The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Mono Loco

Five Finds on Friday: Janey Gioiosa


What is it about bakers and fitness in this town? Some might even call it a paradox. The latest to combine baking and exercise is Janey Gioiosa, the PVCC culinary school graduate who recently left MarieBette to focus on a fitness career at Purvelo while also launching her own baking business. Sweet Jane’s Pies sells beautiful pies by custom order and also at the Mineral Farmer’s Market. Gioiosa’s picks:

1) Pork Nachos w/ the Spice-a-Rita Margarita at Mono Loco. “Mono Loco has one of the best atmospheres here in town and you’re always bound to run into someone you know. I always get the Spice-a-Rita, and I am not ashamed of the joy that a large plate of corn chips topped with tender pork, cheese, jalapeños and beans brings me.”

2) Five Grain Bread from MarieBette Cafe & Bakery. “Just do yourself a favor and buy a loaf of this bread, get the mini one if you must, grab a libation of your choice and go sit and indulge. Do it.”

3) Green Machine Smoothie from Integral Yoga Natural Foods. “Simple, to the point, spot on every time. How they make blended fruit taste so good? I do not know.”

4) Chicken from Pearl Island. “Pearl Island just opened to the public when I was finishing up the Culinary Program at the Jefferson School. They also happened to open up when I was no longer taking classes that required cooking, so it worked out quite well. I would get a heaping plate of tender chicken, rice and beans, kale salad and twice fried plantains. Its one of those dishes where you can mash everything up together to create that perfect bite.”

5) Kettle Korn from Blue Ridge Kettle Korn. “Those who love me will tell you my obsession with this popcorn. I have been known to go on the hunt for it when its sold out at certain stores, which then prompts me to buy two very large bags of it.  What really sent my obsession into a tizzy is when I was able to get it warm at a festival. Never had a popcorn kernel so fluffy with that perfect sweet and salty combo. I shall now go buy some.”

jane pies

Five Finds on Friday: Liberty Kalergis


On Fridays, we feature five food finds from local chefs and personalities.  Now that a drink she makes has been named after her, today’s picks come from Liberty Kalergis, longtime manager at MAS Tapas.  Kalergis’ picks:

1) Nachos at Beer Run. “Piled so high you never need an entree. Run by a family so near and dear to my own, we can’t wait to see what they bring to the table at Kardinal Hall, aiming to open their doors this October.”

2) Any Seasonal Vegetable at MAS Tapas.  “Whether it’s padron peppers, cauliflower, artichokes, Brussels, broccolini, or chanterelles, you can’t go wrong with a simple olive oil and sea salt sauté. Good enough to make me go vegetarian . . . almost.”

3) Austin Morning at Brazos Tacos.  “Three of my favorite words = breakfast all day. Egg, brisket and mashed potato paired with Hunter’s Shower Beer from Champion = perfection. Bring the dog or the kid to explore IX Park while Peter and his hard working crew whip you up a little taste of Texas. Who knows, you could even run into a traveling petting zoo.”

4) The Natural at Mono Loco and Nelson County Gentleman at The Alley Light. “My liquor of choice varies by season, so for now it’s tequila all the way in The Natural margarita on the invariably entertaining Mono Loco patio. But when the leaves start falling I crave a couch and a Nelson County Gentleman at Alley Light. Named after one of the bearded mix-maestros behind the bar, you can only find this carbonated, small-batch rye, birch, root and peppermint medley in the cooler months.  Fingers crossed he’ll be making a reappearance this year.”

5)  Carbonara Pizza at Lampo.  “It’s too hard to pick the best dish from their regular menu, so I won’t! Peppery porchetta and cracked eggs made their debut on a white pizza at the pop-up brunch last week and did not disappoint. Neither did Eames’ aptly-named Retox Jus. Stay tuned for the next pop-up dates throughout the winter to catch this beauty before she makes a regular appearance on the brunch menu next Spring. Oh, and always listen to Andrew and Rowe behind the bar.”

Five Finds on Friday: Eames Coleman


On Fridays, we feature five finds from local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from Eames Coleman, sole proprietor of Kareem Abdul Jus-Bar, who says that, in October, a new baby will be born.  “And we shall call him, Blue Star JüsBar and Baja Fish Taqueria,” says Coleman of his new place in Main St. Market across from Seafood @ West Main.  Expect a menu of all kinds of fresh fish tacos, Coleman’s famous ceviche, veggie and vegan tacos, and of course his popular juice and smoothies, as well as “fun stuff” like frozen juice pops and pop-up Sunday brunches. Coleman’s business partner in the new venture is Chas Webster, owner of the Richmond Continental Divide who once ran The Box.  Coleman’s picks:

1)  Hellboy Pizza at Lampo Neapolitan Pizzeria.  “Homage to great Paulie Gee’s in Brooklyn. Soppressata picante, house made mozzarella, and in-house scorpion pepper honey.”

2)  “Liberita” at MAS Tapas.  “Liberty Kalergis’ margarita.  Not on the menu, but that’s what I call this MAS veteran’s mar’, best around.  Only available Tuesdays and Thursdays, cause this busy mother manages her family on the off days. Go Liberty.”

3)  I Love You So Much at Brazos Tacos.  “That’s the name of the taco! This bad boy has scrambled eggs, chorizo, mashed potatoes, roasted corn salsa, and queso fresco. The name speaks for its self.  Peter Griesar is a king amongst men – a fellow musician killing it in a kitchen!”

4)  Spicy Pork Nachos at  Mono Loco.  “Everything about this place makes want more! From the owners to the dishwashers, these cats run a tight, but fun ship. Never had a bad time on this block and don’t plan on it. A real institution created by smiles, laughter and good times and great fare!”

5)  Meatloaf at Bizou.  “In my first season in Charlottesville for my 24th b- day in 2000, my mother and sister took me there cause mom had heard about this dish. ‘It’s the best, it’s the best,’ she noted in her Italian tone. Guess what, I still don’t need Google cause my mother is always right.”