Fit for grazing: Pasture readies to moo-ve into Stonefield
Ever since Trader Joe's signed a lease in the under-construction Shops at Stonefield, food lovers have been salivating, and now there's even more reason to work up an appetite: one of Richmond's top chefs has selected Stonefield as the site to open a second location of his popular restaurant, Pasture, which offers tapas– small dishes– with southern flair.
"There's a huge focus on local," says Pasture owner Jason Alley, who was voted Best Chef in Richmond by Style Weekly readers in 2012, and who says Charlottesville is an ideal market for the restaurant thanks to the plentiful farms nearby and adventurous diners eager to savor new flavors.
Alley, who opened his first Richmond restaurant, Comfort, 10 years ago, says his interest in cooking stems from his childhood in West Virginia, where he was surrounded by gardeners and hunters who instilled in him a love of fresh, local foods. While Alley himself won't be doing the actual cooking at the 3,500-square-foot Charlottesville location, he modestly says he's in the process of hiring someone "hopefully better than me" who'll be free to experiment and present dishes that reflect seasonal foods from Central Virginia.
If the Richmond Pasture offerings are any indication, it could be mouth-watering indeed, with unusual fare like Guajillo-braised local pork over pickled chili cheddar cheese grits, fried pickles, and oyster pot pie featured on the restaurant's Facebook page.
There will also be 16 beers on tap, including nine from Virginia, but none in bottles. "We're trying to reduce landfill consequences," says Alley.
Stonefield's upscale stores will include Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn, and Alley hopes Pasture will provide rejuvenation for weary shoppers.
"We're a corner space that looks out over green space," he says of the Stonefield location, which will also feature a patio and is scheduled to open in November. "It'll be a great place to sit and enjoy some bad-ass southern food."