Dog gone, Cracker Barrel talk, taco bars, and a day with Joel

After a little over a year, the Downtown Hotdog Company in York Place on the Downtown Mall has called it quits.

Owner Eric Saunders, an award-winning restaurant biz veteran who did stints at Starr Hill and Prince Michel Vineyard and Winery, along with his wife, Jenny, opened the gourmet Chicago-style wienery last July. They hoped to entice Mall-goers into the depths of York Place, which has proved to be a challenge for a number of previous businesses. As fans may recall, the Saunders also rescued Harry the Hotdog, the anthropomorphic wiener man stolen from All Good Groceries in Earlysville two years ago, which prompted a police– ah– wiener hunt? Anyway, Harry was discovered bruised and beaten and buried in a trailer park, the cruel work of a couple of teenage pranksters.

According to the Saunders, their "passion for food and service has been rekindled" by running the dog joint, so they decided to close shop and open a new place: Ericson's Eatery & Pub in Ruckersville, right in the old The Truckstop space. No word yet on when they will be opening, but they're close. Emphasis will be on gourmet pub food and a great selection of beers.

Cracker Barrel coming?
According to County planning documents, there's a plan for a Cracker Barrel Restaurant and Old Country Store in the works for the end of Fifth Street Extended near the Holiday Inn. County planner Margaret Maliszewski says that a Cracker Barrel has been proposed to be located near the Holiday Inn but not connected with it. And the proposer? One Morris Creek Yacht Club LLC. Huh? A Google search reveals they have an Oregon phone number, but no one was home when we called.

Spend the day with Joel
This Saturday, Relay, Charlottesville's own virtual grocery store, is hosting a tour of Joel Salatin's Polyface Farms, a rare occasion as the busy farmer/activist/author doesn't often offer such opportunities. Between farming and lecturing to sustainable foodies nationwide, Salatin is a hard one to track down, but he's agreed to personally guide Relay customers and fans on a tour of his farm. There will be lots of time for questions, exploring the farm, and a picnic lunch.

The cost is $40 per person, and you can sign up online at That also covers a bus ride from Charlottesville or Richmond. You can bring a lunch, but Relay can also arrange a box lunch supplied by Cranberry's, an organic grocery in Staunton. You'll also be able to buy Polyface meat and eggs at the farm. According to the folks at Relay, proceeds from ticket sales will cover only the costs of organizing the trip; any extra will go to the local food bank.

Buses will leave from Richmond at 8:30am and from Charlottesville at 9am. You'll be back in Charlottesville by 2pm and back in Richmond by 2:30pm.

Way to go, Jose!
On Monday, October 3, from 11am to 3pm, Aqui es Mexico owner Jose Patino plans to unveil recent renovations in his dining room on Carlton Avenue. The grand re-opening will feature a "make your own taco" bar. So go on down and give the Patino family some love!

Free pancakes! Fight Parkinson's
It's that time of year again. Time for Pancakes for Parkinson's on the UVA Lawn. This year, the event happens October 22 from 9am to 1pm before the Cav football team takes on NC State. In case you don't know, Pancakes for Parkinson’s is a free pancake breakfast on the Lawn organized to raise money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research. All proceeds are donated to the Foundation, which works to aid research and increase awareness of Parkinson’s disease.


Cracker Barrel needs to give the 5th Street area a lot more thought. Maybe they should investigate the police calls for service in that neighborhood. And I don't think they will survive out there, even with the Interstate so close.

Wrong neighborhood for a "CRACKER" Barrel. LOL, How bout Popeyes!

Cracker Barrel should go at Pantops or Zion Xroads. 5th street exits is not a good exit for travelers

My GOD, that Popeye's comment was hilarious!!! I needed a good laugh.

Ever try getting to the Cracker Barrel locations in Waynesboro, Staunton or Harrisonburg from the interstate? 5th Street will be far more convenient than those restaurants - all require multiple turns off of the main roads.

As much as I love Popeye's I find your comment racist. However, I would love a Cracker Barrel at any local location....and a Sonic would be great as well.

Maybe Crack Barrel would be better

Wahhhh. There goes someone crying racist already!

If the Waffle House on 5th Street has to pay off duty cops to keep law and order, that should tell Cracker Barrel a thing or two. But there is a way around this too. If they do open on 5th Street all they have to do is give free food or half price food to cops. Being right at the city limits and so close to the Interstate, they will have a record number of city, county and state police cars sitting on the lot at all times.

You miss being a cop so bad, you are just oozing with envy.... Those guys are doing what you can't do anymore and you just can't stand it.

All you dreamers who want a "CHAIN" restaurant in this burg .Don't hold your breath . The chicken will be cold as well as the gravy and biscuits before the Royalty in C Ville let in happen. But; man Popeyes is the bomb.

