Cassis has closed

The patio at Cassis during the first Restaurant Week.

Cassis, one of downtown Charlottesville's poshest eateries and one of the original participants in Charlottesville Restaurant Week, has closed. According to owner and chef Sean Lawford, who opened Cassis in 2004 after stints as a chef at Tim Burgess and Vincent Derquennes-owned Bizou and Metropolitain, the restaurant's last night was Saturday, April 3. He declined comment on the reason for the closure.

Read more on: Sean Lawford


...and we see daily reports of the state government refusing to reduce any spending of our money - as they spend it on themselves.

A most repulsive situation.

Does the word reality enter the minds of these tax-vampires?

Unlike OXO, whose former building is owned by out-of-town investor Alan Cadgene, Cassis' building is owned by Tim and Vincent of Bang, Bizou so its unlikely to sit vacant for too long. I don't forsee two chefs/restaurant owners letting a space like that go to waste (assuming they can't find someone who wants to rent it).

I only ate a Cassis a few times, and while the prices and offerings were originally in line with what other eateries in the same target market charged, the food did not impress me all that much. It was OK, but not a rave.

The last time I went was in the early fall when they insisted on a "tapas-style" "summer" menu (the second time I was unpleasantly surprised by this, the first was actually during the summer), which translated to: buy every single item (small portions) separately, and run up the bill. The quality of the food did not improve commensurately with price. The location was nice, but not that special. It was pretty empty the last couple of times I went. After two disappointing rounds there, I wasn't going back. For that kind of scratch, I'd much prefer to tie my feed bag on at l'Etoile. Duners remains the yardstick.

It's sad to have the closed restaurant Oxo staring across the street at now closed Cassis. I'm sure it's no coincidence that both had a higher price point. Regardless, still sad.

Imagine that; another Charlottesville lemonade stand closes!! The usual drill is: after using different suppliers and ending up COD with all of them, running up a 2 year deficit on payroll tax payments, scrambling to keep the utilities from being cut off, running a year plus rent arrearage, the plug is finally pulled. Don't know if it played out this way, but that seems the way of Charlottesville restaurants. This post may be deleted for potentially libelous content, but am not singling these folks out.
Charlottesville has had a dismal record of restaurant start-ups by people who thing a spiffy name and cute decor will enable them to sell the squeal and keep the pig.

Right, jargoneer. Sorry about that. Shorthand for "higher average price per meal than the majority of other restaurants." At least, for C-ville.

Just checked, their old domain (they got in on the ground floor of the internets) and its now the site for a boutique hotel chain in Canada, so we probably wont's see that reincarnated, sadly.

Hey Carter, not crying about a lack of raises, just setting the record straight after being lumped in with certain city employees who somehow received raises this year. As to your implying that I should try earning my 3 percent and not waiting for it, now thats office is down(according to a recent study, just last year) 4 employees from what it should be...and one more left this year. The remaining employees have to cover for those 5 people we are short(hirings are frozen) We have roughly 50% of the staffing we should for the volume of traffic we have) Trust me, I dont just sit and wait for my 3% (that will never come by the way) There was a time when a govt job did mean some of the things you mentioned, but no longer.(I know, I have worked for state govt for 30 years and remember how things used to be when I came on) The current group works much harder for much less than ever before. I have "done the math" and found my "per hour" is far less than it was 7 years ago and the workload is far greater. Still, Im glad to have this job, warts and all and feel for the folks who have lost theirs during these hard times. Im not complaining, nor do I want anyone's sympathy, just want folks such as yourself to know more of the facts before you lump us in with a local govt entity who gave a few folks raises during these times.

Charlottesville restaurant pretensions echoing TJ's impractical, bankrupting intellectual planter tonal + UVA's megamall, charter high school stand-in for top university unable to stop overextending, overspending, overdoing it + enterpreneurial shenanigans, Value America setting the standard for the area, making the high rise "hotel" a marker for how things work in this world class favorite city that actually has very few creative developed well built original businesses, let alone restaurants despite all the geniuses.

just to inform nancy the city used our taxes to give bonuses last year totaling 600,000.00 to city employees. some peoply are doing good.

