Bistro brouhaha: Michael's midsummer mutiny explained


Michael Crafaik stands in front of the Bistro that shares his moniker.
PHOTO BY MARISSA D'ORAZIO

Ever since Michael's Bistro, a venerable Corner eatery, mysteriously shut down over a week ago, a whirlwind of speculation has blanketed media and blogs– but with comment from the controversy-plagued Bistro owner curiously omitted from the various reports.

But 38-year-old Michael Crafaik–- a firm believer in "Don't believe what you read"–- wants to set the record straight. The younger Crafaik has referred to his restaurant as a "family," but even families hit stumbling blocks.

"It will always be a family, but sometimes families get a divorce," Crafaik says. "My partner tried to oust me."

The shut-down seemed to stem from a falling out with former business partner Chuck Adcock that Crafaik terms an "emotional hurricane" Æ?  la Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

"It was a crazy time; people lost their cool," Crafaik says. "It was the heat of the summer, the full moon, Jupiter rising."

Crafaik says it all started when he made the decision to fire front-of-the-house manager Bob Dorsey. (One reported allegation was that Crafaik fired the whole staff and then sequestered himself inside the Bistro.)

"I only fired the manager," says Crafaik. "The staff walked out, but it was time for a change."

According to Crafaik, Adcock went to Crafaik's father/landlord, John, who operates Littlejohn's deli below the Bistro, to assert that the son was unfit to remain in business, an act that resulted in John Crafaik changing the locks to keep his son out of the space. Adcock denies these assertions.

"I know there was a disagreement between him and his dad, but it wasn't because I was trying to convince his dad he wasn't interested in the restaurant business," Adcock says.

Presented with the conflicting stories, John Crafaik refused to comment on "gossip that sells newspapers."

Adcock contends that a mutual decision for Adcock to buy out the allegedly no-longer-active Crafaik had been in the works for years. But Crafaik, who founded the Bistro by himself in 1995, suddenly "changed his mind," a decision Adcock attributes to their different styles of business.

"We had to go our own way," says Adcock, now in the process of selling the business completely to Crafaik.

Crafaik is no stranger to public squabbles. A one-time candidate for City Council, he was involved in a dust-up in 2000 with a fellow Republican official at Mono Loco restaurant that resulted in his filing criminal assault charges. In 2005, Crafaik himself, though eventually acquitted, became the target of charges that he bit an employer.

During the latter incident, Adcock lauded Crafaik as "a great person to deal with," but reached on Tuesday, July 29, Adcock now says, "We don't see eye to eye."

A day after the Thursday, July 17, firing and mass walk-out, the Bistro shut down because of lack of staff, says Crafaik.

"I've had other business partners, and kitchen staffs are always good in this town," says Crafaik. "My new rule is not to pay people to dislike me."

One person new to the payroll is Clive Papayanis, caterer and owner of Boheme, a recently closed restaurant on Market Street.

"Clive is my ambassador at this time," says Crafaik. "He's helping me establish the professional protocol every restaurant should have." Crafaik says that when he first saw Papayanis working, he was blown away by his new partner's skills.

"I'm ADD," says Crafaik, "and I'm envious of his systems of organization." In particular, according to Crafaik, Papayanis is helping to tighten up relations with the Health Department.

Thank goodness for that. According to the Health Department website, Michael's Bistro has had 56 "critical" violations since June 2003, 11 of which stemmed from a single inspection in May. Boheme, on the other hand, kept it clean with only four critical violations after its late 2006 inception–- a relatively low number compared with most Charlottesville dining establishments.

[The date on which Adcock was interviewed was erroneously given in a prior version of this story.]

–story last updated 2:04pm, Wednesday, July 30.

47 comments

I wish you had cited your source for this story instead of saying this was being talked about in "media and blogs". This story was broken by a specific, local blog.

I wish you had named some key menu items that were served before the closure. Only then could I fully appreciate the complexity of the situation.

The story was not "broken" by you, cvillain. Get you heads out of your asses

srsly. it's chic to hate the "big media" outlets, yet you crave their constant attention. stop crying!