There are chains in the city. Maybe the truth is we can do a bit better than looking like every other shopping center.

Mr/Mrs/Miss Poor GSOE, I have no problem with cops getting free or half price food. If I myself was to open a food franchise in town somewhere I would give cops free food just to have the patrol cars parked out front and the uniforms on display inside. It's a very cheap price for in-house security (You listening Cracker Barrel?)

What bothers me is when you see 6 to 8 police cars sitting at the same restaurant at the same time, half of them out of their own jurisdiction even. You would think the guys and girls would know better than to let the public see 6 to 8 police cars there all at the same time. I always felt it was common sense, I guess not though. (You listening rookies?)

I will agree with that point. I wonder if the local police supervisors try to get a handle on a bunch of cars parked together at a restaurant.

Yes...... they do now.

Cracker Barrel was good fifteen years ago... just more average corporate food. Its about the interstate totally. Can't imagine why anyone would go to Cracker Barrel at this point if you live here!

No, Cracker Barrel was never good. It's really kind of gross. You've just developed some taste.

There are good places in town to eat and drink, Many of the best are locally owned. (There are even some locally owned places to buy cheesy country themed useless junk if that's your thing.) Getting good food and supporting locally owned business at the same is a win-win. Buying bland corporate food and sending your money to millionaires in Tennessee and Oregon isn't. You won't be seeing me there if and when it comes.

Ice Dogg is just telling it like it is. If that is racist sheet call me one too then. Ain't no crackers out on fifth street (ever been to orangedale ave?) And Popeyes would kill it on fifth street but what they really? need is an ABC store and maybe a Guad.

I wish people would understand what the origin of the word "cracker" is before getting their racial panties all bunched up about it. It means you were either too poor or lived too far away from a grist mill, and therefore ate "cracked" wheat flour instead of finely ground wheat flour from the mill. Which means there is a good chance that a lot of crackers weren't rich and white. Also a good chance that cracker was a racially unbiased term and is really more about poverty, since it means "poor/uncivilized people". Jimmy cracked corn, and I don't care what color he was! He'll probably eat, or more likely wash dishes, at cracker barrel.

@ cookieJar

Yeah!! Well I've had some food from locally owned places that tasted like bark off a tree, too!!
Why is it self-appointed sexual intellectuals like yourself feel the need to tell the rest of us how to live our lives? If you don't like "cheesy country themed useless junk," from whichever place, that's your business and no one else freakin' cares! I'm sure there are lots of folks who don't like whatever it is that you eat, but they practice good manners by keeping their mouths shut and not making backhanded, snide comments about it....... Lordy, lordy!! Rude people like you make me sick.

I enjoy Cracker Barrel occasionally. Wouldn't want it every day, heavy and fattening, but sometimes it's good just to eat plain old food. As for why I would rather go to the Cracker Barrel than some of our local establishments, to a man/woman, I've always found the Cracker Barrel staff friendly and down to earth. I don't enjoy going to a restaurant where the wait staff looks you up and down and decides based on the way you are dressed whether you are worthy of their full attention because you just might not tip as well as they feel entitled.

Meat loaf, taters, biscuits, green beens, sweat tea.

Yum. Yum. Yum.

WTF Billy? Do you wear some sort of sticker on your head declaring your sexuality?

Gasbag is so far off on this one. Obviously the Waffle House has late night security because they are in a college town and everyone is hammered at 2 in the morning when they are still open. This would not effect a Cracker Barrel in any way. It would be a very goo location and do quite well.

Sweetness, I think some of the same people who raise cain in the Waffle House at 2:00 a.m. will be raising cain at 8:00 p.m. in Cracker Barrel while going there half drunk for dinner before hitting the bars and parrrrtaaaays. The location will also be a hot spot for wannabe mini-thugs breaking into cars for a quick grab of petty valuables. Face it, we have become a city where cops even have to work off duty security in a Barnes & Noble book store and a parking garage next to the downtown mall. Law enforcement had to be beefed up on the downtown mall in early evening because of the rampant crime. Back in the early 70s, I could go to the Ridge Drive-In and walk 5 or 6 rows up or down visiting friends while leaving my car unlocked. Now I won't leave them unlocked if I am 20 feet from them in some areas of this town. 5th Street is one of those areas.

There goes gasbag, hatein on the 5th streeters.

disco, um, does it matter if I do? I'm just stating a fact. Are you a Cracker Barrel manager?

There is 28 Comments (+ my) about Cracker Barrel and some Hot dog joint while a great new restaurant is doing great food....No mention anywhere??? The restaurant is Tempo.............What it is wrong with Ch-ville.?????