The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Vivace

Five Finds on Friday: J.R. Hadley


Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from J.R. Hadley, the restaurateur who owns Boylan Heights and the brand new nachos restaurant Cho’s. For St. Patrick’s Day today, Cho’s is turning back into the former occupant of its space on Preston Avenue: McGrady’s. They will hoist the old McGrady’s sign, and staff will wear McGrady’s gear in homage to what Hadley says is the best St. Patrick’s Day party in town. Drink specials, giveaways, live music on the new deck, bagpipes, and even face painting for the kids. Details here and here. Hadley’s picks:

1) Cavolo Nero at Lampo. “This may be the best $7 you can spend in town. I’ve been to Lampo more times than I can count, dating back to when Loren, Drew, Ian and Mitch first opened this gem. I’ve tried everything on the menu, and always look forward to Drew’s educated wine recommendations at the bar. But this often overlooked salad in Charlottesville’s hottest pizza joint is a great example of how talented these guys are. Pickled mustard seed, Tuscan kale, apple cider vin, and candied almonds? Yes please.”

2) The Southern at Roots Natural Kitchen. “I love Roots. Co-owner Jung Kim worked for me at Boylan Heights when he was an undergrad here at UVa and I am so proud of what he has done. In just over a year, Roots has become a staple on The Corner and rightfully so. Not only is it healthy, but its fresh, and flavorful. Most people don’t know they had the guys over at ZoCaLo help design their menu and recipes. Try The Southern if you haven’t already. The house made BBQ tofu is incredible, along with the signature brown/black rice, kale, chickpeas, roasted broccoli and pickled onions.”

3) Greens of the Day at Integral Yoga Natural Foods. “I’m a juice freak. Mainly because it makes it easy for me to get all the fruits and veggies my Mom tells me I’m supposed to eat every day. At Integral Yoga they use fresh, organic fruits and veggies and they are always so friendly and anxious to help you find the perfect juice or smoothie. Plus, it’s right across the street from Cho’s which makes it even more dangerous for me. My go-to is the Greens of the Day. It’s packed with kale, cucumber, cabbage, celery, and I usually add echinacea and Vitamin-C powder. And when you stayed out a little too late? Get the Liver Flush. It works ;)”

4) Tagliatelle w/ Ragu Alla Bolognese at Vivace. “I grew up in Ivy, and went to WAHS with fellow restaurateur Landon Saul. Since taking over Vivace, Landon has taken the menu from good to great. Landon’s parents owned a family grocery store and butcher shop when we were kids, and its no coincidence that Landon brings that same passion for local ingredients to the Vivace menu. After training in Calabria, Italy he brought that simple, authentic Italian style back to Vivace. We’re lucky to have Vivace in little ole Cville and the tagliatelle embodies that best in my opinion. The pancetta is seasoned and cured in house, and the house sausage and grana padano is perfect.”

5) Fried Chicken Sandwich w/fries at The Fitzroy. “There’s another menu item at The Fitzroy named the Perfect Sandwich. I disagree. This is the perfect sandwich. I think about it almost daily. Buttermilk battered chicken, cayenne lemon aioli and pickles. Boom. Owners Kelley Tripp & Richard Ridge are the best in the biz. Kelley helped me open up Boylan, created our menu, and his unique tutelage is a big reason for my success in this business. I’ve known Rich since high school and we were lucky to have him bartend at Boylan for years when he moved back home from NYC. The two of them together are a restaurant dream team. Only a perfectly battered fried chicken sandwich and shoe string fries can compete with them.”

Five Finds on Friday: Landon Saul


Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Landon Saul, chef and co-owner of Vivace Italian Restaurant, which this week participated in a fundraiser involving the signature dish of one of the town’s most devastated by last week’s earthquake in Italy. Vivace raised $500 for relief efforts. On September 20, Vivace is also joining the Meals on Wheels fundraiser Taste This, featuring an array of tastes from restaurants and drink purveyors. Saul’s picks:

1) Tacos Al Pastor at Al Carbon. “As many of my friends and family know, I am obsessed with tacos (after four trips to Mexico). Slow roasted pork shoulder rubbed with dried chiles, pina, salsa verde, cilantro and onions on light-as-air tortillas. Also, the cemitas with coal roasted local chicken, avocado, jalapeno, oaxaca cheese and salsa roja on fluffy torta bread is everything a sammie should be. Pro tip: order it spicy with a negro modelo. The elote con mayonesa (street corn) and the frijoles charros (brown beans) are also not to be missed.”

2) Polpettine al Forno and Peroni at Lampo.  “Andrew Cole is cultivating a fantastic cocktail, beer, and wine list from the Aperol Spritz with prosecco, draft Peroni, and Brunello. Loren Mendosa and crew crank out wood fired local beef and pork meatballs with mozzarella and pecorino that are simply delicious. Ian’s cavolo nero (kale salad) and cavolfiore al forno (roasted cauliflower) are perfect to round out the meal. Did I mention you can also have the meatballs as a pizza or panuozzi? That’s what I call winning and these guys do it every day.”

3) Bocadillo Jamon at MAS Tapas. “Mas is my wife’s and I’s go-to when we want to celebrate life and indulge. Boquerones (white anchovies from Spain), the bocadillo with jamon, manchego and alioli on hearth baked organic bread, artichokes on the plancha, carne asada, and a fantastic bottle of Rioja makes my life complete. Chefs Tomas and Mike use the best imported and local ingredients simply and perfectly.”

4) Cocktails and Housemade Gnocchi at Parallel 38. “Ask the bartender what he recommends. You won’t be disappointed. I had a barrel-aged Manhattan that was simply magical.  Also, the ability to sample wines by the ounce is a nice feature. Housemade flat bread with labneh is my go-to along with the gnocchi, chorizo potatoes, local chicken skewers, and the wonderful array of artisanal meats and cheeses.”

5) Bottle of Coke and a Double Bacon Cheeseburger at Riverside Lunch. “This is my birthday lunch every year. Perfectly seared and seasoned beef smashed on a flat top in all its glory with all the fixins. Shoestring fries and a bottle of coke fly me to the moon. I’m in heaven. (When I want a more gourmet burger I head to Boylan Heights with organic beef and of course tots! Also the best beer specials in town.)”

Five Finds on Friday: Alfredo Malinis, Jr.


On Fridays, we feature five food finds from local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from Parallel 38 chef Alfredo Malinis, Jr., who is fresh off an appearance at the James Beard House and whose cooking Washington Post critic Tom Sietsema recently compared to what’s found at some of D.C.’s best restaurants.  On Tuesday, September 9 at Parallel 38, you can enjoy the special menu that Malinis prepared at the James Beard House. $120. One night only. Reservations required. Call (434) 923-3838.

1) Triple Cheeseburger at Riverside Lunch.  “I love everything about this place.  The staff, the food, and the ‘hometown secret’ feel. Triple cheeseburger is a must.”

2) Risotto at Vivace.  “The risotto is the best I’ve had in a long time.”

3) Crispy Shredded Beef at Kyoto.  “Incredible.  If I could eat this every day, I would.  My fiance won’t let me!”

4) Pancit at Little Manila.  “Little Manila and Got Dumplings are must stops at the Saturday morning market.  If the farmer’s market was open every day, I would still go just for those two stands. The pancit is just like my father makes!”

5) BBQ at Pasture. “Three letters. BBQ.”