The Charlottesville 29

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

Category: Introductions

Introducing The Milkman’s Bar: Ten Course Hospitality Cocktail Bar Coming to The Dairy Market

The Dairy Market continues to announce additions to its market hall opening this fall in the historic Monticello Dairy Building. The latest is The Milkman’s Bar, a cocktail bar from Will Richey and Ten Course Hospitality that pays homage to Americana drugstore soda fountains. The physical centerpiece of the market hall, The Milkman’s Bar will be flanked by the hall’s food artisans, allowing guests to sidle up to the bar with food from market vendors, or just drop by for drinks and people-watching.

Running the bar are two veterans of Ten Course Hospitality projects. River Hawkins has led the bar of The Bebedero since it opened. And, Mike Stewart launched the bar at Kama. At The Milkman’s Bar, the duo plan recreations of lost American classic cocktails, using modern techniques and presentations. Also featured will be adult non-alcoholic drinks, a cocktail program addition growing in demand.

For both Stewart and Hawkins, the foundation of the bar experience is engagement with guests. As the center of a community-gathering place, The Milkman’s Bar will allow them to take that engagement to a new level. “Something that is really important to me is fostering a sense of community and doing my part to be inclusive,” said Stewart. The new bar will also allow the duo to get “really creative,” said Hawkins, without taking themselves too seriously. Riffing on the soda fountain theme, for example, The Big Tickle is Hawkins’ grown-up version of an egg cream, using a base of bourbon and amaro.

The Milkman’s Bar will open upon The Dairy Market’s opening this fall.

Introducing Dumplin’: Chef Laura Fonner Has Left Duner’s to Launch a Food Truck and Catering Business

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It’s been quite a stretch for chef Laura Fonner. Last year, she won $20K in on the Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games. Next, in May, she won Best Chef in The Daily Progress’s Readers’ Choice awards. Then, just yesterday came news that she had been invited back to appear on a tournament of champions on Guy’s Grocery Games. And now, the longtime Duner’s chef has left the restaurant she helped build for a new chapter in her cooking career. Opening soon will be Dumplin’, a food truck launched by Fonner together with Champion Hospitality Group.

The truck’s specialty, of course, will be the same famous dumplings that helped her take the top prize on Guy’s Grocery Games and which one top Charlottesville chef once named the best thing he ate all year. But, she also plans riffs on other favorite dishes from over the years.

A huge supporter of the Charlottesville community, Fonner has been a long-time contributor to the nonprofit PACEM, which provides winter shelter to the Charlottesville-area homeless population, as well as founding a program that brings together chefs, farmers, and restaurants to help feed the homeless. Now, freed from the white-table-cloth restaurant where she cooked for more than a decade, Fonner looks forward to taking her food to a wider audience. “This idea is something I have spent years crafting and it makes my soul happy,” said Fonner. “A food truck allows me to bring my dumplings to the community in a way that is affordable and accessible, so everyone can come share my love of food.”

In addition to running the food truck, Fonner will be available for catering and private dinners. Stay tuned for details on how to book her.

Introducing Kanak: the Milan team brings Indian food to 5th Street Station

Kanak

Charanjeet Ghotra is at it again. The co-owner of several revered Indian restaurants in Virginia has opened yet another.

A native of Punjab, India, Ghotra came to the United States in 1996, at the age of 20, as he puts it: “with the American dream in my mind.” Family friends first put him to work at a Long Island restaurant, and then sent him to Virginia Beach to help with another they owned, Nawab. There, he met his future business partner, Jaswander Singh. Now they have four restaurants.

It took a few years of learning the ropes before the duo opened their first one in 2002, Milan Indian Cuisine in Lynchburg. The following year they opened another Milan, in Charlottesville. And in 2009, they added Anokha, in Richmond. Each earned a loyal following. And, then this week came their fourth restaurant, Kanak Indian Kitchen, in 5th Street Station.

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The idea behind Kanak is simple: bring their beloved Indian food to another part of the town. Milan fans on the south side of Charlottesville can now enjoy better access to favorites like chicken tikka masala, vin d’ alho, saag, and korma. But, beyond these standards, Kanak (Sanskrit for “gold” or “wheat”) also introduces new dishes not found at Milan.

A menu of small plates for sharing, for example, includes dishes like Rechado Prawns – prawns with chili, coconut, sugar cane vinegar, tamarind, and garlic. Or, one of Ghotra’s favorites, Stuffed Aloo Tiki – potato patties with a toasted spice mix, yogurt, and chutney.

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For entrees, Ghotra likes the catfish (yes, catfish!) – Punjabi Masala Catfish – spiked with garam masala, ajwain, lime juice, and tadka – Indian spices tempered in ghee. Chukundari Kofta, meanwhile, removes meat from the traditional kofta meatball, and replaces it with a bright red minced beets, cashew, and potato, encased in semolina, bathed in creamy spinach yogurt sauce.

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Kanak is in 5th Street Station at 385 Merchant Walk Square Suite 400. Lunch is Tuesday through Sunday, 11:30 am to 3 pm. Dinner is Tuesday through Sunday, 5 pm – 10 pm.

 

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