TheUpstart - Thanks for the defense. Everyone knows that The Hook's MO is to piss off someone in every issue. Seems like they got you this time. As for not referencing us.. hey.. we've seen this before.. it's why websites like ours know how to be part of the community and the hook fails.

I've always liked The Hook AND cvillain. They should work together to figure out when I'll be able to get my fav salad @ the bistro again.

Stop trying to own the news. Seriously. It makes you look stupid, especially when you're complaining about a rag like the Hook (and on the Hook's website no less).

The Bistro story was on the street even before the Cvillain posted a whole 40+ words of nothing but rumor and speculation.

And sorry, but Cvillain is no more or less a part of the community than the Hook.

it's less a part of the community than the Hook. And that's saying something.

The Hook is a news weekly, Cvillian seems more like a small clique posting to the public.

Clique is right. I try to pop over there now and then, but this is the general kind of thing that I tend to see:

"i got caught up in helping my sister paint her house last night and passed out with brush in hand¢Ã¢â??¬Š anyone got any pictures?"

"Hey btw, does anyone know of any restaurants hiring? I'm a good waitress and have lots of experience and need a new job badly¢Ã¢â??¬Š"

"@35 Chad I hear there is nothing worse than a lit ciggy butt stuck inside your helmet."

"I love not getting DUIs." (from a "story" titled "Is Downtown Living Overrated?"

I really didn't have to cherry-pick those quotes -- I just randomly clicked on some thread headings, scrolled down and started highlighting. The most popular threads, by the way, seem to cover such newsworthy issues as "pooping at work" and "friends with benefits." Threads with titles like "Albemarle County Will Help You Out if You Face Eviction" get all of 7 responses. Seven. I guess that topic is too grim for even the most carefree cvillains to weigh in with their usual "who wants to have sex?" and "show me on the Internets where he touched you."

I'm willing to believe that somewhere on cvillain there is occasionally "news" of real value, but GEEZ--talk about wading through a lot of high-schoolish CRAP to get to it. The "news" items tend to be short and unsourced, and they're followed up by countless one-sentence posts where regular posters wink at and nudge one another. Which is fine, and all, if that's what some people want, but what's with the pretensions of being a news organization that "breaks" stories and is in touch, somehow, with "the community"?

Some clips from last night's cvillain "party"

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02 Aug 2008 at 10:37 pm3perma4 said:

I'm here. Where is everyone?

/vodka + tonic = win
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03 Aug 2008 at 12:58 am4dieter said:

I just met shen but where is everyone else?

Great party. Sorry I missed it.

Wow, I've been away for 5 years and the grudge match is still going on like 2002. "Cvillains" is a new development. Do Hook reporters get called anything by Cvillains?

Kris, you might be confused: cvillains refers to www.cvillain.com, which is not the same as the C-Ville.

I agree with you, Cecil. Every thread at cvillain turns into a wink-and-nudge one-liner extravaganza among people who all appear to know each other in real life. If there's any news there, there are rarely any coherent comments that follow.

Cvillain seemed interesting at first, but with the departure of moderator Lilith, it's since disintegrated into a sophomoric snarkfest. With the exception of a very few genuinely interesting and witty characters (like Belmont Yo and Stanley) the rest has become an icky stew of banal ripostes like "Yer a towel" and "I know you are, but what am I?" and "Ewwwwww!" (The last one courtesy of the chronically vomit-inducing creature known as Shenanigans/Shannon, Cvillain's resident dimwitted valley girl.)

And as far as their repeated claims that they're scooping everyone in Charlottesville? Nope, no more than the Hook is. They are only discussing publicly what many have already been discussing at length privately. The Hook is a weekly newspaper that employs journalists, and Cvillain is... um, I'm not sure even the participants at Cvillain know what on earth it is. A social networking site maybe?

Pity. It had the potential to be a really great site.

Moderators have really hurt cvillain- Thor should give Shenanigans a time out but instead lectures the rest of the community on behaving. It is a glaring weakness. If she stops posting the site count would probably drop by 20%. Lilith did run a tighter more balanced ship.

The attempted growth of the other site cvillestyle and cvillemuse has hurt the core product. Either of those sites would love to get the web hits of this site but they seem so web 1.0 and add little to their areas of discussion.

