Fuel Co. closes

Last week it was Starr Hill, this week it's Fuel Co., as it appears our establishments bankrolled by multi-millionaire philanthropists are dropping like flies!

When Patricia's Kluge's Fuel Co. opened in 2003, the Hook boldly predicted that the designer gas station and bistro concept would go national, but now it appears the fancy fill-up joint won't even be going local. In a prepared statement, Kluge has announced that Fuel Co. has closed its doors. Indeed, the doors were locked and the windows papered over on June 30. The statement suggests Fuel Co. may not have been pulling its financial weight, as the decision was based on wanting to focus more on the Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard's other ventures. However, no other details are being released at this time.

Still, the closure comes as a shock...and a bit of mystery. Just last November, the bistro closed for a week for extensive renovations. Apologizing for the inconvenience, Kluge said in a prepared statement, "The tradition of local food with a gourmet twist and the sleek look of Fuel Co. will remain."


The service was spotty, but the food was fresh and outstanding. Not talking about the fancy part, but the sandwich place... Pricey, yes, bad service, but excellent food. Those things out over the gas pumps look like the Denver airport!

Bye Bye! Sorry we never knew ya!

sorry, name was left there from previous poster

Not surprised, either. We used to enjoy an occasional breakfast in the Cafe - the food was quite good and it was never very busy. We'd then order something from the deli to take home for dinner. It was kind of comical - the deli counter folks used to pile a huge "side" of veges or fruit as a single serving that would last both of us for several meals. It was almost as though they knew the price was high and they were going to do something about it for us common folk! Over time, more and more "Kluge" items were on the shelves. Now come on, PK, who the hail wants to look at your golden name on the side of a coffe mug in the morning?!?! And those 1/2 pint Kluge Estate jams for $10?!?! One began to get the feeling the store was trying to give the impression that we "could eat just like rich folk!" NOT touchePK

bringbackthecountry, Kluge always owned Fuel. It's funny how people blame the woman for ruining a place they liked when it opened - when she owned it. People love to hate Kluge for some reason. These are probably the same people who send her letters asking for $ to help rebuild their trailers, send their kids to college, cure MS etc.

I will miss those french fries...

good riddance. the food there was terrible and overpriced, and it's not very convenient for a convenience store to close at 7pm, IMO. hopefully the first thing to go will be the giant blob of sour cream that they call a roof over the pumps.

Food wasn't bad - I only went once, and that was reluctantly, because who wants to eat 15 feet from a gas pump?

Imagine that - a pretentious gas station not making it. Who saw that coming?

Buh-bye. If your service is going to suck, at least have good food or fair prices. Fuel had none of the above.

Good to see this happen. Shows the people of Charlottesville are a bit smarter than some might think. The service used to be alright and then "oddly" every person of color who worked there (and was good, I might add) was replaced by a UVA student who obviously had never heard of anything resembling speed, service or graciousness. Was never a fan and glad to see it go.

Oh please. People loved to hate on Fuel because of the personality behind it, but it was OK.
I always thought the restaurant food was quite good, while the cafe section was lacking. And the help was never all that helpful.
Also, the retail wine selection sucked, and was overpriced.
Hell, maybe is did need to close.

maybe someone will bring back the previous style country food that brought people into the store. before Kluge took over you couldn't walk around the place becaue there were so many people. the food was awesome and resonably priced. after Kluge took over you could drive a semi through there because no one could afford anything or get any service. Kluge should stick to wine and cheese. she obviously didn't do her homework.

I agree with bringbackthecountry. The previous operators did massive lunch business with the people working in the vicinity. Service was quick. Food was excellent. Prices were reasonable. There were weeks I ate there every day. Like most, I ventured in when Fuel opened. Once. This was not a restaurant which took into account the people who had previously visited on a daily basis. If anything, I believe it might have been trying to dissuade those very people from coming in and bringing down the class level, there. The pricing sure implied that. Hope that the next owners want to be not only successful, but good neighbors to those of us who work and lunch in the area.

I always thought that the roof over the pumps looked like a diaphragm.

It was a strange hybrid -- too fancy for a gas station/convenience store and not fancy enough to ignore the gas pumps outside. When it first opened, I remember getting some good breakfasts there.

Someone once claimed that former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder would haunt that bistro from time to time, crying into his latte and mumbling semi-coherent gibberish about the Wahoo board of visitors and a bad jonesing for Lebanese strippers.