There's a new foodery in the old Batesville Store-- Plank Road Exchange.
Good olive oil, local cheese, and Albemarle Baking Company bread join the rustic inspired cuisine at Plank Road Exchange.
photo by jim duncan
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."