Five Finds on Friday: Mitch Willey

by Charlottesville29

Mitch

On Fridays, we feature five food finds from local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from Mitch Willey, owner of Clifton Inn, home to one of Charlottesville’s most influential restaurants, and recent winner of yet another award as C-VILLE’s best hotel or inn.  Clifton has just introduced a brand new a la carte menu, a first for the longtime prix fixe restaurant, which Willey says now “enables guests to stop by for just soup and salad or pasta and dessert, paired with the perfect glass of wine.” Clifton is also fast-approaching a milestone and big celebration. On October 22, the inn will host a 30th anniversary, poolside dinner dance “to honor the many gifted artists who started their culinary careers at Clifton,” says Willey.  Also, that night, Willey says, Clifton “will share some very exciting news. Stay tuned!” Willey’s picks:

1) Corn Cakes at Tip Top.  “I love to start the day being greeted by the delightfully friendly and efficient wait staff at Tip Top on Pantops. I settle into a window booth with my three morning papers (where the natural light is plentiful and I catch a nice view of the Blue Ridge) and order the corn cakes with a side of bacon. Decadent but splendidly so.”

2)  Pimento Cheese Fritters at Maya.  “One of our early chefs at Clifton, Christian Kelly (who the staff quickly designated as our resident George Clooney), has created a cult following at Maya and I am one of those cult members! I especially love to start a delicious dinner with Christian’s pimento fritters — light and cheesy, and the pepper jelly is divine. A perfect start to a terrific meal.”

3)  Pulled Pork at The BBQ Exchange.  “Craig’s pulled pork, with his creative array of sauces, is the way that I reward myself if I have really been working out because the indulgence is so amazing that I can only justify it if I have earned it!”

4)  Grilled Pork Chop with Grilled Peach Salad at Brookville.  “Harrison has so many delightful interpretations of pork that I find myself trying something new each time. In fact, my daughter’s rehearsal dinner was hosted there last Labor Day primarily because of this!”

5) Pear Ravioli at C&O.  “I can’t go very long without a generous helping of Dean Maupin’s pear ravioli at C&O — a dish he featured at my other daughter’s wedding when he was the chef at Clifton. It is so subtle in its flavor and somehow seems almost healthy as the fruit is front and center. As always, Dean gets the sauce just right and while often it is a starter, on occasion I have requested it as a main course since I just can’t get enough.”