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."


Great concept - horrible location. This is a destination type of restaurant, not one for shoppers on the go and wanting to eat on the cheap ( burgers and fries ) . Look at what happened to all the restaurants that tried to locate at Fashion Square Mall, when it was the hot ticket in town, and only Mall.

People will go to Stonefield for movies and to buy groceries, but for a dining experience, nice evening out with the one you love - no way.

Seems like this mall is going to be a version similar to Short Pump, which has quite a few destination-type restaurants that are always packed. If the food is good there will be a wait on the weekends and the mall will give them something to do while they wait.

I disagree, city girl. Easy parking is a big feature for restaurants. Fashion Square is a whole different thing and doesn't have anything like this restaurant (or any of the others reportedly coming to Stonefield). I also don't think that Stonefield is going to be at all similar to Fashion Square or Albemarle Sq or Seminole Sq for that looks like they're trying to make it more walkable and more interesting outside of the shopping itself. They're also putting in fairly high end looking shops...that is, people with disposable income will be at Stonefield.

I am thrilled that we will have a "suburban" choice for creative cuisine that uses locally sourced cuisine. Parking downtown and in other areas of the city) is often a hassle and sometimes we don't want to "stroll, meet and greet" on the downtown mall. A huge "YAY!" for this location!

Short Pump is a long way from Richmond .
Stonefield is a stone's throw away from fabulous restaurants in far more appealing locations. I stick by my original prognosis.

Could you give some examples of significantly more appealing locations?

I agree with city girl. If this guy's food is really that good, he should go to Belmont...or anywhere else but a mall. A mall isn't the atmosphere I want for a nice dining experience, especially in C'ville. That being said, great food may be able to overcome...

Location is good...but again, parking is important. Belmont isn't really anything outside of the restaurants. It's not like there's a little park to sit in or anywhere to walk and it's difficult to park if you don't get there right when the restaurants open. Clifton Inn and Ivy Inn have lovely settings and easy parking...but I can't think of others that fit that description off hand.

"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."

lets hope the tap lines are kept clean! please clean the tap lines regularly, we can taste the difference..

Just about anywhere is more appealing than a Mall for fine dining.
I like the Ivy Inn . They have been at the forefront of serving locally sourced food and there is plenty of parking .
Duner's is another . I could go on and on . If they serve inexpensive food that may work, but not fine dining, as I believe Pasture is.

The parking may be great , but getting there will be a nightmare on 29.

I have been to this guys restaurants in RIC. If he replicates the food here then he'll do well. If you're ever in RIC make sure to check out Comfort. That place is awesome. Location is fine, there will be TONS of people there on a daily basis, and traffic is a good thing for retail/restaurants.

I think it's smart for any restaurant to go where the traffic is. I'm sure dinner and a movie will be a big thing at Stonefield.

@City Girl
Stonefield isn't really a mall. It's a shopping center. There's a big difference. You'll be able to walk outside and get some air before going in to a restaurant that is not internally connected to many other stores, say like Sbarros in the mall.

Picture the location. Would you drive there between 5-7pm ( dinner time) if you didn't have to ?

Then picture the roads into and out if Short Pump.
It would be quicker for me to drive from the UVa area to Short Pump for dinner than to try to get to Stonefields between 5-7. No thanks

Yes, I'd drive there at dinner time because then I can park. If I drive to Belmont (which I do fairly often to eat) it can sometimes take 15 or 20 minutes to find parking that isn't most of a mile away (and that may not be a problem for many, I'm on oxygen, though...a long walk doesn't make for a nice dinner for me). I'm not disagreeing that traffic on the way might be an issue, I just don't see it as much greater an issue than the transportation and parking issues that affect most restaurants in town. Downtown mall and Belmont present parking/walking issues. Duner's is a drive all on its own (and coming from the opposite side of Charlottesville takes a while to drive it). You have to fight over Pantops or around on 64 to get to Clifton and deal with the University area or the bypass to get around to the Ivy Inn.

Can't wait. I'm psyched.

Totally stoked here as well bra. It is official Charlottesville is now NoVA. Happy strip malls for all to enjoy. Can we build some roads now please? Like ohh my god I can't believe it.

Do you guys thing that nasty crime scene of a 7-11 and the weed field behind it looked better? It was only a matter of time before something more beneficial to the county sprouted up. So far, Stonefield looks a whole lot better than K-Mart, Albemarle Square, Seminole Square, and most of 29 combined. Whole Foods is the one with the retched approach to its parking lot. Hate that road. I'm looking forward to having Stonefield and this cool restaurant open up. Doesn't mean I love the intersection.

if you hate it now just imagine what it will be like once everything opens! You might hate it so much that you never go. I would not blame you. I much prefer the sleven and tall grass in what was once a field and woods. Today is friday from eleven am on that intersection will be bumper to bumper. Once the shops open it will be that way everyday saweet!.

Albemarle County had the opportunity to learn from the experience of NoVA and other "sprawl" communities, and has totally failed. The Board of Supervisors has behaved disgracefully.

Looking forward to this. Lot of us up 29N want this kind of dining option and don't want to fight for parking downtown.

OMG, people talk about parking downtown like it's some sort of battle. You all have no idea how good you have it. There are FOUR large parking lots--two garages and two open lots--immediately adjacent to the downtown mall, plus a fair amount of street parking and way more handicapped parking than needed for people who can't walk very far. What a bunch of whiners!

Yeah it's not really that bad. The worst part about it is having to pay a few bucks to go spend more bucks.

Lol at all the Debbie Downers dissing the new jernt before it's even open. Go have a beautiful al fresco dinner downtown w/ some hobo stench & banging drums..