Camino bows out, Restaurant Week looms

In a few weeks, Camino, the restaurant located in Vinegar Hill Theater, will take its final bow.

Ann Porotti, the owner of the building that houses both Vinegar Hill and Camino, decided in March to put the property up for sale, a move that factored into the decision by Camino's owner, Drew Hart, to close.

“It was a gradual process,” Hart says. “It was largely precipitated by the fact that the building is for sale and my lease ends shortly and I can’t renew it.”

Though there is a possibility that a buyer will purchase the property with the intention of preserving both the theater and the restaurant, Hart is unsure whether he would reconsider his decision to close.

“I would certainly entertain the idea,” Hart says of keeping Camino open. “I’m not getting any younger though and I do it all by myself. I love it, but I don’t want to do it as much as I’m doing it.”

Hart plans on closing Camino’s doors for the last time in a couple weeks, though he doesn’t plan on announcing the restaurant’s last day so as to avoid the fanfare. Thinking about the curtain closing on the business that has been his life for the last four years brings out sentimentalism in Hart.

“The place had a great spirit,” Hart says. “It was all about things that I fundamentally love. It was nice to be able to find a medium to share all that with everybody.”

Resigned to the inevitable closing, Hart says his customers will be among the things he most misses about Camino.

“We just had a superb clientele. We had the most interesting and savvy people in town coming in. We had people who are very loyal to us.”

How to do Restaurant Week

The very first Charlottesville Restaurant Week had foodies buzzing and tables filling up faster than a top chef can slice a ripe tomato. Ditto for this one in July. Getting in on the fun is easy– but it requires a little planning. Here’s how:

Step 1: Mark your calendar for Monday, July 8th through Sunday, July 14th

Step 2: Peruse the menus from the participating restaurants (to do that, go to or just check the menus in the following pages of the print addition of the Hook ) to decide which ones suit your fancy. With so many participating, you can’t visit one every night!

Step 2: Call each restaurant directly to make your reservation, and mention that you’re coming in for “Restaurant Week.” Reservations are first-come, first-served; and chefs report that interest has been running high, so don’t tarry.

Step 4: Please show up on time, and make sure you’re dressed to make your mama proud, since some of the participating establishments have dress codes.

Step 5: Make sure you order off the special “Restaurant Week” menu, as all of the participating restaurants will also offer their regular— i.e. more expensive— menu. (Everyone will be dismayed, and you might end up washing dishes, if you end up ordering the $45 flaming surf-and-turf that’s not part of the special prix fixe menu.)

Step 6: Savor your meal, and when paying your bill, please remember that drinks, tax, and tips are not included. And remember: $1 from each meal will go to the local Boys & Girls Club of Central Virginia.