca.Lo turned into Zy.De.Co for one night only?  It was such a success that they are doing it again this year. On Sunday, February 22, for one night only, Zo.Ca.Lo will again turn into Zy.De.Co, with Cajun small plates, live music, and more.  Details:

Date: Sunday, February 22, 2015
Time: 5:00 pm until the food is gone
Menu: Cajun/Creole small plates, between $6 and $10 each
Food: Crawfish etouffee, gumbo, boudin balls, beignets, etc.
Drink: Specialty beer and cocktails of the region
Music: Live Zydeco by Crewe d’Bayou
No reservations.

Last year we enjoyed the  gumbo, pictured above, and the boudin balls, and both were outstanding. Follow along for more info on Zy.De.Co’s Facebook page.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

James Beard Semifinalist: The Alley Light


Someone once quipped that the Academy Awards are the James Beard Awards of the movies.  That’s how significant some consider the annual food awards of the James Beard Foundation.  Today, the Foundation announced the semifinalists for the 2015 awards.  Charlottesville’s own The Alley Light is among the twenty-five semifinalists for Best New Restaurant in the country.   Congratulations to The Alley Light. In a category often dominated by big names in big cities, it is a great honor for the restaurant, and for Charlottesville dining.




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