FOOD- DISH- Smokin' good: Pigs fly on the Mall

BBQ aficionados know that Jinx's Pit's-Top Barbecue, that little brightly decorated building on East Market Street that can be seen smoking profusely in the early morning, is the spot for true pit-cooked barbeque. 

Years ago, owner Jinx Kern journeyed to famed house of bbq Starnes in Paducah, Kentucky and managed to talk his way into a tour of their barbeque pits out back. "Their barbecue is simply the best," Jinx, now 52, told the Hook when he first opened. 

For nearly six years, we've been reaping the benefits of the secrets he discovered, secrets he still refuses to divulge. 

"Smoke is the essence of barbecue," Jinx tells the Hook. "Mine is pit-cooked on a hickory fire...that's the critical thing." Not surprisingly, Kern is critical of barbecue that relies on sauces for taste. "You  could put ice cream on it and it would still be my barbecue," he says.  

Now that smokey concoction is available for pick up at the new newsstand on the Mall. Just call Jinx and place an order before 11am, and it'll be ready for pick-up at the newsstand in front of the Regal movie theater by noon. Pass the napkins!

Calling all restaurants!

After Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast last year, Charlottesvillians answered the call for help. 

Allen Powell, owner of Pyramid Construction and Wolfie's restaurant, drove 20 trucks with 20 men, 20 generators, and two backhoes down to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to help out, bringing along 1,000 gallons each of gas and diesel, as well as chainsaws, chippers, and water and ice. Oliver Kuttner and David New, owners of The Starlight Express, a bus service that runs between Charlottesville and New York City, drove down to help families relocate to Charlottesville. In addition, hundreds of other local residents (big shots and small shots) donated their money, time, and aid to relieve the suffering the disaster caused. 

That's why Dish was surprised to discover that only one restaurant in town has signed up for Share Our Strength's Restaurants for Relief 2, the second annual relief effort to help rebuild school cafeterias, open summer meal programs, and provide assistance for affected restaurant workers. 

If you dine out on Tuesday, August 29, participating restaurants across the country will donate a portion of your tab to Share Our Strength's relief efforts. And all you have to do is go out and enjoy a nice meal! Unfortunately, it looks like we'll all have to go to Red Robin in Fashion Square Mall, the only restaurant within 30 miles of town signed up for the August event. 

The good news is that there's still time for area restaurants to sign up. Just visit the Share Our Strength website at to register. 

Attention chefs!

Remember those awful school lunches? The Sloppy Joes on stale bread and the rubbery mac and cheese served with chewy, tasteless beans and some mush you were told was mashed potatoes? The only good thing were those cold cartons of milk. Well, thanks to a new program at Clark Elementary School, the lunch lady could be replaced by a real chef! 

S.N.A.P., the School Nutrition Awareness Program, is an effort spearheaded by Clark Elementary School parents and officials to improve the quality of school lunches. In addition to introducing fresh whole wheat bread and muffins, fresh fruit, and plenty of water to the menu, they also want to start a Guest Chef Program. 

Organizer John Sweet is looking for nine local chefs to make a one-time commitment of less than a day of work over the next nine months. The chef will work with the school nutrition staff to come up with a special lunch menu on Wellness Wednesdays. So come on, you food wizards, help the kids out! If you're interested, give Sweet a call at 466-8392. 

Jinx's Pits-Top Barbeque's Jinx Kern brings his tasty pork to a newsstand near you!