The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Mel’s

Five Finds on Friday: Mark Gresge


On Fridays, we feature five food finds from local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from Mark Gresge of l’etoile Catering.  The recently closed l’etoile restaurant was one of the area’s most beloved restaurants for two decades, and l’etoile Catering is already one of the premier outfits in town.  Call 434-823-1435 for details.

In addition to the five picks below, Gresge could not resist a sixth, in recognition of his talented former chef of l’etoile, Ian Redshaw.  “6. Pizza at Lampo,” said Gresge. “I have not had one yet, but I know that it belongs on the list. If Chef Ian put it in the oven, it is going to be great indeed.”  Gresge’s picks:

1)  Buttermilk Biscuit at The Whiskey Jar.  “Handed to me fresh out of the oven by Rachel Pennington, the pastry chef. Sometimes in cooking, there is beauty in simplicity.”

2)  Grilled Bologna and Egg Sandwich at Mel’s Cafe.  “Prepared and served by Mel himself with a smile. White bread has now found its true calling.”

3)  Bocadillo Jamon at MAS Tapas.  “After giving birth to twins, this is the first item that my wife asked for. This is an under-the-radar masterpiece.”

4)  Glazed Sugar Cookie from Pearl’s Bake Shoppe.  “After one bite, I paused and pondered – this is one wonderful cookie. It made me very happy.”

5)  Shakedown Imperial Chocolate Cherry Stout at Starr Hill Tasting Room.  “Perfect beer for a winter evening. I had to beg the family to let me stay and have another. Pairs well with the handful of Fritos taken from son’s bag.”


Five Finds on Friday: Eric Nittolo


On Fridays, we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from chef Eric Nittolo of Threepenny Cafe, which prides itself on “amazing cuisine at amazing prices.”  Nittolo’s picks:

1) Hot Wings at Wild Wings Cafe.  “Before we had the chance to open our restaurant, the three managers introduced me to the hot wings at this restaurant located at the train station. As a sauce lover, I found that not only was I pleased with the quality of the chicken, but the sauce was definitely ‘on point.'”

2)  Shrimp and Grits at Hamiltons’.  “When a lunch date wanted to show off the town of Cville, she introduced me to the work of the talented chef at Hamiltons’. The meal was absolutely stellar.  Another first for a northern boy—I wasn’t a connoisseur of grits. I so loved what I tasted that I was inspired to put a Maple Bacon version on the brunch menu at Threepenny Café. The whole meal was well done, and the raspberry lemon cake was greatness.”

3)  Bone Marrow and Escargot at The Alley Light.  “I appreciate someone willing to try creations for the more adventurous palate; the flavor was very inspiring. Having spent a lot of time in Chicago, I also appreciated the excellent re-creation of a speakeasy!”

4)  Southern Fare at Maya.  “I was in the mood for ribs, and as it happened, a staff member from Maya was sitting at our bar. He ran down the street and brought me a plate of ribs, cole slaw, and cornbread pudding. The meal was awesome—my hat is off to the chef!”

5)  Big Burger and Grilled Cheese at Mel’s.  “I saved the best for last. I love the food at Mel’s Diner. I limit this indulgence to once a week, and I am glad I have to walk a few blocks to get there. Not only do they serve classic down-home cooking, but I can sit around and talk football. The food is great, the respect is great, and you definitely feel the SOUTHERN LOVE from the folks there.”

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