Calypso: The Caribbean comes to Emmet Street

Calypso, the new Caribbean restaurant, cafe, and bakery that opened last week, probably has the most secure wine cellar in Charlottesville— the vault left behind by a bank that previously occupied their building at 1709 Emmet Street, right next to Raising Cane's. It was one of two huge vaults (one was taken away for the scrap metal) in the building, which was most recently a Century 21 office, when Mike Taft, a general contractor, and his wife Ghizlaine, who owns a preschool, bought the structure and began renovations last July. 

Today, withdrawals at the drive-thru window consist of gourmet coffee and breakfast items, while inside you'll find a full-service restaurant serving traditional Jamaican and Salvadoran cuisine and home-made pastries for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, courtesy of co-owner and chef Dawn Gonsalves

Gonsalves, who owned a bakery in Lexington called Sweet Treats, says the food will be authentic from the region, which has many influences.

"The Caribbean is a melting pot," says Gonsalves, whose mother owned a restaurant in St. Catherine, Jamaica. "There are people from everywhere."

For instance, the raisins for their ice cream are soaked in rum. In addition to curry and jerk, they'll have fried cassava (a Caribbean french fry dish), Aruba-style steak, grouper and shrimp in coconut sauce, fried plantains, and a Jamaican specialty known as "mini patties," which are spicy beef- or vegetable-filled pastries. 

"And we'll have the spicy sauce ready for those who want to kick it up," say Gonsalves with a sly grin.

The Tafts have also renovated the light-filled second floor of the building, which has a second bar, a dance floor, and is available for private events. Downstairs, there's a main dining room, a lunch and breakfast nook, and a full-service bar open until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. 

They also plan to have daily happy hour specials, karaoke on Thursday nights, and jazz on Friday and Saturday nights.

"When you enter Calypso, you're going to feel like you're stepping into the Caribbean," says Ghizlaine.

Yah, Mahn!

Read more on: Calypso restaurant


Looks nice, but the logo on their sign looks amateurish, they should have hired a professional

Really? I'm an amateur and I like the logo.

I did a drive thru on the 2nd day, and the coffee was great. However, the CC muffin felt like it had come out of a spunky cellophane wrapper rather than fresh from the oven, and it wasn't chocked full of chips, there were maybe 8-10 on the top only. Maybe they just weren't set up to offer yummy pastries at the drive thru yet? It was disappointing. I'd think that during your grand opening you'd wanna pull out all the stops and make a big impression and have your best stuff out in abundance. Maybe I'll give 'em a few weeks to work the kinks out and try again.

Congratulations Ghizlaine, Mike and Dawn on your new endeavor. I will definitely visit and enjoy your delicious menu when I make my way to C'ville.

I went there with my wife for her birthday dinner. I had the goat curry, which tasted heavily of salt and nothing else and lingered for about 30 minutes after I'd eaten. Servings were also fairly small for the price. My Creme Brulee was also over sweetened. I would expect much better for a meal for two that cost almost $100, I will not be visiting again.

deleted due to sock puppet critique from same ip address as above

deleted due to sock puppet critique from same ip address as above (again)

deleted due to sock puppet critique from same ip address as above (yet again)