Diners in Christopher Long's new venue can look out to Market Street and to this courtyard.
"I love the people of Scottsville and Charlottesvile and the interplay between the two communities," says Christopher Long.
Remember Caffe Bocce, the first of the upscale restaurants to start putting the little river town of Scottsville on the maps de cuisine? After a near decade-long hiatus, this upscale nouvelle Italian concept will reappear in downtown Charlottesville.
We bumped into proprietor Christopher Long on Friday morning when he was putting the finishing touches on the space, located in what many locals still call the old Live Arts building. Technically, that's the old Michie Company Building, but it might make equal sense to call it the Isle of Dead Restaurants.
In the first eight years since its conversion from offices to eatery, the compact spot across from City Hall has played host to four restaurants– one of which may have set a short-run record.
The fun began in 2003 with Garden of Sheba and moved on to Boheme and then Asia Specialty. However, the winner in the short-lived restaurant contest was the last to occupy the venue: Carlton's, a French restaurant which opened and closed in the span of two months in the spring of 2011.
"I don't think the location is a determining factor," says an undeterred Long.
He closed his original Caffe Bocce in 2005 and spent the next few years running a restaurant in Rhinebeck, a scenic village north of New York City in Dutchess County.
"I have a love affair with the Hudson Valley and Central Virginia," says Long, who once again resides in Scottsville, where he served as mayor for several years.
Now finding himself commuting by car instead of foot, Long take solace in the fact that the new location, 609 East Market Street, lies on the Scottsville side of Charlottesville.
Long says he plans to "gently" launch his Italian-oriented cuisine on Monday the 19th of November. That means that fans of the old Caffe Bocce can once again appreciate the care his kitchen likes to lavish on fish dishes, as well as his French-inspired sauces.
"But," laughs Long, "we'll have lots of red sauce too."