Keaveny sets the Tavola

After years spent recruiting chefs for Coran Capshaw's restaurant group, Michael Keaveny (left) is finally returning to his roots and recruiting himself for his own restaurant, Tavola, which is scheduled to open in May in Downtown Belmont.

As Dish reported last week, Crush wineshop owner Paul Coleman has sold his Belmont wine store to former manager of Coran Capshaw's restaurant group, Michael Keaveny, who now says he has a name and a concept for a new restaurant in the space across from Bel Rio.

To be named Tavola, which mean "table" in Italian, the restaurant, Keaveny says, will be a place where Charlottesville residents can eat like an Italian, sharing local, seasonal cuisine and relishing in "one of life's most basic needs around a table with family and friends."

"I am creating a home away from home for myself and my family and hope to make it feel like that for our diners' as well," says Keaveny, who happens to be a Culinary Institute of America graduate with more than 27 years of cooking experience.

Keaveny says he sees Belmont as the perfect place for a family-friendly, neighborhood restaurant like Tavola, and hopes to become a fixture in Downtown Belmont along with the likes of Bel Rio, Mas, The Local, and La Taza.

Tavola will also maintain a wine store component with a wine list that will feature small batch, artisanal producers from all over the grape-growing map, with an emphasis on organic, biodynamic selections. The majority of the list will be priced between $20 and $50 with a discount on bottles patrons would like to bring home. Wine classes and pairing events will also be held on Monday nights.

Tavola anticipates a May opening, with Keaveny himself manning the burners of the small, yet efficient open kitchen serving "five-star cuisine with two-star prices." No menu items over $19, he says.

Menu highlights include the spiedino di gamberi (pancetta-wrapped shrimp on a skewer over arugula, fresh mozzarella and tomato-basil vinaigrette); the insalata di finocchio (shaved fennel, blood oranges, oil-cured olives and ricotta salata); the pappardelle (handmade pasta with red wine and pork ragu, basil and pecorino romano); and pesce spada (swordfish over white bean puree with cippoline "agrodolce" and fried rosemary).

Keaveny also says that "passion and hospitality" will drive his search for his staff, who he will expect to treat everyone who visits like a VIP.

"We will remember your face, your birthday, and your favorite wine," he says.

1 comment

pine-tarry Jason Varitek? mmmmmm maybe he'll be sticky.......sigh.......