The Charlottesville 29

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

Category: News

Collaboration 29 at the Governor’s Mansion

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People ask where they can find Collaboration 29, the new limited release IPA from Reason Beer for which demand has seemed to exceed supply. The answers are few. Beer Run, Kardinal Hall, Reason, and now . . . the Executive Mansion of the Governor of Virginia.

Home to Virginia’s governors since 1813, the Executive Mansion is the nation’s oldest governor residence. From its origins, the mansion boasted a separate cookhouse, smokehouse, and ice house, but it was not until 2014 that it added a kegerator, thanks to beer-loving Governor Terry McAuliffe, who then passed it to his successor. “Governor McAuliffe very generously donated the kegerator to the Executive Mansion,” said Governor Ralph Northam, “although it is probably no surprise that we are not getting quite as much use out of it as he did.” That said, the kegerator does not sit idle. “We continue to demonstrate Virginia’s commitment to the craft beverage industry by offering guests to the Mansion draft beer from a Virginia brewery,” said Northam.

As of today, that beer is Collaboration 29. A tribute to Charlottesville itself and named after The Charlottesville 29, Reason calls the beer a “a juicy, tropical love letter to our home town, brewed in partnership with Beer Run, Murphy & Rude, Kardinal Hall and The Charlottesville 29.” Governor Northam saw it as an ideal fit. “I like that this particular beer represents a collaboration among the men and women who work in the food and beverage scene that makes Charlottesville such a great place to live,” said Governor Northam.

And so, just hours after belting a grand slam in his summer softball league, Governor Northam celebrated today by welcoming Collaboration 29 and its contributors to the Mansion. For Reason, there were Mark Fulton, Jeff Raileanu, and Devon Callan. For Kardinal Hall and Beer Run, there were John Woodriff and Justin Castelhano. And, for Murphy & Rude, there was Jeff Bloem.

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(L to R) Devon Callan, Jeff Raileanu, Jeff Bloem, Justin Castelhano, Governor Ralph Northam, John Woodriff, and Mark Fulton

“We knew we were putting together a great beer with great partners, but we never thought it would make it this far!” said Reason brewer Mark Fulton. “We were honored to meet Governor Northam and look forward to his continued support of our industry.” Congratulations to Reason and the collaborators, and also to Governor Northam and staff for having such a delicious beer on tap.

While brewery collaborations are often just one-offs, there is word that the great demand for Collaboration 29 could persuade Reason to make it again. And again. Stay tuned.

Zocalo Introduces Jazz Nights

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When news broke that co-founder Andrew Silver had left Zocalo, his longtime business partner Ivan Rekosh assured regulars that the restaurant would continue largely unchanged, although he did say that he had some interesting tweaks planned as well. First up, weekly jazz nights.

Starting October 24, Zocalo will host live jazz every Tuesday night from 7:30 – 11:00. The relatively early start time is by design, to allow folks other than night owls to catch some good live music. For the first set, from 7:30 – 9:00, music will be on the quieter side, Rekosh says, so guests can enjoy jazz during dinner from one of Charlottesville’s most reliably excellent kitchens. Then, from 9:30 – 11:00, they’ll turn up the volume. The jazz is the brainchild of Zocalo staff members Peter Larson and Jack Sheehan, both graduates of the Berklee College of Music. Larson and Sheehan wanted to provide guests a way to enjoy some of the great local jazz scene, without having to stay up into the wee hours of the night. Stalwarts like John D’earth and the Kane-West Organ Trio are already on the schedule, which launches in just two weeks.

Jose de Brito Joins Fleurie

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Jose de Brito is back.

The James Beard semifinalist whose two decades in Charlottesville included Ciboulette and a magical run at The Alley Light skipped town last Spring for the Inn at Little Washington, leaving his Charlottesville fans wondering if they would ever enjoy his food again. Now he is returning to Charlottesville as Chef de Cuisine of Fleurie and consultant at Petit Pois.

Both restaurants are owned by Brian Helleberg, who employed de Brito from 2008 to 2011 as a cook and Pastry Chef at Fleurie, a time Helleberg remembers fondly. “Jose’s knowledge, palate, work ethic, and enthusiasm brought lasting improvements,” says Helleberg, who sounds like he can’t wait to get started. “I am excited and honored to collaborate with such a talented chef,” Helleberg says. “His passion for great food is contagious, and I’m looking forward to learning from him and bringing our food to the next level.”

A fixture in The Charlottesville 29, Fleurie’s food has long been beloved by regulars. So, what might de Brito have planned? “I have always considered Fleurie to be among the great restaurants of Charlottesville, and they happen to do French cooking which is what I do best, so there is no better match,” says de Brito. “French food is very diverse and when done well it can be really tasty, so I will push and build all our flavor profiles to make each dish as tasty as I can.”

While de Brito enjoyed his time away, part of what brought him back was the lure of Charlottesvulle. “My wife and I like this place very much, so there is no better place to cook great food,” says de Brito. “I have a lot of regulars, and many seem to like what I do.”

Yes, yes we do.