The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Palladio

Five Finds on Friday: Spencer Crawford


Spencer Crawford, left.

On Fridays, we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  This week’s picks come from Spencer Crawford, sous chef of Palladio Restaurant, which was recently invited to make yet another appearance at the James Beard house.  Crawford’s picks:

1)  Virginia Apple Cider from Bold Rock Hard Cider.  “What I drink almost all the time. Not a bad place to go and hang out either.”

2)  Spudnuts from Spudnuts.  “All of them. There’s a reason it has been on a lot of people’s list. Best in town or anywhere else.”

3)  Pulled Pork Sandwich and Hushpuppies from BBQ Exchange.  “Smoky pork-a-liciousness. ‘Nuff said.”

4)  Tie between Loaded Footlongs from Jak’n Jil and Bacon Cheeseburgers from Riverside Lunch.  “Both places have been around forever. Never been disappointed.”

5)  Pancakes from Tip Top.  “Good simple food done the same way every time.”


Palladio Receives James Beard Invite


Chef Melissa Close-Hart. Photo by Jackson Smith.

The national spotlight continues to shine on Charlottesville area food.  Just a week after news broke that Parallel 38 will cook at New York City’s The Beard House this August comes news of another area restaurant being invited there: Palladio Restaurant at Barboursville Vineyards.

Of course, this type of attention is nothing new for Palladio, or its chef Melissa Close-Hart.  In her 14 years at the Italian fine dining destination, Close-Hart has won more national acclaim than any other area chef, with four James Beard nods as a semi-finalist for Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic.  And, while it is special for a restaurant to receive even just one invitation to cook at The Beard House, this will be Palladio’s fifth appearance there.  Yes, fifth.  “It’s such an honor to be asked to bring the Palladio crew back to the Beard House,” said Close-Hart, who previously cooked there in 2002, 2004, 2007 and 2012.

Scheduled for February 24, 2015, Palladio’s dinner will be a multi-course affair, paired with Barboursville wines, that will celebrate Virginia’s bounty of wonderful produce, like Rappahannock River Oysters, Caromont Farm Cheese, and Border Springs Lamb.  “We have a talented team here,” Close-Hart said, “and I’m ecstatic to go to New York and showcase what we are accomplishing here in Virginia. We are still working on the menu, but I plan on focusing on Virginia products paired with Luca Paschina’s great wines! ”

Congratulations to Melissa and the rest of the Palladio team.


Five Finds on Friday: Todd Grieger


On Fridays, we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from Todd Grieger, Executive Chef of Red Pump · A Tuscan Kitchen, the new project from the team behind Pippin Hill set to open next month on the downtown mall.  Grieger is also a veteran of top area kitchens like Palladio Restaurant, Mas, C&O, and Maya.  Grieger’s picks:

1)  Pork Belly at BBQ Exchange.   “Smoked pork belly?!  What else is there to say?  It’s just delicious.  Covered in Colonel Bacon sauce and Hog Fire  sauce . . . that’s legit.”

2)  Prix Fixe Menu at The Shack. “Ian is super talented and the food is awesome. It’s the best deal to eat the food of one of the best chefs in the area.”

3)  Spencer Crawford’s Salumi at Palladio.  “I’ve eaten salumi all over, and his is just fantastic – best I’ve had.”

4)  Bocadillo at MAS.  “I don’t get in there as much as I like but the chefs there (Ketola and Mick) are my peeps. When I worked there I would eat one every day with smoked tomato aioli. It’s tasty.”

5)  Biscuits at Maya.   “If you want fluffy and delicious biscuits that are the real deal then you have to get the biscuits at Maya.  They are a rite of passage, working the veg station there, and Christian’s biscuits are the benchmark I try to achieve when I make them. My favorite snack when I worked there was two biscuits and ham gravy with Tabasco  sauce.”



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