The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Gay Beery

Bit e Pezzi: A Pimento Catering Shines in the Culture of Takeout

Restaurants are not the only ones in the Charlottesville food community the pandemic has hit hard. Our outstanding catering businesses, home to some of the area’s best chefs, are also on the brink. And, just as restaurants have done, caterers are getting creative to try to survive. As with restaurants’ creativity, the beneficiaries are the rest of us, gaining new ways to enjoy Charlottesville food that never existed before.

One is A Pimento Catering’s “Bit e Pezzi.” Run by chef Gay Berry, A Pimento has been among Charlottesville’s most beloved caterers for more than a decade. Just check out these amazing reviews. Berry also once “won” Five Finds on Friday when she provided a picture of herself in which to one side of her head was the word “Negroni” and to the other side of her head was an actual Negroni.

In normal times, to enjoy Berry’s cooking you have to plan an event, or be lucky enough to invited to one. Now that a pandemic has decimated event schedules, though, Berry has introduced takeout dinner service for the general public. Her menu changes each week, but always keeps a heavy focus on local sourcing, drawing from the bounty that surrounds us. Diners place orders 48 hours in advance and choose their pick-up date and time, Thursday through Saturday. The only downside is that the mouthwatering menus make choosing almost impossible. To receive the weekly menus, email

There are typically four entree options, a selection of sides, and tantalizing groupings like “Treats and Appetizers” and “Miscellaneous Indulgences/Must Haves.” We assembled dinner from all of the menu sections.

Our meal began with a few of the Miscellaneous Indulgences/Must Haves, including “Our Always On-Hand Romesco.” Romesco is a Spanish sauce of roasted red peppers, almonds, garlic, tomato, and spices. “I’d eat it on a shoe,” the menu says. We opted for vegetables. Delicious.

We also ordered Beet Borani, a Middle-Eastern dip of beets and yogurt. How could we not? The menu calls it “the most gorgeous thing you’ll ever dip a chip in.”

Our entree was Italian Pork Cabbage Rolls in White Wine Sauce, with dill.

One side was a salad of baby arugula, roast butternut and delicata squash, fennel, grapes, and shavings of Twenty Paces Commander Chicory cheese, all tossed in sherry vinaigrette.

Our other side was grilled cauliflower steak with blood orange and Picholine olives.

Our assembled dinner.

Berry even has the wine covered. A serious oenophile, Berry lists a selection of her favorites each week to pair with the food. Ours was Dirty and Rowdy “Familiar”, a versatile red blend where Mourvèdre takes center stage.

The menu was so alluring that we couldn’t resist adding a few snacks for the weekend, the highlight of which was a pork rillettes made with pork from Autumn Olive Farms and Free Union Grass Farm. A Pimento’s motto is “food is love,” and for the rillettes Berry shrewdly joined slow-cooked pork with an orgy of its lovers. Pork loves sweetness, and for that Berry brought prunes. Pork loves acid too, particularly vinegar. And, perhaps most of all pork adores fennel. Pickled fennel, then? Pork has never been happier. What an outstanding dish.

Bit e Pezzi will not last forever. Once the pandemic ends and event schedules return to normal, Berry may not have time for it.

Enjoy it while you can.

Five Finds on Friday: Gay Beery

Gay Beery

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from chef Gay Beery, of A Pimento Catering, a guest on the latest episode of the Charlottesville-based podcast Edacious, where you can learn all about her career and why she considers her catering jobs like “her babies.” Beery’s picks, “with implied apologies.” she says “to all the wonderful things I’ve missed here – I love you all still”:

1) Whole Grain Rye from Little Hat Creek Farm. “A recent pleasure of mine (or should I say obsession) is the whole grain rye from the kind people at Little Hat Creek Farm. I think of this bread as more of a kornbröt, dense with moist grain, hinting at a custard-like texture, just crying out for butter (I oblige). Though, I also slather it with fromage frais from Caromont Farm (thank you, Gail). I do love all slow-risen, high-moisture breads and this provides. This is definitely one of my ‘desert island’ foods – it could keep despair at bay for at least a week or two, and conveniently would likely be almost as good the fourteenth day.”

2) Funghi Pizza at Lampo. “Does this really need any explanation? Probably not. But I will say that no matter how many times I’ve had this, I still want more. Thankfully, Lampo has a wine list that always entices and I’m pretty sure I’ve never ordered the same wine twice – so there’s that. And I’ll order escarole off any menu that offers. Glee.”

3) Coupe Maison at C&O. “C&O has owned a piece of my heart for one reason or ten for the last two decades. In their care, I’ve celebrated weddings and funerals (yes, they were celebrations), birthdays and just having seen the baddest band at The Rose (it was always okay to arrive here at 1:30 AM and know you could stay a while). For all those years, the C&O has offered some comfort and love on white china and white linen. Respect. Their bartender roster is as notorious – if more skill-based – as the Parking Lot, with some overlap. Out of everything on the menu, I think the most lasting impression has come served in a tall glass – the Coupe Maison. Too much for me, but I like to watch.”

4) Vegetables at Oakhart Social. “So far, Oakhart Social has yet to leave me NOT amazed. The thrill of reinvention is alive and well in this kitchen, especially if you like to dig into a meal rich in vegetables. Crisp or fork tender, braised or fried, with or without the adornment of animal protein, every dish from this kitchen sings. I always order the flatbread special, I never tire of their shaved salad (dates, yes), and whatever they do with a carrot, you know it’s going to exceed your expectations. (I’ve had a real thing for carrots this year, the high of which I experienced at the eponymous Via Carota in NYC. If you’re in the city, just do it.) Their meat dishes are all fabulous, indeed, but I most often eat just the veg here, because there is more than one could want, and that is a sincere pleasure. Great cocktails! But as someone who can really only manage one and a half glasses of the average wine pour, I love the incremental ways you can order wine here, without the emotional burden of waste or overindulgence.”

5) Fried Chicken from Wayside Takeout . “My husband, who is sitting with me right now, is demanding I include the Wayside, as their fried chicken (and my favorite, fried gizzards) are our last-minute go to when we are too tired to cook and teetering over the hangry edge of a day. We recently learned the limits, though, on a sad Sunday when we both had to work and each held out the carrot (there’s the carrot again, ha), and discovered, mid chicken skin fantasy, that they are civilized and observe their Sundays away from the shop. Bless ‘em.”

“Why does any of this matter? Because food is love. It’s true.”


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