The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint

Five Finds on Friday: Jeff White

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Blue Moon Diner has reopened, and today’s Five Finds on Friday come from a man who cooked there more than thirty years ago. Jeff White manned the grill of the Charlottesville icon from 1985-1987, married one of the waitresses, and, now, more than three decades later, is the top sports writer for the University of Virginia. For many UVa fans, his columns are daily must-reads. History class from White:

I started cooking for then-owner John Grier at the Blue Moon Diner late in my undergraduate days at UVa and continued working there (and down the street at the late, great Cotton Exchange, whose owners were Grier, John Hoy and Kirby Hutto) until moving to Richmond in 1987.

Back then, the Blue Moon’s grill was out front, a few feet from the counter, and the pressure of cooking in a packed diner ––– in full view of customers, with the jukebox blaring, while hungover on a weekend morning –– no doubt helped prepare me for the stress of writing newspaper stories on deadline.

Most important, the Blue Moon is where in 1986 I met Beth Pearce, whose brother Tom was a fellow cook. Beth later waitressed at the diner, and we were married in 1989.

It’s wonderful to see the Blue Moon open again, and it’s hard to go wrong with anything on its menu, which has expanded considerably since my time there. Here are five of my other favorites:

1) Hot Sicilian at Durty Nelly’s / Wayside Deli. “The GOAT when it comes to sandwiches. I’ve been placing the same order at Durty Nelly’s/Wayside Deli for 30-plus years and hope to continue doing so for another 30. It’s a heavenly combination of Genoa salami, turkey, provolone, onion, peppers and mayo on rye, all heated.”

2) Greg Brady at Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint. “The burgers at Jack Brown’s are, to me, the perfect size –– not too big, not too small ­–– and complementing the beef on this delicacy are mac and cheese, Martin’s BBQ potato chips, and a blend of American and cheddar cheeses. The fries are great, too, as is the selection of beers from around the world.

3) Burrito Michoacana at La Michoacana. “This low-key restaurant on East High Street was once a hidden gem, but its excellence has been common knowledge around town for years now. Keep the option of a post-lunch nap open after eating one of these burritos. You may need it.”

4) Ragin’ Cajun at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “I’m a sucker for andouille, and this pie also features Creole-spiced shrimp, green peppers, roasted red peppers and mozzarella. Dr. Ho’s, of course, has Blue Moon ties. Its founder, Jerry Danner, ran the diner after buying it from John Grier.”

5) Cookies and Cream Milkshake at Crozet Creamery. “A group of us in the athletic department has a tradition we hold dear. When one of the UVa teams we support (as writers, videographers, photographers, etc.) picks up a significant win –– almost any conquest of Virginia Tech qualifies as such – we celebrate by treating ourselves to milkshakes. My victory shake of choice is one of many fantastic offerings at my local ice cream parlor, whose other options include the (Jack) Salted Caramel.”

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Jeff White, Blue Moon Diner, 1985

Five Find on Friday: Melissa Stefaniak

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Melissa Stefaniak, founder of Single Baked Sweets, a new Charlottesville-based company making single-serve, bake-at-home dessert kits, like chocolate chip cookies and s’mores pie. All kits come with pre-measured dry ingredients in bakeware and simple instructions. Shop at www.singlebakedsweets.com. Stefaniak’s picks:

1) Cheeseburger at Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint. “The ultimate comfort food to me is a simple, delicious cheeseburger and Jack Brown’s does not disappoint. Soft bun, melty cheddar cheese and wagyu beef patty – nothing else needed. Add a side of their Jack Brown’s sauce and it becomes a new addiction. Pairs well with a draft beer and good company.”

2) Chocolate Almond Croissant at MarieBette. “I’m not even a huge almond fan, but this pastry is one of my favorites in the world. Classic flaky, buttery croissant with a surprisingly sweet almond paste and chocolate center, topped with powdered sugar. It’s divine, indulgent and oh so sophisticated.”

3) S’mores Bread Pudding at Oakhart Social. “Not even sure where to begin to describe my own surprise, delight and gleeful satisfaction with this dessert. Nothing like what you would expect and 100 times better than your wildest dream. It’s deconstructed bread pudding. Puffy, fried dough, meets chocolate, meets brûléed marshmallow peaks and puppy chow crunch. Don’t order one to share, you’ll regret it – order one just for you because it’s so worth it.”

4) Chicken Wings at Doma. “You can get them in a variety of yummy flavors, and I recommend you order at least 20 in a variety of sauces. All are delicious, crispy and crave-able. Stay also for their dolsot bibimbap – full of fresh flavors and crispy rice.”

5) Orange Wines at Tavola. “Great atmosphere and great food, but what I love is their wine selection. If you haven’t tried one of their orange wines, it’s a must. Not only is orange on brand with UVa (wahoowa), but it’s a unique take on classic varietals. Perfect for sipping and enjoying the local scene.”

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Chocolate Almond Croissants at MarieBette

Five Finds on Friday: John McMahon

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from John McMahon of Schuyler Greens. You’ve either never had McMahon’s greens, or you love them. While most local produce suffers the whims of Mother Nature, hydroponically grown Schuyler Greens have great flavor and texture all year round. In addition to area restaurants, find them at Foods of All Nations, Feast!, Timbercreek Market, Crozet Great Valu, Reid’s, and Market Street Market. McMahon’s picks:

1) Ponch Burger at Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint. “After a long week on the farm, nothing beats a cold beer and a Ponch Burger (or two) at Jack Brown’s, which is only available on Fridays.”

2) The Bellissima at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “When you combine country ham, arugula, lemon vinaigrette, and shaved parmesan on a pizza, what is not to love? Pro tip: Wash down with a Three Notch’d Pomegranate Gose (when seasonally available).”

3) Enchiladas Rancheras at La Michoacana. “It is borderline stressful to order only one dish at La Michoacana. The food is that good.”

4) Cheesy Bacon Potatoes at Smoked Kitchen and Tap. “Although known for excellent BBQ and home to the biggest burger I’ve ever eaten (#thanks Charlottesville29), make sure to order a side of the cheesy bacon potatoes. It might be the best ‘hash’ I’ve ever had.”

5) The Dude Abides at Fry’s Spring Station. Great food across the board but the Dude Abides = comfort food in pizza form. They also have a huge craft beer menu that constantly changes, so it pays to visit often.