Ordinarily, the annual update reflects openings, closings, and changes in quality. This year, however, circumstances warrant a one-time exemption from cuts for changes in quality. Whatever the criteria might be for The Charlottesville 29, they do not include: “ability to thrive during a pandemic.” Now that restaurants are resuming normal service, restaurants of The 2020 Charlottesville 29 that survived the pandemic are included in The 2021 Charlottesville 29. It is a great credit to the resilience of those restaurants that, after 14 months of a crippling pandemic, all but one remains open.
While the sole 2020 closure would typically leave just one opening for new entries to The 2021 Charlottesville 29, again an exception is warranted. To limit this year’s additions to just one would concede an unnecessary victory to COVID-19. Therefore, this year it will be The Charlottesville 29 +1. Barring any more pandemics, this is a one-time change: the Charlottesville 29 will return to a list of 29 in 2022.
Ten years ago today, this site was launched, with the words: “Suppose the number of restaurants in the Charlottesville area were reduced to a mere 29. What would be the ideal 29?” The aim at the time was modest: draw attention to people and restaurants in the Charlottesville food community that warrant attention.
Above all of these experiences, though, the greatest rewards of the last ten years have been the relationships grown with so many wonderful people. Even before launching this site, I knew we had a special food community here in Charlottesville. What an honor it has been to learn just how special.
Ten years ago this month, The Charlottesville 29 was launched, setting out to answer: if there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29? The decade since then has brought an explosion of new restaurants, enhancing a Charlottesville food community that was already excellent. This website has documented much of the growth.
Perhaps even more impressive, though, are the restaurants of The Charlottesville 29 that have been with us all ten years. In an industry notorious for short life spans, these standard-bearers not only existed when The Charlottesville 29 began in 2012, but are still going strong. Salute:
There’s a common misconception that mom-and-pop’s are a thing of the past – a relic of a bygone era. Here in Charlottesville, restaurants run by couples are all over town.
The latest addition is Farmacy, which opens this week in the CODE building. Farmacy gives a brick-and-mortar home to the food truck that Jessica Lino runs with her husband Gabino. The Linos met at Beer Run, where he cooked and she waited tables. “He is from Mexico and didn’t know a lot of English, so we got to know each other while practicing each others’ languages as we worked together,” said Jessica. Their relationship blossomed, and they are now married with a five year old son.
They also share a passion for nutritious food, as Jessica holds a holistic nutrition degree and Gabino grew up eating local, organic foods in Mexico. Founded on the belief that it’s not necessary to sacrifice flavor for health, Farmacy’s motto is: “Nourish your body while satisfying your cravings.”
When COVID-19 arrived last March, the Linos went all in on their food truck. With so many people isolated at home, they scheduled regular visits to Charlottesville neighborhoods, and quickly built a following. “This helped them while also keeping a roof over our heads,” said Jessica. “We ended up serving over twenty neighborhoods during the pandemic and met lots of wonderful Charlottesvillians.”
Building on that success, Farmacy is now a takeout restaurant, serving, like their truck, Mexican-inspired organic “superfood”, built on local ingredients like Seven Hills beef, Papa Weaver’s Pork, and Local Food Hub chicken. “We thought it was the perfect next little step in Farmacy’s evolution, and we are so happy to be a part of our city’s beautiful downtown mall,” said Jessica.
The new menu keeps truck favorites like the Super Naan Taco – garlic naan bread stuffed with al pastor pork, “super” guacamole, lettuce, minced kale, cilantro, onion, feta, and sour cream. But, the brick-and-mortar kitchen has also allowed the Linos to add new items. For breakfast, there is Jess’s Keto Breakfast, which combines eggs, cheese, sauteéd asparagus, and minced kale and onions, on a bed of lettuce with sliced avocado; and organic gluten free pancakes with cinnamon and vanilla, topped with maple syrup and a rotating selection of fresh fruit.
For lunch Gabino’s favorite is the cheesesteak, which piles beef on an Albemarle Baking Co. torta roll, with house-made garlic mayo, “super” guacamole, hormone free provolone and pepper jack cheese, sautéed organic peppers and onions, lettuce, cilantro and a side of house-made salsa. Gabino is especially fond of the salsa, for which he chars and blends habaneros and chili de arbol chilis. “Watch out, we call it super spicy salsa for a reason,” said Gabino.
Jessica, meanwhile, likes the new breakfast burrito. Rolled in a flour tortilla are local, hormone-free, pasture-raised eggs from Hinde Harmony Farm, black beans, pepper jack, minced kale, onions and avocado cream. Jessica likes to add the optional Papa Weaver’s Pork chorizo.
Farmacy’s grand opening is Monday, January 3. Located at 222 West Main St., Farmacy’s hours are Monday 8 am – 3 pm, Tuesday through Thursday 8 am – 6 pm, and Friday 8 am – 8 pm.