The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Revolutionary Soup

Five Finds on Friday: Lisa Richey

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Lisa Richey, the very supportive ex-wife of Charlottesville’s most prolific restaurateur Will Richey. Lisa suggested Will provide her background:

“I have shared many of the greatest meals of my life with Lisa. We both share whatever that thing is that makes a person seek out great, authentic, well made cuisines. We have traveled extensively together, and we started a farm together. It was not to produce food alone, it was to produce food that was interesting to us in ways that we connected with. We still reach out to each other for travel tips knowing that the first priority when traveling for each of us is researching the best places to eat. Lisa’s recommendations are always at the top of my list.”

Lisa Richey’s picks:

1) Gulf Coast Salad as a Wrap from Revolutionary Soup (owned by Will Richey). “Look, I want to eat healthy, but eating a salad with a plastic fork is a bummer. The combo of shrimp, hard-boiled eggs and avocado makes this my healthy go-to lunch, and putting it all in a wrap makes it easier to eat at my desk. And yes, I do frequently order the Lisa Quesadilla. I’m a sucker for anything with goat cheese.”

2) Fried Chicken and Collards at The Whiskey Jar (owned by WIll Richey). “Sure, I love the BBQ Nachos, and The Jar Salad, but if I’m craving something from The Jar, it’s fried chicken with the honey jalapeno dipping sauce. The collards remind me of how we used to eat when we lived on the farm, but now I don’t have to actually harvest anything which somehow makes this recipe taste even better. I also adore the Creamed Spinach and Sweet Potato Dumplings. I also think The Jar is the best place for a business lunch with out-of-towners – you can get French or fusion in most cities, but the client who seems shocked at how small CHO is definitely needs the full Southern experience, sweet tea encouraged. (And yes, I am from NJ.)”

3) Dealer’s Choice at The Alley Light (founded and formerly owned by Will Richey). “I think this place has the best ambience of any restaurant in town. Robin and Chris continue to make The Alley Light shine, so much so that it’s hard to pick just one dish. However, I always start with the Anchovy Toast, as it is the perfect way to set your palate for everything that’s to come. Then I order whatever carpaccio is on the specials board, followed by something braised. Micah and team make magic at the bar. Their attention to detail, down to the glassware, is evident and joyful. I usually request some sort of high ball with a gin base, and I love how the bar incorporates local fruits and herbs.”

4)  Wine List at Cafe Frank (owned by Will Richey). “The great irony that Will’s first sit-down restaurant (The Jar) sells basically no wine wasn’t lost on us. Cafe Frank is the bistro I always assumed he’d want to run. It’s a great spot to go for happy hour and order an assortment of snacks while splitting a bottle of wine with that friend you’ve been meaning to make plans with for months. Also, the Mushroom Fritters go perfectly with a bottle of Burgundy.”

5) Classic Burger at Högwaller Brewing (owned by Will Richey). “I live right down the street from Högwaller, which may buy my future cardiologist a beach house someday. But until then, my idea of a perfect weekend day is a sauna at Rivanna River Company, followed by a Classic Burger and a Rives Street Lager. It’s just a burger, sure, but it’s the platonic form of a burger. And I love a beer that is both delicious but also low enough ABV that I don’t need to take a nap later. Mark makes awesome beer, and it has been a blast checking out the new taps each Thursday and chitchatting with folks around the firepit.”

“Wait, Other People Are Crazy Enough to Own Restaurants?!”

1) Banh Mi at Vu Noodles. “This may be the official sandwich of Apex Clean Energy employees. This is the only tofu I have ever craved and I probably eat this once a week.”

2) Clam Pizza at Lampo. “If I had a bat signal, it would be checking Instagram to see if this pizza is on special. When I was little, my grandfather made me linguine with clams for any special occasion, so you could say this flavor profile is my Ratatouille moment. Tavola’s linguini con vongole also makes me feel like I’m back home.”

3) Omakase at Ten. “Let the chef choose the fish, and feel like you’ve been transported out of Charlottesville to a city large enough to have a subway. Don’t sleep on the seaweed salad. I’m also a fan of the harami miso.”

4) Lobster Roll (Connecticut Style) at Public Fish & Oyster. “My oldest friend in town and I frequent this happy hour, splitting a lobster roll and a dozen oysters. She gets a Negroni and I go with a Negroni Sbagliato. The french fries that come with the lobster roll are ideal with the oysters, especially if you get a side of horseradish.”

