The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Prime 109

Chef Ian Redshaw Nabs James Beard Nod

prime ian

Photo by Signe Clayton.

When it comes to food awards per capita, few cities can top Charlottesville. The James Beard Foundation, the Good Food Awards, The Food Network, and The Cheesemonger Invitational are just some to bestow awards upon Charlottesville area food in recent years. The Little Food City That Could keeps chugging along.

Now, for the first time ever, a Charlottesville chef is a James Beard semifinalist for national Rising Star Chef of the Year: Ian Redshaw of Prime 109. According to the award’s criteria, it recognizes “a chef age 30 or younger who displays exceptional talent, character, and leadership ability, and who is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.” Just 23 chefs in the country are semifinalists, with most coming from large markets like Chicago, Los Angeles, and Boston. And, to put the award in perspective, past winners include chefs like Bobby Flay, David Chang, Michael Mina, and Grant Achatz.

While Redshaw’s star power is finally being recognized outside Charlottesville, it has been well known here for years. To the country, rising. To Charlottesville, risen. Soon after the Culinary Institute of America graduate came to Charlottesville at age 22, he was already a star: l’étoile de L’étoile. Next, after a brief stint at Tavola, he helped to launch Lampo, where he created both the 2015 and the 2016 Dishes of the Year, and then was named 2018 Best Chef in C-VILLE Weekly. Now as Executive Chef of Charlottesville’s 2019 Best New Restaurant, Redhsaw’s talent continues to turn heads, including even the Governor’s, who last year called Redshaw’s steak the best of his life.

Congratulations, Ian. Congratulations, Charlottesville.

2015 & 2016 Dishes of the Year at Prime 109’s Bar


General Tso’s Sweetbreads at Lampo

Some say Wednesday is the best night to enjoy Prime 109, particularly in the bar, where a jazz trio (Adam Larrabee, Brian Caputo & Randall Pharr) performs each week while guests enjoy Abraham Hawkins’ latest cocktail creation. Tonight, the Wednesday bar gets better still with the addition of the 2015 and 2016 Dishes of the Year.

The 2015 Dish of the Year was General Tso’s Sweetbreads, a rare special menu item at Lampo, created by chef Ian Redshaw. The 2016 Dish of the Year was another Redshaw special at Lampo, Szechuan Pastrami Panuozzo. Now chef at Prime 109, Redshaw is featuring both dishes tonight in the bar.

Channeling China via Italy, the sweetbreads are tossed in a sauce of honey, Calabrian chili, garlic scapes, and a fermented fish sauce called garum. They come with truffled Carolina gold rice and broccolini.  For the pastrami sandwich, without the use of Lampo’s pizza oven for panuozzo bread, Redshaw made a few tweaks. On rye from Albemarle Baking Company, Redshaw’s own Sherwood Farm Szechuan pastrami joins burnt corn aioli and a slaw of Brussels sprouts and ramps.

Jazz, Abe’s cocktails, and two dishes of the year. Sounds like a solid hump day.

Five Finds on Friday: Ryan Davidson


If you work in the Charlottesville food industry, you may recognize this week’s Five Finds on Friday participant, a young lady who has joined me on my food adventures ever since she changed my life eleven years ago today. With a boundless love of life and people, it seems Ryan has told most of Charlottesville’s servers that she likes their earrings. Happy birthday, Ryan. Ryan’s picks:

1) Parker House Rolls at Prime 109. “When I go to a restaurant, I always like it when they have bread. But, Prime 109’s Parker House Rolls are not just ordinary bread. You can smell them coming from the other side of the restaurant. And when you get them you can’t stop eating them. We always end up ordering a second one! They are warm and have a nice salty taste when eaten with butter. They are also almost as good at home! And, Prime 109 is the place where I’m going today for my birthday!”

2) Fried Chicken with Waffles and a Vanilla Milkshake at Smoked Kitchen & Tap. “Chicken, waffles, and syrup. There are so many flavors and I like how they fit together. Smoked is also where I had my first milkshake. I love vanilla, and when I heard vanilla ice cream was in that milkshake, I was really excited! Their milkshakes are creamy, sweet and, best of all, taste exactly like vanilla! I’ve had more milkshakes, but that one is still my favorite! Their chicken always comes out nice and hot, and the waffles freshly made. It’s a bit of a drive, but it’s totally worth it!”

3) Lumpia from Little Manila. “Ever since I was young, my brother and I would go to the market on Saturdays. And every Saturday, my brother would get what he called ‘egg rolls’ from Little Manila. Then he introduced them to me and I loved them. They have great flavors on their own, but even better in the sauce.”

4) Dealer’s Choice at The Alley Light. “Sometimes after swimming at ACAC, I like to go to The Alley Light for a mocktail. Every time I go, Micah always makes a different one for me. But, the parts I like most are the fruity flavors and the tiki glasses.”

5) Kale Caesar at Chopt.  “After a soccer game, for me, the best thing to eat is a Kale Caesar from Chopt. I love salad, not only because it’s so healthy, but because of how many different types there are. My favorite by far is the Kale Caesar because I love kale and the dressing they use. I also think that one bonus is how they chop it. They chop it up so small, so that everything is mixed together.”