It's probably wrong to single out any single cvillain; it's mostly a lord of the fly's thing. The will whine and gnash their teeth and demand to be taken seriously- all at the same time. I read it for amusement but its Charlottesville version of "Gossip Girl's". Drinking, eating, and being bawdy. Try and discuss a serious subject and you risk being ignored or castigated.

It's a social networking site to about 50 strong commenters and a bunch of lurkers. (Of which I'm one). They have nice weekend update but mostly it silliness. Why they get their collective panties in a bunch thinking they are the only source of any news story is beyond me.

It's fun, is what it is. The Hook blog? Not so much. Until you whiny hates come on here of course.

Shenanigans has ruined that site.

Shenanigans-

The Hook blog doesn't exist for the purpose of amusement, much less the amusement of one person (you). It's for information and the discussion of news. Nobody is saying the Cvillain website should be like the Hook's. Nobody's saying that Cvillain should be serious all of the time. Not sure where your whiny haters comment came from, but it's predictably tiresome.

You prove yourself to be a vapid twit with your constant efforts to quiet any Cvillain posters who try to discuss issues, calling them "curmudgeons" and "boring." Your verbal diarrhea and chronic hall monitoring is part of the reason why people tune out.

There are some really great posters on Cvillain, and THEY make the site worth reading. Frankly, you're not one of them. As I said, the site used to be much better, but lately there are more trash/lame comments than not. (i.e. "Boring!" "Let's make out" "I lub you" and your always cogent "Ewwwww!") There are a lot of folks in Charlottesville who choose not to participate on the site because of the mob mentality that a very few posters such as yourself espouse.

Whether you like it or not, people do talk about the site, and I've heard many people say they choose to not read Cvillain for many of the reasons elucidated above. And these are your target readers speaking. Cvillain could be cutting edge, funny as hell, AND taken seriously. But it's become like a really bad hotdog-- way too much filler and too little content.

The last one courtesy of the chronically vomit-inducing creature known as Shenanigans/Shannon, Cvillain's resident dimwitted valley girl

Sure sounds kinda "whiny hater" to me...

Oy, you're one of the better posters on Cvillain, and I know you guys are friends, so I hate to disagree with you on this one. Sorry, but her comments are usually extraordinarily sophomoric, egocentric, and dim... no whining or hating, just my critique.

I've never tried to censor her comments on Cvillain, or post that she should shut up. Unfortunately she rarely extends others that same courtesy-- so yep, I think she's a bit of a bully towards others and a huge whiner.

Oh lighten up. I'll rephrase what I wrote long ago (re: Bud Light), "can't a bright-eyed gal from the provinces come to the big city and just be fabulous?" If she says "boring" or whatever, I ignore it, easy enough.

The juvenilia on Cvillain has been there for a long time.

Actually I also agree with "Hoo boy, I tells ya". Speed reading for little comprehension, I was.

Colfer, agreed. The problem, for me at least, is that the parts one has to ignore have now greatly exceeded the parts one wants to read.

BTW, love your posts, always read 'em. And Street is fabulous (is he still around?). I also appreciate the personal stuff, like BYo's velvet closet, work woes, and crumbling porch. As long as it's well-written and interesting/informative, it's all cool. Sex talk and expletives don't bother me one bit. And there's room for filler too.

You're right, I do need to lighten up. But honestly, the bullying stuff really troubles me. It's just so unnecessary, and brings the tone of the site way down. Charlottesville's too small a town and yep, people do talk about who the players are behind the names on this site, Waldo's, and Cvillain. And one might be surprised to know who's doing the critiquing of the participants. The chances that someone like Shenanigans might apply for a job with one of those folks one day are actually pretty high. In her own words: "Fail." What goes around... well, you know the rest.

that the parts one has to ignore have now greatly exceeded the parts one wants to read.

Subjective, isn't it?

The chances that someone like Shenanigans might apply for a job with one of those folks one day are actually pretty high

"Shenanigans" the online persona has little to do with the person playing the role, apart from her lightning wit. I think most of the semi-sentient CVillains understand that.

ps - she also has other aliases (the code prevents me from revealing them!), that you probably appreciate, if not admire.