"Let me hazard a guess-the economy . I am stunned by the for sale signs everywhere I go, and, with city, county, and many other employees looking at no raises last year, this year or next year"

Didn't the City employees just get a bonus?

I can say the food was great when I ate there, but I couldn't afford to eat there more than twice a year. If I could afford it I would have eaten there often.

The reviews on were less than stellar. I thought it was overrated and overpriced. For the kind of money they wanted we preferred several other places in town by a long shot. I guess others agreed.

It's always easy to find someone who "wants to rent it", but not always so easy to find someone who will PAY the rent!
As a person with a long term "insider" view of the biz, I can say that getting rent paid is always a problem if you own restaurant property and getting payments made by someone you "sell" an existing restaurant business to is also a sticky wicket.
exacerbating the problem of course is inflated sales prices of existing businesses and inflated rent costs. The restaurant biz is an interesting one, in that ego and aspirational factors often trump rationality when investment decisions are made, so that people cannot fulfill their obligations.

another great location for the brixx pizza chain . MMMM more pizza

Deleted by moderator.

"had a higher price point" = were expensive?

that italian restaurant on the other side of cassis that closed sometime in '06-'07 wasn't expensive, was it?

i enjoyed cassis the few times i ate there but would never choose it unless, like, "it's a sunday, & nothing else is open, & we just ate at zocalo last week."

and i agree that the "tapas" thing was dumb.

Hey Steve
"just for record" Insurance costs have gone up for everybody, crying about not getting a 3% raise every year gets you nothing here. Try to earn your 3% and not just waiting for it. Factor in the benefits, pay, vacation, holidays, and hours of real work and you are sitting pretty. steve-o Do the math and you may be surprised what your "per hour" really is.

Another overpriced restaurant has closed. Cry me a river. Maybe someone will open a restaurant with good, food, great service, and reasonably priced in this town.... oh, seems like CC changed all that... thanks for buying up the downtown mall and making it unaffordable for those who live and work here!!!

Just for the record, as a state employee we havent had a raise of any kind in 2 years, before that we had two years of 3% raises, and before that we had our pay frozen for several years. Insurance costs have gone up, unpaid furlough days are mandatory and if any position becomes vacant, it cant be filled, making the remaining folks have to pick up the slack. State govt is reducing spending...on the backs of the state employees. Please dont confuse them with a handful of city employees who did indeed see a raise this year. We wouldnt know what that is..........

Let me hazard a guess-the economy . I am stunned by the for sale signs everywhere I go, and, with city, county, and many other employees looking at no raises last year, this year or next year; there must be some serious budgeting going on- eating out becomes a dispensable luxury.

I couldn't afford to eat there, but darn the food was unbelievable. He is an awesome chef.

It appears through the Charlottesville grapevine that it took a full week for anyone to notice that the restaurant has closed. So it can't be *that* surprising or disappointing?

so how can you say the food was unbelievable if you didnt eat there? it was a good run though, but in a college town, bar food and good drink deals will always win!!

This is sad, but honestly I am more torn up about Larry's Toy Store which is closing at the end of the month. This store has been a lifeline to so many children who bought a toy following difficult days at either the Kluge Children's Rehab. or after a difficult procedure at the UVA Children's Hospital, including my own. It's a shame when any business succumbs to downturns in the economy especially icons such as Cassis and Uncle Larry's.

isn't it so appropriate that congress goes on paid vacation after cutting off unemployment benefits?
So much for the compassion for the people out of work due to the economy and down on their luck!

Does seem strange that this happened so close to graduation and the guaranteed $mall fortune that can be made that weekend..
Regardless, Sean is a very talented chef and a good guy and I wish him the best for whatever he takes on next.

@seriously. Its called "guns or butter."

this CC doesn't own any of downtown, but as far back as I can remember, someone has owned it, every last little bit of it. Seriously? , would you think it's better for downtown to be filled with buildings that were for sale with no one buying them?

I'm really sorry it's closed. Sean is a really talented chef, and was always prepared delicious, honest food that wasn't overdone with too much fusion, cute-plating, etc. A loss for the local restaurant scene.