Gameday: Former Cav to open sports bar
As a 6-foot-one, 248-pound linebacker for UVA, Merrill Robertson played alongside Angelo Crowell between 1999 and 2001, and according to his UVA bio, made an "immediate impact" on defense with two tackles, a sack, and two passes broken up in his debut game against N.C. State. In 2003, Robertson was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles, and while he only played one season for the Birds, he met his wife, Mary, in Philly. Now he and his wife plan to make an immediate impact along Fontaine Avenue come UVA football season this fall.
"When football season comes to UVA," says Robertson, "there's going to be no better place to watch the game or tailgate."
Robertson is talking about the building on Fontaine formerly occupied by Carmello's, in which he plans to open Gameday Pizzeria Bar & Grill. Robertson, who lives in Chesterfield, already owns two Gameday restaurants in Fayetteville, North Carolina, with his partner Carl Vaughn (with whom he owns a Richmond-based private equity firm). The one in Charlottesville will be the third in the budding chain.
"You'll be able to come over and tailgate or watch the game right at Gameday," says Robertson." We plan to create an awesome atmosphere."
Indeed, they plan to turn the outside parking lot area into outdoor seating, and feature bands and other game-day excitement. They also plan to cater tailgate parties, which they will prepare and bring right to you wherever you are tailgating around the stadium.
"We'll have pizza, wings, fish, pastas, and salads," says Robertson, "plus plenty of beer and liquor."
Right now, the Robertsons are busy renovating the space with a new bar and "TVs everywhere," he says.
"I know the town well," says Robertson, "and I know what a center that area of town is during game days. It's going to be awesome."
Robertson says they're shooting for a June opening.
Something growing downtown
Since 2007, QCC Farms has been bringing folks together across racial and economic barriers to work side-by-side planting stuff to eat in urban gardens. In 2012, the more official sounding Urban Agriculture Collective of Charlottesville (UACC) was formed to bolster and financially support the urban farming initiative, and on March 23, spring's first potato planting (pictured) took place at Friendship Court and 6th Street gardens. There's also the West Street garden on the big double lot behind the Region Ten office on Preston Avenue.
If you volunteer, you earn credits, in the form of wooden coins called "Farm Tokens," for vegetables. You can either exchange the tokens for vegetables at the group's weekly Market Days or give them to someone else. You can also buy vegetables from the community garden at Gibson's Grocery on Avon Street.
Want to get involved? Community Gardening Days, which run May through September (weather permitting), start at Friendship Court on Tuesdays from 8am to 11am and Wednesdays from 4pm to 7pm, and on fourth Saturdays every month (5/25, 6/22, 7/27, 8/24, 9/28) from 8am to 11am. contact Farmer Todd at 434-989-0150 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information