Subjective, yes. It's a subjective opinion shared by many out in the community who choose not to participate, as well as some of those currently posting.

A classic troll-- mean, not welcoming to others, an insecure attention hog. That's not a "role" that serves Cvillian well. When that role wasn't ubiquitous on every thread, it was much easier to swallow. It could be taken within a context and easily passed over. Now it's simply taking over. If the site now exists solely for her friends and admirers, then that's fine. That's what it will be.

I'm not concerned with her other aliases-- I'm concerned about the nasty side of the Shenanigans alias and the effect it's had on what used to be a better website. Cville is a small town. It's no secret who she is.

The Hook and Cville News have their fair share of trolls too. The major difference is that, on those sites, they're not coddled by the management.

I think we'll continue to disagree on this issue, so let's call it a night, shall we?

I think we'll continue to disagree on this issue, so let's call it a night, shall we?

"Now that I've had my pseudo-eridite last word, just shut up".

FOAD.

Not sure what site you've been reading, but Shenanigans has been on from almost the start, and is a large reason the site is what
it's become.

"erudite"

(that was in honor of Alanis Morrisette)

shen is simply an internet bully, and is one of the two posters ruining that place. hardly anyone there will call her out since she has her little clique following her around feeding her ego.

and, yet, you feel comfortable calling her out *here* instead of there.

Is there a word for "anonymous internet cowardice"?

Oy, do you honestly think that the webmaster at Cvillain wouldn't tell her who the people are behind the names calling her out? She's called out here because 1) the site is being critiqued here, and 2) this blog will protect the anonymity of its posters.

Like I said, my opinion is shared by some of the other posters on Cvillain. And no, with very few exceptions, they're not going to say anything for fear that they'd be ostracized by the community. Sad, isn't it? And isn't THAT actually the definition of a bullying situation?

You don't defend her here using your real-life name. Nor do her defenders on Cvillain. Same diff. "Welcome to the internets."

Why is Shenanigans allowed to make personal attacks? Yet, Thor just told everyone to stop attacking her. Hypocrites...

I honestly know that the webmasters of CVillain would not tell her, mainly for the simple fact that they don't know - there is no validation on creating an account there.

You don't defend her here using your real-life name. Nor do her defenders on Cvillain. Same diff. ¢Ã¢â??¬Ã?â??Welcome to the internets.¢Ã¢â??¬

Webster's now has a new example for "Specious Argument" - wtf does using your real name have to do with it? Besides, if you'd like to discuss this in person, I'd be happy to - I'll be at South Street tonight. Ask for Oy. You're buying.

I honestly know that the webmasters of cvillain have tried to figure out who was behind manipulating the poll they did to name their mascot. If they are going to dig into IP logs to find that out, you think they won't try to find out who is attacking one of their friends?

from thor:

"P.S. If we find out you cheated the vote significantly by masking IPs, you are probably going to be given a big nasty slap and put in the timeout corner."

"we're analyzing IP addresses from the voting and will throw out non-Charlottesville IPs.."

I still lurk there, but haven't posted since that.

yeah, they can tell if you're "Comcast user from Charlottesville" or "QWest user from Denver"; not "Joe Blow at 123 Main street".

Scary stuff!

:)

Oh please please am I the other person ruining the site? That sounds like a worthy title! I have never seen the concept of fun and good humor debated so much. Ever. If you dig it - welcome, and if not - oh well! I don't think that cvillain has ever done anything to be exclusive and there's little social groups for every website in town.

All the parties are announced WEEKS in advance, they're always fun, and always open to the public. I meet new people every time. Maybe if you stop worrying about the internet so much you might realize that you could meet people IN REAL LIFE through the site. I've met a ton of friends I wouldn't have otherwise met.

FUN. FUN. FUN. Lighten up.

Why is your email address required at log-in then? I imagine that most people would use their real email addies to register, unless they were troublemakers. Or perhaps I'm naive. Not being critical of Cvillain per se-- this site and others require it as well.

