The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Justin Ross

Parallel 38, You Will Be Missed

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One of our favorite Charlottesville restaurants is closing its doors.

When it opened in 2014, Parallel 38 filled a void in Charlottesville dining by focusing exclusively on mezze, under the stewardship of a former manager of one of the nation’s best mezze restaurants. It also boasted the area’s largest selection of wines by the glass, spot-on barrel-aged cocktails, and an interior as transporting as any in town.

Add to that stellar food, and you’ve got a lock for The Charlottesville 29. And, we’re not the only ones to heap praise. In 2014, The Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema said Parallel 38’s food was comparable to a three star restaurant in D.C. or New York. In 2015, Maya chef Christian Kelly ate the best thing he ate all year there. And, last year The BBQ Exchange’s Craig Hartman likewise named a Parallel 38 dish the best of the year. Indeed, every year since it opened, it has made FSR Magazine’s list of Top 100 Independent Restaurants in the country.

In the end, the restaurant’s undoing was the same nagging challenge that dogged it throughout – its location at Stonefield, a shopping center some love but others love to hate. After the original owners sold the shopping center last year, Parallel 38 and the new owners could not reach agreement on a new lease. And, so it goes.

Personally, we will feel Parallel 38’s absence most acutely on birthdays. I threw my wife a surprise birthday party there. She threw me a surprise birthday party there. Twice. (Does that make me trusting, or gullible?)

Beyond the labneh, pork belly, wine, cocktails, and naan a-la-minute, though, what we will miss most are owners Justin Ross, Steve Pritchard, and their staff. What a great crew, full of heart. Parallel 38 has been an enormous supporter of the Charlottesville community, with regular fundraisers for charitable causes around town. To boost bids for an already incredible donation for last year’s Charlottesville 29 restaurant auctions, Ross, one of the nicest guys in the business, offered to volunteer at the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank for a number of hours in proportion to the winning bid.

The good news is that they’re not gone quite yet. You’ve still got a few days to squeeze in your last visits. And, what better way to thank them for three great years and their tremendous community support than to send them out with a bang?

Parallel 38’s last day is Sunday, January 29. Go!

Parallel 38 Auction Gets Even Better

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The auction item for Parallel 38 is already extraordinary. With a wine class from an expert, an array of rare and special wines, and a tasting menu paired with wines, all for ten people, it is sure to be one of the most memorable dinners of the auction winner’s life. And, every penny goes straight to the food bank, which makes it guilt-free indulgence. Bidding ends today! Now, Parallel 38 co-owner Justin Ross has upped the ante by promising to enhance the benefit to the area’s hungry. Ross gets it. He wrote (emphasis added):

I hope everyone that wins one of the amazing auctions that The Charlottesville 29 is facilitating has the night of their lives. I hope all those who do bid but unfortunately do not end up winning enjoy the fun that an auction delivers. I also hope that everyone that read these posts, whether they chose to participate or not, saw another way to help our community. I hope that they observed local businesses coming together to help the surrounding community that ultimately supports our businesses. I hope it shows how important it is to make your neighborhood better than it was before you. Whether you choose to do so by supporting Literacy Volunteers of Charlottesville/Albemarle, Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA, Blue Ridge Area Food Bank or any of the 1500 non profits in our area, you have have an impact on our community and make it a better place. For those of you that don’t know me, I own Parallel 38 and would like to see this auction item raise as much as possible for our area’s hungry. If Parallel’s auction hits/exceeds $2000 not only will we have helped provide 8,000+ meals but I will volunteer one hour at the Food Bank for every 100 meals our auction provides. At $2000 that would be 80 hours, at $3000 that would be 120 hours and it will continue with no cap. So please have a great meal with amazing wines, make an impact in your neighborhood and put me to work. It’s a WIN WIN WIN for everyone!

Pad Thai Auction Creates 4,400 Meals for Hungry

Pad Thai

The Battle of New Ross took place during the Irish Rebellion of 1798. More than 200 years later, we had our own Ross battle yesterday right here in Charlottesville, this time over Pad Thai’s incredible auction item: a Thai Street Food Feast. On the one side, there was Justin Ross, co-owner of Parallel 38. And, unbeknownst to him, on the other side, there was another Ross – PK Ross (no relation), owner and magician at Splendora’s Gelato. In the end, after lots of bidding back and forth, PK prevailed with a $1,100 donation to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, which is enough to provide 4,400 meals to the area’s hungry.

Thank you to the Rosses and Pad Thai for their generosity and support of the food bank. It’s yet another example of how special Charlottesville’s food community is: two food business owners fighting over who gets to give more money to the food bank, in order to enjoy an amazing meal donated by a third business owner.

Addendum: As if this were not great enough, after PK read this and learned that her bidding rival was Parallel 38’s Justin Ross, she called him and offered two seats at her Pad Thai auction dinner.