Fry's Spring Station set to serve

dish-frysspringstation0903The old service station will be serving again this Friday, May 21.

Over a year after the Fry’s Spring Service Station was closed after a 70-year run servicing cars, the historic building on the corner of Jefferson Park and Maury Avenues will begin its new life serving gourmet pizzas this Friday, May 21.

“It’s beautiful,” says co-owner and Downtown Grille owner Robert Sawrey, who, with business partner Steve Parry, has spent the last year renovating the station under the watchful eye of the Board of Architectural Review, which gave special historic protection to the building in 2008. “You walk in, and you just go ââ?¬Ë?wow,'” says Sawrey.

As Sawrey explained back in January, Fry's Spring Station, as they decided to name it, will have a brick oven big enough to cook 22 pizzas at a time, plus a small bar area and seating for 100. There will be another 45 seats under the elaborate porte-cochšre in front and along Maury, which will feature heat lamps for year-'round outdoor dining.

In addition to pizzas and paninis, there will be soups, salads, various specials, brew pub beer, and a selection of Italian wines. Heading up the effort will be Sawrey’s Downtown Grille sous chef, Barry Binney, and his Brazilian-born assistant, Caroline Oliveira.

"My partner, Steve, has opened around 18 restaurants,” says Sawrey, “and he thinks this is the prettiest one of all.”


Besides the Free Trolley and pedestrian and bicycle access, there tends to be parking along JPA in either direction from The Station, which should not be too difficult. Like Belmont, it is public parking not restricted to residents, meaning that the public can use it. I think it is a great asset for Charlottesville neighborhoods like Belmont or Fry's Spring to have more to offer the community than a simple convenience store, gas station or vacant buildings. I support The Station's decision to not have a parking lot; this city has too much pavement already. So, I encourage Old Timer to get out of his car (and encourage his friends to do so also) and revisit his youth (or a generation earlier) when transit was used (certainly ADA guidelines make it much more accessible than it used to be for the aging population).

Where will one park?

To Pizza? This place is marvelous on the inside. They have renovated it and I have had a look inside. They have done a wonderful job to it. The inside looks brand new. This may be one of the CLEANEST placest around period, and to U-Hoo there is no parking as I was told. Students and such will walk by to get a bite to eat.

Chicken Wing,

Belmont is very relevant because The Station appears to be in the one other NCC district in the city. Whatever rules pass for the Belmont NCC will impact this one.

Old timer,

I bet your property values are much higher now then before all those businesses opened, so it's not all bad! You could probably sell your house and make enough money buy a something further out with a big garage.

Gee! I was just reading this and hoping it would turn into another Belmont conversation!

I think it's a great idea!!!!!!!!!!

....however, the road comes very close to the building. I don't plan on eating outside and being run over while I'm sitting at a table.

I really like the yellow light blubs that line the outside of the building. Coolsville, man.

If they have no parking, just drive over and let things happen naturally.......stop your car in the road, turn on your emergency lights and leave it.

Hopefully they'll have a State Inspection pizza so I won't get my signals crossed.

I wouldn't eat a pizza out of this dirty old lead bucket if they paid me.

Within walking distance for me -- order up a pie!

145 seats + bar + employees + anyone picking up a to-go order = let's add a touch of adjacent modernist whimsy to this historical preservation project by erecting a three-story parking garage

like they have at the University Corner


I don't live in Belmont. Never have. I did live in another neighborhood that got hammered by the city because they conveniently ignored guidelines, and so I stand my ground over it.

"I bet your property values are much higher now then before all those businesses opened, so it’s not all bad!"

Ah yes, the grand fabrication passed around by the ones who usually like to do their loud partying in someone else's backyard. Not a surprise to see a UVA student being one of them.

1) There were other businesses there doing fine before any of the restaurants, and Belmont properties were being renovated and upgraded. Just because they weren't restaurants doesn't mean that they weren't productive businesses and they seemed to get along fine with the residential development. Easton's has been around a long time, and is still in business.

2)Property values in the NCC Belmont/downtown area had peaked in 2006, which was before Bel Rio, The Local, Tavola, and this new Cajun place. 2006 was the year that Belmont BBQ opened, and I do get food there from time to time when in the area. Houses that sold for 300+ right behind now seem to be sitting there unable to sell.

The truth is those restaurants came because Belmont had revivied, not the reverse. This fits in with my experience as a small business owner over the years. As a rule small business owners don't like risk, and the leave the risk for others. Mas and Taza should get credit for being a part of the upswing, and having some vision as to what was coming. The rest are tag alongs after the fact.

Had places like Bel Rio shown up in 1998-99, I might agree with your summation. Not by showing up in 2008. Doesn't fly.

One day, you will buy a home and have children, and you can come back to the Hook and tell us if you bought it right next to a night club.

Great idea. Heard they'll have a great beer selection. Outdoor seating. Assuming the food is good this will be a welcome addition!

As a nearby neighbor, I can't wait for this place to open. It looks fantastic inside and will offer a more upscale alternative to the existing area restaurants.

This sounds like it's gonna be such a cool place. Can't wait to try it out!

Don't forget, there's lots of parking all along the trolley route...with a stop right in front of the Station.

You can have wonderful food, plenty of seating, great beers, but if you don't have parking it's nearly impossible to make a go at it in C-Ville. This is not Manhattan or downtown Toronto. Cars and SUV's are king here. How would one park (seriously) for this place?


There main bus station is a five minute walk from the Belmont NCC district. The free trolley stops there. Everyone still drive to Belmont to eat, and they push the residents out.

A bus stops right at the NCC district. The only people getting off of it are the people who actually live in that ara and moved there for a pedestrian lifestyle. Now they can't even use their own cars on the occasion they need them.


To hear some of those owners in Belmont tell it, they are barely scraping by. The only reason 3 of them are in business at all is because they are using up the surrouding residential parking for their businesses. This has caused no end to the inconvenience and lost sleep by many of the residents. Many have to park a block away from their own houses, to unload groceries, which is not exactly fun when you are 70+ years old.

And don't start spewing how it is a downtown area as an excuse. The very fact that it is a dowtown area should have reminded the city that they cannot ignore zoning guidelines and requirements. If the restaurants can't make it off of primarily pedestrian taiffic- and they don't, then they have to find a way to provide parking that does not force residents to walk a block to their own homes.

I would NOT use the Belmont NCC district as an example of a successful business model because it is not.

The three establishments that actually provide parking are Mas, La Taza, and Belmont BBQ. The other 4 are getting a free ride on the back of residents, and it's disgusting.

At least the area around the Fry's Spring garage has parking protection for the residents. And they have so many apartment complexes they could make it. But why don;t you add seven restaurants there, and then see what happens.

Think of Belmont. There are no mega-parking lots there, but Mas, Bel Rio, La Taza, and the Local, Tavola, etc. are thriving. Why such a call for parking at The Station?

I was looking at it the other day--it should be great but I really do not know where you could park. It will have to be strictly a neighborhood place unless I am missing some hidden parking lot. The c-store across the street won't allow it, there doesn't seem to be street parking or a lot(there is outdoor patio space)--They must have something