If you personally know for certain that this log-in info isn't even remotely accessible to Spicy Bear, then fine. But most wouldn't say anything against Shenanigans anyway because Thor defends her. Any time he issues criticism of her, it's very lukewarm. It's become a childish schoolyard popularity thing (me, me, ME!!!) versus a real arena for the discussion of ideas and opinions.

1) *an* email address is required - it's easy enough to create a throwaway email address
2) the email address isn't verified (like the one here). It's quite easy to be completely anonymous.

And I don't think Thor defends her, I think he's afraid of her... :)

What cbob said - if CVillain seems a bit cliquey, maybe it's because many of us do know each other outside of the blog. What most people are missing, though, is that we met through the blog in the first place and we've never rejected anyone - come join us, it's all in good fun.

oy I follow and support much of what you say but I have seen those rejected (or go into lurk mode) by offending the Shen.

Sorry it's true

Oy, you seem like a very reasonable person, and I respect the fact that you're sticking up for your friend. BUT, and it's a big but, I will never support bullying on that site, or any other. And I wouldn't want to hang with people that think it's fun.

Regarding what D.R says above-- I know what he/she says is true (been there from the beginning myself and know posters socially outside of the site). But what is significant about D.R.'s statement is that I believe that Shenanigans actually enjoys the fact that she forces people into lurkage or away from the site. Amateur psychoanalysis alert: Perhaps it's a power thing, and she's being enabled by people too scared to make public a**holes of themselves, but are living through her vicariously.

Many people I know, the ones who are clicking and creating revenue, are there NOT for Shenanigans, but to read other posters and to get news. They are there despite her, but patience is wearing thin. I'm in the business myself. It boggles my mind that Spicy Bear considers her such a cash cow.

Like I said-- the people I know who are turned off by the site now are exactly the target audience Spicy Bear would enjoy. They are fun, trendsetters, and have some deep pockets. They are potential advertisers and they frequent the spots mentioned on the site.

I'm not saying that anyone should bow down to the almighty dollar. But if Spicy Bear doesn't give a rat's ass that decent people are being driven away by the chronic rudeness of a few posters, then maybe they'll care if it's costing them potential revenue. But probably not.

Jebus, no one's saying she shouldn't continue to be a braying horse's ass some of the time. Just not all of the time.

Hoo Boy, I hardly know where to begin. You berate people for being bullies and you constantly bully and insult Shennanigans, going beyond the online persona, making it personal, and calling her names like a five-year old. And then you complain that she is somehow bringing these blogs down with her lack of class. My theory is that you're just a giant pr*ck. You know who's going to turn people away? People like you who personally attack someone for posting on a blog.
And then you complain about her not focusing on the real issues or subjects at hand. What do you think you're doing? Because it seems to me you're doing exactly that. And then you have the nerve to talk about "rudeness." You and your pretentions make me sick. And you just showed everyone here how small you really are.

I never thought I'd see the day when Shenanigans would get called on her s**t. Every time I've browsed CVillain and clicked on what *looks* like an interesting post, it's been hijacked and turned into a Boring private party by a select few, usually headed by Shen. The only real difference in opinion here is that they *always* seemed to me like a bunch of 7th-graders. I didn't see much difference after Lilith left, it just became more obvious. As far as Thor's not allowing anyone but Shen to insult others, I'm reminded of a certain self-appointed elite group in George Orwell's "Animal Farm." The pigs.

I'm starting to really realize just what Shenanigans means to the site.

She keeps away a lot of folks who are wired way too tight.

She's our 'uptight kryptonite'

Don't whine and call people names just because they're not living up to some preconceived notion you have of what a particular blog should be. Never mind the fact that you're calling these people infantile and then using what is supposed to be a news blog to insult them. And if anyone is being a fascist here, it ain't Shen. Stop taking cheap shots at people from the safety of your parents' basement or wherever you are.

Oh man, don't stop. I'm an attention craving hog so I love this.
P.S. Overuse of big vocab words is a sure sign you're compensating for something Hoo Boy.

And that, folks, is how a few astute observations ends up in a flame war. Why give them an opportunity to bring their crap here?? Obviously that blog is what it wants to be and is happy with the status quo. I don't give a rat's a$$ as long as they keep to themselves. Let's get on with our own conversations and leave them to theirs.