The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Bizou

Introducing Luce: Fresh Pasta To-Go from the Bizou/Bang! Team

When they were young, Mt. Rushmore chef Tim Burgess’s five children would beg him to make the same dish on his days off: fresh pasta. Especially fond of the dish was Burgess’ middle child, Travis, who also came to share his father’s love of the food industry itself. Now 26, chef Travis runs food operations at both of his father’s restaurants — Bizou and Bang! — and is next poised to launch a place inspired by that favorite childhood dish. Offering fresh pasta to-go, Luce will open this month in the takeout window on 2nd Street NW.

Like many in the industry, Travis began by washing dishes, which is how he and his siblings spent summers as young teens, at Bang!. “I would prep goat cheese dumplings and crab potstickers, and scrub piles of pans that would tower above me,” Travis said. “Those summers are where it all started and when I got hooked on the kitchen life.”

During college at George Mason, Travis washed more dishes at Trummers on Main in Clifton, and then suddenly became garde manager when the prior one quit. It was there that Travis decided that this is what he wanted to do for the rest of the life. And so, after graduation, in 2015 Travis scored a gig at one of the nation’s most acclaimed restaurants and best training grounds, FIG, in Charleston. As luck would have it, Travis was assigned to hot appetizers, which was essentially a pasta station, where he cranked out thousands of iterations of dishes like stone crab spaghetti and gnocchi bolognese. “Standing over the pasta pot became my zone,” Travis said.

Travis returned to Charlottesville in 2017, becoming Chef of Bang!. And, despite Bang!’s focus on Asian small plates, Travis’ heart remained with pasta, which he began working into the menu wherever he could, with dishes like ricotta gnocchi in curried sweet potato sauce.

Then, this summer Travis sprung on his father the idea of opening a takeout pasta place and calling it Luce, Italian for “light.” His father did not blink, and immediately pulled up from his iPad an old photo he liked, which he had stowed away in case it ever proved useful. A mural covering a storefront in Madrid, it depicted the beam of a streetlight in yellow paint.

luce light

“The concept of Luce is my dream,” said Travis. “To sell the pasta I’ve been making every day for the last two years, fresh cooked to order.” The idea is for the food to be fresh, fast, and affordable, he says. “Fine dining quality fresh pasta cooked to order for $10 or less,”  Travis said. “Kinda like Bodo’s meets Tavola?”

Travis says there is no secret to his pasta — aside from good quality ingredients: 00 flour and semolina, local organic eggs, and a splash of Spanish olive oil. That’s it. Though the Luce kitchen is tiny, the focus solely on pasta means there will be space to prepare it. Roll and cut fresh pasta by hand, boil it, and toss it in sauce. “It’s just fresh and cooked to order which is a real gamechanger,” Travis said.

At least initially, the size of the menu will match the size of the space: a kale caesar salad, cheesecake for dessert, and just three pasta dishes, like the “Bolo” – pappardelle with pork ragu, toast crumbs, mint, and parmigiano-reggiano. Travis’ favorite is the one that reminds him most of his childhood. The “Cacio” combines tagliatelle, parmigiano-reggiano, olive oil and cracked black pepper, and takes Travis back.  “Just the memory of eating my dad’s pasta was mind-blowing,” Travis said. “When we’ve had menu meetings for Luce, I’ve been licking the container reminiscing about the pasta my dad used to make.”

But, Travis says, his pasta and his father’s are not exactly the same.

“I think mine’s better. Sorry Dad?”

luce

Luce opens in late October at 110 2nd Street NW. Hours 11 am – 8 pm.

Bizou Auction: Meatloaf for Four, for a Year

bizou

Here is your chance to experience Bizou like you never have before, while helping to feed the area’s hungry: The Charlottesville 29 Restaurant Auctions. Bizou 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 Bizou, 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 Bizou signature experience for The Charlottesville 29 Restaurant Auctions:

Meatloaf for Four, for a Year

In Bizou’s early days, it ran a “Sorry, Mom” ad campaign, as in “Sorry, Mom, we’re going to Bizou tonight.” Win the Bizou auction, and you will be apologizing to mom all year long for choosing Bizou over her cooking. Anytime you want, you may walk into Bizou and pick up a meal-to-go featuring one of Charlottesville’s signature dishes: Bizou’s “Classic Meatloaf.”

The meal-to-go will be enough meatloaf to feed four people, along with smashed potatoes, chipotle ketchup, and vegetables. Don’t have a family? Bring it home to host a delicious dinner with friends anytime you want. Tell them to bring the wine — you’ll provide the food.

It’s the ultimate Bizou experience: Meatloaf for Four, for a Year.

Note: The auction item is not transferable, and must be picked up in person by the auction winner. Limited to one use per day.

Bidding

Place your bids by email to charlottesville29@gmail.com. Public bidding ends on August 11, when all prior bidders in the auction for Bizou will have a chance to bid again until the highest donation is reached, and a winner is declared. Regular updates of the leading bid will be posted below.

Current Bid: $1,100

Five Finds on Friday: Jeff Latchum

jeff

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come Jeff Latchum of wine importer Williams Corner Wine. If you’re shopping for wine and unsure what to buy, check the labels on the backs of the bottles. Find one that says “Williams Corner Wine,” and you know it will be good. This Sunday, Latchum, a natural wine expert, will be at Blenheim Vineyards Library Series to teach a natural wines class, showcasing some of the finest natural wines in the world. Just fifteen tickets will be sold. Call (434) 293-5366 for yours. Details on this and other Library Series events here. Latchum’s picks:

1) Jamón and Rancio Sec at MAS Tapas. “Yes I’m shilling for something we sell and writing my entire piece about wine. Catalan tradition of completely oxidized, non-fortified wine that pairs well with literally anything salty and savory, from jamón to seafood. Ask for Domaine de Rombeau.”

2) Shad Roe and German Riesling at Tastings. “Tucked away from the hoi polloi, have a glass or two from the dozens of open bottles or grab a bottle off the rack and enjoy it for a small corkage. Idiosyncratic and proud of it, also the best place to buy a special occasion or specific vintage wine. He might even still have shad roe to nibble on with a dry German Riesling (ask for Ulli Stein or Peter Lauer).”

3) Meatloaf and Champagne at Bizou. “An often overlooked list for thoughtfully chosen wines at a reasonable price, especially the Champagne and you should be drinking more Champagne! It will make you look (or at least feel) dreamy scarfing down a delicious plate of meatloaf.”

4) Ham Biscuits and Chenin Blanc from Foods of All Nations. “You’ll need a full case of wine, and Tom and Frankie can help. The Wine Store to explore! Make sure to start looking at the back label and becoming fluent with the importer. I am certain you will find kinship with a handful, as many are doing excellent work. It’s never been better to be a consumer of wine! While there, I suggest buying a MarieBette olive baguette, ham biscuits, and some fried chicken, for friends, or just you, the dog, and the case of wine. For ham biscuits and fried chicken I would suggest Chenin Blanc from Domaine aux Moines, Savennieres Sec 2015.”

5) Tuna Nicoise and Muscadet or Sauvignon Blanc at MarieBette Café and Bakery. “Five Finds has found and celebrated many wonderful things about MarieBette, but did you know that they have an affordable bistro wine selection to complement the long list of lovable superlatives? Jason, Patrick, and Will are the best, made all the more adorable with a glass of Muscadet or Sauvignon Blanc. My pairing for either is the Tuna Niçoise.”