5) Shaved Salad at Oakhart Social. “Few salads are craveable. This one clears that hurdle easily, and it’s usually the reason I end up at Oakhart. Also, their tuna crudo is fantastic.”

#8: Cheesesteak – Belle

The Cheesesteak 

Usually you have to choose. Do you want an original cheesesteak? Or do you want one prepared by a great chef? As delicious as the original rendition is, it doesn’t exactly require a culinary degree to make. And so, when a great chef takes a stab at a cheesesteak, while the result is often delicious in its own right, the experience can differ from the sandwich made famous by former hot dog stand owners in Philadelphia.

Belle chef John Shanesy somehow does both. The cheffy tweaks he makes to one of America’s favorite sandwiches manage to enhance it while also yielding a result faithful to the original. No, he doesn’t use Amoroso rolls. He has access to hoagie rolls baked fresh every day by a world class baker: his brother Scott, with whom he co-owns Belle. As for the cheese sauce, Shanesy makes an upgraded version of “whiz” by combining Tillamook cheddar and American cheese, which he steeps at 180 degrees in Mt Crawford milk and heavy cream with dried chilies and herbs, fresh thyme, black pepper, and salt. For the sandwich, he griddles sliced steak, mushroom duxelles, bell pepper, and white onion, and chops them all together.  For assembly, he smears mayo on the top bun and adds iceberg lettuce. On the bottom bun, he adds the steak mixture and cheese sauce. The result is a sandwich that may differ from the original, but still tastes faithful to the style. A classic made even better.

#8: Cheesesteak – Belle
The Charlottesville 29 of Sandwiches

Others of Note: Steak and Cheese at Taste Shack (GFA), Villy at Ace Biscuit & Barbecue,  Beef Cheesesteak at Farmacy, Cheesesteak at Fabio’s, The Whiz at Lucky Blue’s, Philly Steak/Cheese at Tubby’s, Cheesesteak Hoagie at Revolutionary Soup, Philly Cheesesteak at Timberwood Grill. Vegetarian Alternatives: Philly Cheeseshroom at Kitchen(ette), The Godfather with Shrooms at Lucky Blue’s, Vegan Cheesesteak/Vegetarian Cheesesteak at Champion Brewing Company

#18: Ednam – The Market at Bellair

Photo by Do Me A Flavor.

The Turkey Sandwich

There is something distinctly American about our love of turkey. And, it’s not just Thanksgiving. Nowhere in the world does turkey dominate lunch boxes, sandwich boards, and refrigerator drawers the way it does here. It is the most popular deli meat in the country.

When it comes to turkey sandwiches, though, some purists insist on turkey that is freshly roasted. Others have come to prefer the processed turkey products more common at deli counters, supermarkets, and sandwich shops. In fact, it is this latter style of turkey meat that inspired the career of the most famous sandwich maker Charlottesville has ever produced. Mason Hereford founded the first sandwich shop to be named Best New Restaurant in the Country, Turkey and the Wolf. But long before he graced magazine covers and award lists for his New Orleans restaurant, Hereford grew up in Charlottesville, and credits his love affair for sandwiches to a place he’d go twice a week: The Market at Bellair.

Founded in 1991 by former caterers, The Market has since expanded from its Ivy gas station location to become such an institution that almost everyone has their go-to order from its menu of elaborate sandwiches, many with local names like Afton, Farmington, and Keswick. While all are delicious, the Ednam is hardest to resist. Boar’s Head maple turkey joins bacon, Havarti, lettuce, tomato, and avocado, on freshly baked bread. The kicker is the market’s own herb mayonnaise, an ingredient so habit-forming that some people go twice a week.

#18: Ednam – The Market at Bellair
The Charlottesville 29 of Sandwiches

Others of Note: Gobbfather at Ivy Provisions (GFA), Country Gentleman at Taste Shack (GFA), Herb Oven Roasted Turkey at Market Street Market, After the Hunt at Hunt Country Market & Deli, The Smokin’ at The Market at Bellair (GFA), The Drum Fill From In the Air Tonight at Chickadee, Turkey Muffaletta at Mona Lisa, Turkey Jack at Kitchen(ette) (GFA), Fifeville at Petite MarieBette, Hot Sicilian at Dürty Nelly’s, Farmington at The Market at Bellair (GFA), Turkey Bacon Club at Revolutionary Soup, Birdwood at The Market at Bellair (GFA); Vegetarian Alternatives: Yogaville at The Market at Bellair (GFA), Sly Fox at Hunt Country Market & Deli

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