Café-market: Batesville gets its store back

The historic structure that previously housed the beloved Batesville Store has reopened, and its new incarnation is Plank Road Exchange, which its foodie proprietors describe as a "café-market."

Jessica and Aris Cuadra, who met in a restaurant and have 35 years experience between them, ran a restaurant in Luray last year called the Victorian Inn. But nights-and-weekend childcare for their son, three-and-a-half-year-old Rocco, was difficult, says Jessica Cuadra, and when they became aware the Batesville space was available, they took it. Now Rocco gets to hang out with his parents.

"It's much more relaxed," says his mom.

Not that running a café-market is necessarily relaxing. The couple makes a lot of prepared foods for "grab-and-go dinners," says Cuadra. "The broccoli peanut salad has been a really big hit."

They also make their own baked goods, like the salivation-inducing blueberry brown-butter tart, chocolate chip cookies, macaroons, and bittersweet chocolate brownies. "Those we can't keep on the counter," she says of the brownies.

"The sandwich I had was fantastic," says realtor/blogger Jim Duncan, enthusing over the "MC-50," a Cuadra creation of Boar's Head roast beef, green chili mayonnaise, and onion marmalade, the two latter ingredients made in-house, served on an Albemarle Baking Company baguette.

"All our sandwiches are our own creation," says Cuadra, "and we make the condiments."

The market side of the café includes olive oil, local cheeses, dried pasta, and fresh produce– enough to whip up your own dinner if so inclined.

More good news for Batesvillians: Plank Road Exchange should have its ABC license in another week or so, and they're planning live music on Fridays and Saturdays.

And the Cuadras also are planning chef's table dinners on Wednesday nights. Four or five courses will be offered by reservation only for the 15 seats that the café-eatery is licensed to have. (Exceeding that limit was a pitfall for the previous owners.)

While the couple cooked "creative American cuisine" at their previous restaurant, Jessica Cuadra refuses to be pegged into even so loose a genre. "We just like making good food," she says, emphasizing a "less is more" approach. "We're very passionate about what we do."

Early reports since the low-key April 21 opening indicate that Batesville residents are excited to have a place to gather and buy good eats. The grand opening will be on Batesville Day– May 19.

"We want to have a hangout spot," says Cuadra. "It's been almost overwhelming the welcome we've received."


As a Batesville resident, I resent this writer's informing me that live music and a liquor license should be good news to me. It's good news to have a spot within walking/easy driving distance where I can grab coffee on the way to work, or essentials on the way home. Jessica and Aris seem like really nice people who care about what they do, and I sincerely hope this market is a success. They're filling a much-needed role. However, I remain cautiously apprehensive about the live music and alcohol aspect of this venture--I like both live music and alcohol, but I'm less excited about the crowd they could attract to such a small space, and the parking/traffic issues that might result. I'm crossing my fingers that Plank Road Exchange adds a positive energy to Batesville while still preserving the serenity that drew many of us here in the first place.

How can you have live music at a space that only seats 15? I assume it's unpaid. "Hey, you'll get lots of exposure." "M'am, where I come from people die of exposure."

Totally agree virginianative. I live in Batesville as well and love the peace and quiet here. I think most residents do as well. The only people who should be excited for live music and liquor license are the Charlottesvillians who decide it'll be a fun to head into the country for a few hours on a Friday night. I think the store could be great for this community but let me decide that. I don't need a writer from The Hook of all places to prescribe what's good for me.

On the days of "live music" traffic and parking will block all of Plank Rd. That road is barely 20 ft. wide anyway. Once the cars start parking on the "shoulder" of the road, it reduces the travel path to about 12 feet. Add to that folks crossing the road like a squirrel or chicken and you have some serious safety issues.

I am a local student doing market research on opening a new restaurant in town. If you have a few minutes, I would love if you could complete my survey. You will be entered into a drawing for one of several $50 Amazon gift certificates! Thanks!

If they are anything like Shelly their Mom they will abe very successful, and people will be very happy with anything that they do. They are boundf to succeed if peple will just not get too negative or look for any negative it is all positive, and the food, company and service will far exceed their expectations . Wish I were there to savor the delights you are about to experience.

Well I've got my fingers crossed that the ABC/music aspect of this works out a lot better than last time around. Three things make me think it will. 1) Jessica and Aris are super nice. 2) Norm's saying he'll be more of an active landlord this time around--I don't think he's got any interest in unleashing Cid version number two on us! 3) The latest they're open is 7. It also seems like they're going to actually follow state rules and regulations as far as seating goes, so hopefully that means a manageable amount of cars. I can see something like Dr. Ho's music scene back in the day working here--small acoustic acts that are happy to play for free beer and dinner. Let's keep our fingers crossed, and see you all at the Chef's Tables!

I agree with the concerened Batesville posters here. I drive Plank Rd a lot and I liked Batesville for exactly what it was. Thatś why I decided on stick living a long time ago. My only disagreement with you folks is that on any given night of the so called live music 'scene' in Charlottesville, I don't think you will find townies as much as counties. Lots of trust fund hippies driving in from other counties too, to pretend it's all about culture. I think that's what you'll find in your establishment.

What might be enjoyable is if they choose to have totally acoustic acts in the small space in the late afternoon. Could be a real pleasant novelty.