The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Beer Run

Five Finds on Friday: Todd DeSorbo

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from the Tony Bennett of college swimming, Todd DeSorbo. In just his fourth season at UVa, DeSorbo became the first coach ever to lead an ACC school to a swimming and diving national championship, when his women’s team took home the title last month. DeSorbo was subsequently named Women’s Team Coach of the Year. DeSorbo’s picks:

1) Burger with Bacon at Wayside Takeout & Catering. “This has become our staff’s go-to pre-Championship lucky lunch. The Monday prior to every ACC or NCAA Championship (including two weeks ago before our women won the National Title), we head to Wayside for a burger. If I had to pick a favorite food of mine, it’s for sure a burger, and Wayside does them right. Not to mention convenient to our place of work, the AFC pool.”

2) Piggie Smalls at Fry’s Spring Station. “If you’re sensing a theme in locations, it’s likely because when I first moved to Charlottesville I lived just behind Scott Stadium, and pretty much went from the house to the pool, and didn’t know much other than that there were several great food joints within walking distance. This turned out to be a family favorite and a staff favorite. We often have gathered here with all our swimming and diving staff and families to hang out. The pizza is phenomenal and the casual atmosphere is right up my alley.”

3) Black Coffee at Atlas Coffee. “Sorry to be sticking with the theme again here, but this was my go-to Thursday morning treat. It’s always been a goal of mine to be able to walk into a coffee shop (or bar) and be ‘regular’ enough that the barista knows what drink you want. I only went a few weeks in a row and they knew exactly what I wanted. I finally made it! Great coffee, great spot.”

4) Mother’s Day Roll at Tokyo Rose. “My family and I have eaten more sushi since the pandemic hit than probably in the previous five years. Likely because my 12 year-old son has decided he loves spicy tuna rolls, and Tokyo Rose’s are the best. Personally I love the Mother’s Day Roll. We haven’t been inside the restaurant in a year, but the takeout/delivery is just as good as dining in.”

5) Kimchi Pork Wrap at Beer Run. “This restaurant was introduced to us by the myth ‘The Charlottesville 29.’ This is a go-to for our family and friends. From family night out to champagne celebrations when our staff won our first ACC Title three years ago, Beer Run has been a staple in our eat out rotation. Great beer selection (almost too good), great food, and great casual environment. If you can’t tell, I like casual.”

Leaving Beer Run, Justin Castelhano Will Be Missed

Among Beer Run’s many virtues, it has always had a knack for turning service industry ugly ducklings into swans. The restaurant has never hesitated to hire servers short on experience and, through time and training, help them transform into models of the industry.

In his early days bartending at Beer Run, Steve Yang would experiment with peach schnapps laced shooters reminiscent of a fraternity party while shyly avoiding interaction with customers. Now, he is nationally recognized for his cocktails and, at Tavola’s Cicchetti Bar, eagerly seeks out engagement with guests. For the first six months of Noel Scott’s tenure at Beer Run, regulars were unsure whether he had the capacity for speech. With the skills and confidence that training and experience bring, Scott went on to become a stellar bartender at The Alley Light, before moving on to big city service in Washington D.C.

And then there is Justin Castelhano. Far from a novice when he joined the Beer Run team in 2015, Castelhano still came in like a deer in the headlights. No small task, becoming the beer buyer for Charlottesville’s ultimate beer bar must be daunting. Plus, he had big shoes to fill. Jay Campbell had held the position for almost all of Beer Run’s existence, and had become a beloved figure.

Campbell’s shadow was so long that, in Castelhano’s early days, he sometimes defaulted to mimicking his predecessor, adopting Campbell’s practices, and even citing him when making recommendations. Before long, though, Castelhano grew into his own, developing and honing his own skills. Fast forward five years, and Castelhano is a big part of what makes Beer Run such a pleasant place to be.

Oddly, Castelhano’s greatest asset is one he shares with Campbell, but it is not one you can fake. You either have it or you don’t. Like his predecessor, Castelhano genuinely enjoys making others happy. Whether patiently meeting a newcomer’s request for a beer similar to Coors Light, showing guests to their table, or discussing with regulars the relative virtues of local hazy IPAs, Castelhano takes joy from pleasing others. It is part of who he is.

Tomorrow, October 2, 2020, is the last day of Castelhano’s tenure at Beer Run. By his guests and his employer, he will be missed.

Beer Run Auction: Brew Your Own Charlottesville Beer

Beer Run pic

Here is your chance to experience Beer Run like you never have before, while helping to feed the area’s hungry: The Charlottesville 29 Restaurant Auctions. Along with all of the other restaurants in The Charlottesville 29, Beer Run has created a once-in-a-lifetime experience for whoever pledges the highest donation to The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. Thanks to the generosity of Beer Run and Champion Brewing Company, the entire winning bid goes directly to the food bank. And, thanks to the efficiency of the food bank, each dollar donated creates four meals for the area’s hungry.

The Beer Run signature experience for The Charlottesville 29 Restaurant Auctions:

Brew Your Own Charlottesville Beer

Now open for more than a decade, Beer Run has fueled Charlottesville’s love of good beer — both drinking it and brewing it. The winner of the Beer Run auction will have the chance to enjoy our area’s beer scene in a whole new way: create their own beer for a local brewery, a collaboration with Champion Brewing Company.

In advance of brewing day, the auction winner will discuss ideas with the Champion brewing team, who will help to design and name the beer based on input from the auction winner. When brewing day comes, the auction winner and nine guests will begin their day with breakfast and beer at Beer Run. From there, they will be off to Champion, where they will make the beer with Champion’s brewers. When the work is done, the group will return to Beer Run for a celebratory dinner and beer.

Finally, a few weeks later when the beer is ready, Beer Run will host a happy hour event, open to the public, celebrating Champion’s release of the auction winner’s collaboration. At the release event, the auction winner’s group may enjoy the beer they created, on the house.

Note: The winning bidder will schedule their experience at a time that is mutually convenient for Beer Run and Champion.


Bidding for Beer Run’s experience has ended. Winning bid: $4,000.

%d bloggers like this: