The Upstairs will call it quits; Brookeville coming to town

The Upstairs, the steakhouse above Escaf© will close in June.

If you’ve been meaning to eat at The Upstairs on the Downtown Mall, Dish suggests you make reservations soon, as the high-end steakhouse, which opened its doors in April two years ago, is planning to close its doors in June.

“It’s not because we’re going out of business or anything,” says chef/owner Jaison Burke. “It was just time to do something different.”

In the meantime, Burke says The Upstairs will continue to bring the passion. In fact, about a month ago Burke started serving a farm-to-table lunch that Burke is particularly proud of, featuring foods from all your favorite local farms.

“We’ve leaving on our own terms,” says the chef. “We’re proud of the amazing work we’ve done with this place, and we’re passing the torch to someone passionate.”

In fact, Burke was just about to meet with that passionate someone, one Harrison Keevil, a ’05 UVA grad who had planned on being an investment banker but went to cooking school instead, and who plans to open a place in The Upstairs space this summer.

Meanwhile, we suggest you make your reservations at The Upstairs before the crew heads downstairs and out the door and Brookeville comes to Cville.

As for Brookeville Restaurant, named for the town in Long Island, New York where Keevil’s parents and grandparents grew up, foodies can expect what the chef/owner characterizes as “new American cuisine” to arrive on the Mall August 1.

“It’s using local, seasonal foods,” he says, “that are approachable to a wide array of people. Eventually, we hope to source everything from the State of Virginia.”

After graduating from UVA, Keevil says he worked as a research assistant for a member of British Parliament in London, which was where he decided to become a chef.

“I fell in love with food there,” he says, “and decided I didn’t want to work a desk job.”

When he returned to the States, he enrolled at the French Culinary Institute in New York City and worked in San Francisco before returning east. Since last September, he’s been cooking at the Clifton Inn under Chef Dean Maupin.

Keevil plans on making a few changes to The Upstairs space, like putting in a large communal dining table–- in addition to traditional two- and four-tops, and installing a bookshelf filled with all his cookbooks.

“It’s an opportunity to express my passion about cooking with my customers,” he says. “And make it a comfy atmosphere where people can enjoy a great meal together.”


I went there last May and it was delicious. I particularly love the old timey whiskey drinks. YUM. The only problem with the experience was as "mac the cheese" suggests, the place was always empty. So empty that it made you uncomfortable to talk with your fellow diners because you didn't want anyone else in the room to overhear what you were matter the content. Same reason why you don't talk loudly in a waiting room. It just sounds rude.

With that said, I'm not sure WHY it was empty because it is good! The sadest party was that we were maybe one of three occupied tables and as we walked out I saw the DT mall the fullest I've ever seen it.

Too bad. I pressume this is an issue of LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.

Nobody with 4 Aces gets up from the table....

maybe eating a 50 dollar steak in a 3/4 empty room isn't as exciting as it sounds.

wait a second here. the restaurant was so good you actually ate their bacon? i've never heard of such a thing!

Best steaks in town nobody else even came close....and don't even get me started on the tuesday tasting menu...yuuuum. They were so good I even ate the pork belly and sweetbreads. Oh yeah and the bourbons...oh the bourbons....

i went there 3 times, twice because it was the only place on the mall without a wait on a friday (wonder why) & once for a wine dinner. i wish i hadn't: the service was horrible (ridiculously slow; "can we have some more bread" was interpreted as "can we have another bottle"; they ran out of the first wine we were drinking & poured a different kind without asking), the owner was obnoxious (hitting on me while talking about his kids; shaming my date into getting a more expensive bottle of wine than we wanted), the steak was always overcooked. i recall the cream of asparagus (?) soup & the pork belly were pretty good, but that's insufficient.

the up-what?

Alright, dammit. Where am I supposed to go for my Pappy Van Winkle's fix?

Honestly, I've never even heard of this place. Although I've never kept up with the pretentious Charlottesville restaurant scene so that might explain why. Although Lauren's description of "old timey whiskey drinks" sounds appetizing. I'm curious what those are. Sounds tasty....

Well, people have to know the place is there. I had never heard of it, and would have tried it if the food really was all local and organic. Secondly, the food served looked pretty much like the menu of a lot of places to eat. Even Charlottesville can only support so many cutsie restaurants competing with places that are really bars. Sounds like they should have put some rugs down to dampen the sounds.

Salad Creations, Cassis, Upstairs. Others will be falling.

location, location. location

This place was pretty good, but not remarkable - and with so many restaurants downtown, you've got to do something to distinguish yourself. I thought the food was good, but not very creative. I always left feeling like I could have cooked the same at home. I also didn't enjoy the creepy manager (owner?) who was always hanging out at the bar and pushing people to spend more on a bottle of wine - let people drink what they want. They had a good bar though - I will miss the bourbon selection.

Won't be missed.

So the general consensus seems to be.....creepy, pushy, overbearing manager, food that was good but maybe could have been cooked at home just as well, and good whiskey.