The Charlottesville 29

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

Category: News

#18: Ednam – The Market at Bellair

Photo by Do Me A Flavor.

The Turkey Sandwich

There is something distinctly American about our love of turkey. And, it’s not just Thanksgiving. Nowhere in the world does turkey dominate lunch boxes, sandwich boards, and refrigerator drawers the way it does here. It is the most popular deli meat in the country.

When it comes to turkey sandwiches, though, some purists insist on turkey that is freshly roasted. Others have come to prefer the processed turkey products more common at deli counters, supermarkets, and sandwich shops. In fact, it is this latter style of turkey meat that inspired the career of the most famous sandwich maker Charlottesville has ever produced. Mason Hereford founded the first sandwich shop to be named Best New Restaurant in the Country, Turkey and the Wolf. But long before he graced magazine covers and award lists for his New Orleans restaurant, Hereford grew up in Charlottesville, and credits his love affair for sandwiches to a place he’d go twice a week: The Market at Bellair.

Founded in 1991 by former caterers, The Market has since expanded from its Ivy gas station location to become such an institution that almost everyone has their go-to order from its menu of elaborate sandwiches, many with local names like Afton, Farmington, and Keswick. While all are delicious, the Ednam is hardest to resist. Boar’s Head maple turkey joins bacon, Havarti, lettuce, tomato, and avocado, on freshly baked bread. The kicker is the market’s own herb mayonnaise, an ingredient so habit-forming that some people go twice a week.

#18: Ednam – The Market at Bellair
The Charlottesville 29 of Sandwiches

Others of Note: Gobbfather at Ivy Provisions (GFA), Country Gentleman at Taste Shack (GFA), Herb Oven Roasted Turkey at Market Street Market, After the Hunt at Hunt Country Market & Deli, The Smokin’ at The Market at Bellair (GFA), The Drum Fill From In the Air Tonight at Chickadee, Turkey Muffaletta at Mona Lisa, Turkey Jack at Kitchen(ette) (GFA), Fifeville at Petite MarieBette, Hot Sicilian at Dürty Nelly’s, Farmington at The Market at Bellair (GFA), Turkey Bacon Club at Revolutionary Soup, Birdwood at The Market at Bellair (GFA); Vegetarian Alternatives: Yogaville at The Market at Bellair (GFA), Sly Fox at Hunt Country Market & Deli

Torch Passed: Duner’s Sold to Wilson Richey and Jonathan Corey

As Duner’s owner Bob Caldwell approached retirement, regulars held their breath. What would become of their beloved institution without the man who had run it for decades?

Worry no more. Just as Brian Fox did with Bodo’s, Dave Simpson did with C&O, and John Tice did with John’s, Caldwell made a point of finding a buyer who could sustain the identity of an icon that means so much to its community. That buyer?  Restaurateur Wilson Richey, and business partner Jonathan Corey.

“Like so many long time restaurants, we’ve become part of daily life in this area of the county,” said Caldwell of his restaurant, a fixture in The Charlottesville 29. “I’ve been fortunate to have a great group of regular customers and a very loyal and longtime staff. It’s a great combination, and increasingly rare in this world. One of the reasons I sold to Will and Jonathan was that they want to continue that.”

Indeed, for Duner’s fate, it’s hard to imagine a better steward than Richey, the most prolific Charlottesville restaurateur of our time. In addition to James Beard semifinalist The Alley Light, Richey has founded innovative restaurants like The Whiskey Jar, Brasserie Saison, The Bebedero, South & Central, Café Frank, Milkman’s, and The Pie Chest. And, though he may be best known for his creativity in projects like these, Richey is also no stranger to taking over an existing institution. In fact, the first restaurant he ever owned was Revolutionary Soup, which he purchased in 2005, and helped cement as a Charlottesville staple.

Now co-owner of Duner’s, the seasoned restaurateur has the good sense to leave well enough alone. While over time the restaurant may begin to bear the stamp of Richey and Corey, Duner’s will still be Duner’s. Richey:

Duner’s is a Charlottesville classic. Many of my friends and family are regulars, and it is important to this town and the area. Duner’s is surrounded by love, from the staff as well as from the regular customers. You can’t buy or fake that. When you have that much love for a restaurant that has been open as long as Duner’s has been, you have a very special thing, a part of our culture in this town. My goal in taking over the leadership is to continue its traditions and honor the work and patronage that has gone into its enduring significance.

Caldwell spent 39 years at Duner’s, serving 1.3 million meals. It would be too much to expect another 39 years from Richey and Corey. But, Charlottesville can rest easy that one of its institutions remains in good hands.

For more on this story, check out this week’s food segment on Charlottesville Right Now.

“Better Together”: Charlottesville’s Champion Brewing Company and Reason Beer to Merge

One makes Five Pillars Ale. The other makes Collaboration 29. Now, two of Charlottesville’s most acclaimed breweries, each loyal supporters of the community, are merging. Champion Brewing Company and Reason Beer.

While both parties expect the merger to bring behind-the-scenes efficiencies, little will change for fans of their beer, they say. Reason’s Jeff Raileanu becomes Champion’s CFO. Champion’s operations will move from Woolen Mills to Reason’s headquarters on Seminole Trail. And, the breweries will enjoy improved buying, production, and marketing power. All the while, each brewery will keep making its same flagship beers, with the same brewers, recipes, and staff as before. Tap room locations also remain unchanged.

Among the ties that bind the two breweries is a love of Charlottesville. Champion’s founder and two Reason co-founders were all born at the old Martha Jefferson hospital in downtown Charlottesville. With Charlottesville in their blood, they are active in local philanthropy and share a drive to preserve locally-owned breweries. “With long-time Charlottesville connections and a real love for this community, the culture fit between Reason and Champion made sense,” said Raileanu. “It’s an exciting opportunity for two like-minded local companies to combine to be better together.”

The best news for local beer fans may be stability, particularly in an industry where over-saturation, consolidation, and COVID-19 have all threatened local breweries’ existence. With Champion launched in 2012 and Reason in 2017, the breweries’ founders hope that joining forces will mean they are here to stay. “It’s a path for long term stability for both local brands,” Champion founder Hunter Smith said. Raileanu agrees. “We’re nearing our five-year anniversary and it’s almost ten years for Champion,” he said. “By combining and streamlining our operations, we’re setting up to make the next five years even better.”

The deal will close in late November.


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