Hello, Mr. Chang: Space change, but elusive chef still coming

dish-changesnewplace-2Chef Peter Chang has signed a lease for the former Wild Greens space in the Barracks Road Shopping Center.

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.

Updated 11/17/2010


Please, no more "news" until the place opens, and Peter Chang is actually spotted in the restaurant, making dishes.

You know at this point I don't really care...there's so much else going on in this town food-wise. Plus he's making me so exhausted I feel like I just ingested a pound of MSG....

Who be, in Peter Chang's restaurant, eating sushi... drinking saki? It's me, and my mami with the doobie

Oh, goody goody gumdrops. Charlottesville can pat herself on the back (again) because this renowned chef couldn't have POSSIBLY left her for another town. When will people here realize that these decisions are made primarily on market analysis, not necessarily because someone falls in love with the place.

I ate at Taste of China last Friday and the food was delicious!

Tell you what, I am Chinese, and I found the food now at Taste of China is better than when Chef was there.

Chef Chang's food is good, but not that great. It was a big hype. If he was in China, he would be a so so chef.

Doesn't seem like very good sense to me to be angry that a prospective tenant has enough pre-opening press to guarantee that he can make rent.

Chang's chicken fingers are the best around.

UVA failed to comply with it's side of an agreement?

Naughty, naughty little UVA.

ching chong CHANG!

Chang needs to have a bar in that place like ole Charley's that was in that location in the old days... that place was like a redneck version of a disco in the 80's late night...Rock on Chang...

Chang could call it "Charley's Chang"....

Just received confirmation from Federal Realty, owner of the Barracks Road Shopping Center.

"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.


Wenge Li: Odd to say that Chang would be a "so so chef" in China, since it was the Chinese Embassy that brought him to the US in the first place. I think his bona fides are pretty assured at this point.

Caroline: Not sure if you have been following this story over the last six years, but I assure you that market analysis has little to do with this mercurial fellow's approach.

I'll gladly go out of my way to drive to Charlottesville on my occasional trips to Richmond once Chang's new restaurant (hopefully) opens. His DC restaurants have been hard to forget.

How does being a cook at an embassy assure bona fides? If you were looking for the best chefs in France, I bet you wouldn't find them among embassy domestic staff. It wasn't like he was the ambassador of food.

Berieve it

@cookiejar, @WengeLi

He wasn't just a "cook at an embassy." He also won numerous awards in China. And it's not like only provincial stay-at-homes like his food.



I hope it's buffet style and they have like pizza and stuff

I love it. The dueling weeklies, both staking their journalistic reputations on the location of Peter Chang's next restaurant.....

Ball's in your court, C-Ville Weekly!

I'll believe it when I see it.

I wish someone would just tear down that Asian Buffet building. What an eyesore! You could put a decent apartment or office building there and use the space much more effectively than it's being used now.

Maybe this will shed some more light on the whole issue: