Hello, Mr. Chang: Space change, but elusive chef still coming
Despite recent reports to the contrary, renowned chef Peter Chang is still planning to open his namesake restaurant in Charlottesville, though it will not be in the former Asian Buffet space on Route 29 North, as Dish previously reported.
According to an associate of Chang's, that deal mysteriously fell through following a September 14 story in the Hook. Indeed, despite having issued Chang a leasing contract (which Dish saw with his own eyes) that would have allowed the chef to take possession of the property (which has been vacant since 2006) in October, Chang's associate says that representatives of property owner, the University of Virginia Foundation, expressed frustration with the early publicity and declined to follow through with the deal.
When asked why the property wasn't leased to Chang, UVA Foundation CEO Tim Rose declined to comment, citing client confidentiality in such negotiations.
"If you have questions about this," said Rose. " I would suggest you contact whomever shared information with you."
Anyway, it appears that the Foundation's loss will be the Barracks Road Shopping Center's gain.
Today, Chang secured the former Wild Greens space in the North Wing of the shopping center, and will be calling it Peter Chang China Grill.
"We're very excited to announce that Mr. Chang's restaurant will join Barracks Road in early 2011," said Stuart Biel, leasing associate for Federal Realty, which owns the shopping center.
Of course, you never know with Mr. Chang, but as far as Dish can tell it's a done deal. Reports that Chang was ditching Charlottesville and moving back to Atlanta with his concept aren't true, says Chang's associate. Although he will be consulting on the opening of a new Atlanta restaurant, the associate says Chang will be a majority partner in the Charlottesville restaurant.
After some renovation work to the old Wild Greens space, Chang's associate says they plan to open in late January 2011, just in time for Chinese New Year on February 3. Until then, stay tuned for updates.