The Charlottesville 29

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

Category: News

Parallel 38 is Back!


When Parallel 38 announced in January that it was closing, regulars were devastated. In its three years at Stonefied, the restaurant earned a spot on The Charlottesville 29, was named C-VILLE’s Best New Restaurant, won raves from Tom Sietsema, and developed a loyal following that even included many top chefs. In 2016, for example, former Clifton Inn chef Craig Hartman said the best thing he ate all year was at Parallel 38, while in 2015 another former Clifton Inn chef, Christian Kelly, said the same thing. Among those lamenting the loss of their favorite restaurant was food podcaster Jenée Libby, who penned a heartfelt eulogy.

Well, now they have reason to rejoice. Parallel 38 is re-opening at 817 West Main Street. Co-owner Justin Ross admits he considered other projects after a lease disagreement forced the January closure. But, in the end, the pull of Parallel 38 was too strong, particularly after finding what Ross deems to be a perfect location on West Main, the former home of L’Etoile.  “We took one look at the new space and it screamed Parallel 38 to us,” Ross says.

Guests can expect a similar menu of mezze from Parallel 38’s same chef as before closing, Johnny Garver. “We will still have our core menu items,” Ross says, “but our new location will allow us to be more adventurous, so expect this menu to be a bit more fun.”

For the restaurant’s rebirth, Parallel 38’s customers have themselves to thank, at least in part. “The support that this community showed us in our final weeks was one of the more amazing things I have witnessed,” says Ross. “It showed us that we had accomplished our goal to become a part of this amazing community, and we can’t wait for our new opportunity to do it all over again.”

Check back for an opening date, which should be next month. And, welcome back Parallel 38.


Brian Jones Joins The Alley Light


Already a talented bunch, The Alley Light‘s kitchen staff just got even better. Earlier this year, Brian Jones, who ran Petit Pois’ kitchen for more than a decade, decided it was time to move on. His new project was to oversee the kitchen of Timberwood Tap House, the restaurant from the Timberwood Grill team which opened in October, across from Wegmans. Now that Timberwood Tap House is up and running, Jones is returning to more sophisticated culinary arts.

In mid-December, he will join The Alley Light’s kitchen, led by Executive Chef and co-owner Robin McDaniel. “Robin and I are excited to bring aboard Brian Jones,” said McDaniel’s husband Chris Dunbar, also a co-owner. “Having both worked with Brian for a number of years at both Petit Pois and Fleurie,” said Dunbar, “we have first hand knowledge of his work ethic, attention to detail, organization, and creativity.”

It was difficult for Jones to leave Timberwood Tap House, which he says is off to a great start and in very good hands. “I had a wonderful time with the Timberwood family,” Jones said, “but, I realized that being behind the range, cooking, was where I wanted to be.”  Jones is excited to have the chance to do that at The Alley Light, while reuniting with McDaniel and Dunbar.

The restaurant does not expect any significant menu changes resulting from the hire. Instead, McDaniel will just have one of the best assistants a chef could hope for. Jones has worked with some of the nation’s most decorated chefs chefs, such as Daniel Boulud, Eric Ripert and Jean Georges Vongerichten. “Personally and professionally, we couldn’t imagine a better fit here,” said Dunbar.

Congrats to Jones and The Alley Light.

As 2016 Closes, So Does Spudnuts


For some, this may seem an appropriate end to a difficult year. As 2016 closes, so does Spudnuts, the Belmont institution whose donuts have been making Charlottesville residents happy for decades. The last day will be December 30.

So long 2016. So long Spudnuts.