The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Robin McDaniel

Brian Jones Joins The Alley Light


Already a talented bunch, The Alley Light‘s kitchen staff just got even better. Earlier this year, Brian Jones, who ran Petit Pois’ kitchen for more than a decade, decided it was time to move on. His new project was to oversee the kitchen of Timberwood Tap House, the restaurant from the Timberwood Grill team which opened in October, across from Wegmans. Now that Timberwood Tap House is up and running, Jones is returning to more sophisticated culinary arts.

In mid-December, he will join The Alley Light’s kitchen, led by Executive Chef and co-owner Robin McDaniel. “Robin and I are excited to bring aboard Brian Jones,” said McDaniel’s husband Chris Dunbar, also a co-owner. “Having both worked with Brian for a number of years at both Petit Pois and Fleurie,” said Dunbar, “we have first hand knowledge of his work ethic, attention to detail, organization, and creativity.”

It was difficult for Jones to leave Timberwood Tap House, which he says is off to a great start and in very good hands. “I had a wonderful time with the Timberwood family,” Jones said, “but, I realized that being behind the range, cooking, was where I wanted to be.”  Jones is excited to have the chance to do that at The Alley Light, while reuniting with McDaniel and Dunbar.

The restaurant does not expect any significant menu changes resulting from the hire. Instead, McDaniel will just have one of the best assistants a chef could hope for. Jones has worked with some of the nation’s most decorated chefs chefs, such as Daniel Boulud, Eric Ripert and Jean Georges Vongerichten. “Personally and professionally, we couldn’t imagine a better fit here,” said Dunbar.

Congrats to Jones and The Alley Light.

Five Finds on Friday: Robin McDaniel


On Fridays, we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from Robin McDaniel, sous chef of The Alley Light.  McDaniel’s picks.

1)  Tom Yum Soup at Monsoon Siam.  “Kitty and Pooh make you feel like family when you enter the unique space; and the food conveys that sense of hospitality and warmth. It’s a hearty and home-style soup. I always order a large!”

2)  Any Wine sommelier Erin Scala recommends at Fleurie.  “Her knowledge and passion for wine is remarkable.  Not only does she pair wine well with food; more importantly, she finds the right wine for the right person.”

3)  Vongole Oreganato al Forno at Tavola.  “A town favorite that consistently delivers a quality experience. Food has a bright acidity, wine list is unique, and service is spot on.”

4)  Focaccia and Poached Eggs at Petit Pois. “The most consistent and best brunch in town. It is a perfect way to start a Sunday . . . huge patio in the summer, cozy in the winter.”

5)  Herb-roasted Turkey Sandwich at Market Street Market. “My favorite sandwich in town. Great deli selections on a central location off the mall. I always ask for extra watercress. Throw in some lamb curry from Revolutionary Soup and you’ve got lunch covered.”

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