The Little Food City That Could

by Charlottesville29

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