The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Palladio

Palladio Auction


Here is your chance to experience Palladio like you never have experienced it before, while helping to feed the area’s hungry. It’s The Charlottesville 29 Restaurant Auctions, presented by McGuireWoods. Palladio does not have a Charlottesville address, and so is technically not part of The Charlottesville 29. Instead, it has a “Worth the Drive” designation, reserved for restaurants outside Charlottesville worthy of the 29. But, Barboursville Vineyards’ Luca Paschina is among the kindest men in the industry, and so when he caught wind of the auctions, he asked if Palladio could participate. And so, like the restaurants of The Charlottesville 29, Palladio has created a signature experience available to whoever pledges the highest donation to The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. Thanks to the generosity of Palladio, the winning bid goes directly to the food bank, and each dollar donated is enough to provide four meals to the area’s hungry. So, a winning bid of, say, $2,000 would mean not just a wonderful meal for the winner and their guests, but also 8,000 more meals for the area’s hungry.

The Palladio signature experience for The Charlottesville 29 Restaurant Auctions:

VIP Experience at Palladio’s Truffle Dinner

The Annual Truffle Dinner at Palladio is always one of the food events of the year, with tickets going for $170 per person. The Palladio auction winner will receive not just four tickets, but over-the-top, VIP treatment at this year’s dinner, November 16 at 7 pm. For all guests at the dinner, the evening will begin with canapes and Brut in the Octagon Cellar. Then, during dinner itself, the VIP treatment for the auction winner and three guests will take hold. They will be seated at a table with Luca Paschina himself, who has made Barboursville’s award-winning wines for decades. Also at their table will be Dr. Jeff Long, the truffle expert whose truffles will be featured at the dinner. In addition, exclusively served at the auction winner’s table will be two very special and rare wines. Sommelier Alessandro Medici will decant Barboursville 1998 Nebbiolo Reserve, which won Double Gold at the 2001 San Francisco Invitational and Barboursville 1997 Cabernet Franc, which won the 1999 Governor’s Cup. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime wine and food experience. Be a VIP at Palladio’s Truffle Dinner. 


Bidding for the Palladio auction ended July 20, 2016.

Winning Bid: $1,300

Five Finds on Friday: Hannah Moster


On Fridays, we feature five food finds from area chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from Hannah Moster, sous chef of Hamiltons’ at First & Main, who tomorrow morning is competing against five other top sous chefs in an Iron Chef competition at the Ciy Market, as part of the Tom Tom Founders Festival.  Moster’s picks:

1)  Dan Dan Noodles at Peter Chang’s.  “Never had anything there I didn’t love. The lunch specials Monday through Friday are a great deal, and the hot and sour soup is the best ever! If I don’t get a lunch special, I get a couple apps. I’m addicted to the Dan Dan noodles and hot and numbing shredded tofu skins.”

2)  Pulled Pork at The Barbeque Exchange.  “Best bbq around! Being so close to home, we should really eat there every day. Chef Hartman’s crew, headed up by superman Brooks Tanner, never fails to load us up a massive platter of porkliciousness.”

3)  Tasting Menu with Wine Pairings at Palladio Restaurant.  “I’ve always loved an afternoon of tasting at Barboursville. Luca Paschina’s style is right up my alley. Finish off the evening with a glass of wine and a picnic near the ruins, or if you’re lucky, a luxurious dinner of the tasting menu at Palladio.”

4)  Chicken Wings and PBR at Miller’s Downtown.  “Miller’s has everything! Pool, games, live music, upstairs sports bar and the biggest and best people-watching patio downtown. Fresh new renovation downstairs, but still the same old school style and feel. Huge draft beer selection, and that delicious food you crave. A favorite classic.”

5)  Pizza Margherita at Lampo.  “After the three years I spent living in Italy, it’s soooo great to get to have the real deal original pizza again. Thank you and much respect.”


Close-Hart Era at Palladio to End


Photo by Jackson Smith.

There is a term in the corporate world – golden handcuffs – that describes conditions of employment considered so desirable that they discourage valued employees from leaving for another job.  Common examples are stock options and bonuses whose values depend upon length of employment.  The idea is to make remaining at the company far more attractive than any other opportunity.

For fourteen years, Melissa Close-Hart, chef of Palladio Restaurant at Barboursville Vineyards, has enjoyed a chef’s equivalent of golden handcuffs.  Good compensation, a loving team, job security, a breathtaking setting, and a renowned vineyard that has provided a platform for Close-Hart to earn four James Beard semi-finalist nods and host countless nationally acclaimed chefs. Although fourteen years is an unusually long tenure for a chef to remain at one restaurant, it’s easy to understand why Close-Hart never jumped ship.  Where could she go that would be an improvement?

But, ultimately, most chefs dream one day of creating their own place. It’s why many of them are in the business in the first place  – to create their own vision, not execute someone else’s. And, as much as Close-Hart has loved being part of the Barboursville family, she too at times has felt that itch.

Time to scratch it.

Early next year, Close-Hart will leave Palladio to pursue a new opportunity.  “When you are a chef, you crave knowledge and adventure,” said Close-Hart.  “I feel that it is time for that new challenge.”  Of course, deciding to leave her home of fourteen years was not easy.  “I have learned so much from [winemaker] Luca [Paschina] and everyone who has ever worked with me at Palladio,” said Close-Hart. “All that knowledge made me the chef I am, and Palladio the destination it is today.”

Paschina echoed the sentiment. “It has been a great run,” he said. “Together we have established a great culinary destination, setting the standard for this flourishing wine and food region.”

That standard is likely to continue even after Close-Hart’s departure next March, as she will leave Palladio in the hands of her longtime sous chef Spencer Crawford. “I am ecstatic that the new chef will be Spencer,” said Close-Hart.  “Knowing Spencer’s abilities and talents leaves me confident that ‘my baby’ is still going to grow and flourish under someone who I know and respect.”  Crawford, who trained at Johson & Wales University, has already developed a reputation at Palladio, in particular for his charcuterie, which even wins praise from the likes of Roberto Donna, Esquire’s 2012 national chef of the year.

Palladio, then, will still be Palladio.  But, what’s next for Close-Hart?  After all this time in golden handcuffs, what could finally lure her away?  Details here.


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