FOOD- THE DISH- Donut fret: Dunkin' Donuts coming South
Ever since Krispy Kreme on Emmet Street closed in 2004, we've had a donut hole in our hearts. That could change with the arrival of Dunkin' Donuts.
FILE PHOTO BY JEN FARIELLO
Sure, some business called The Box is taking over the old Atomic Burrito place on the Downtown Mall, and an Italian restaurant, Olivaté, is taking over Fat Daddy's space in Albemarle Square, but you want to hear the really big news? The tag-team combo of Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin Robbins are coming to town!
Ever since our Krispy Kreme closed– due in part to some corporate trouble for the historic franchise (it's part of a permanent exhibit on American culture at the Smithsonian), which has seen its stock price plummet in recent years– we've had a serious donut hole in our lives.
However, according to GM Kevin Hunsberger and his partner, who plan to open seven (yes, seven!) Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin Robbins in the area in the next five years, our days without fresh, hot donuts could be over (grocery stores sell prepackaged Krispy Kremes, but we all know they're not the same).
And what about Baskin Robbins ice cream! As Hunsberger explains, DD owns BR, and up north most stores combine the two. However, while he'd like to see a DD/BR combo on The Corner, he says other areas could see a stand-alone DD, but never any stand-alone BRs, as selling ice cream alone appears to be a losing battle financially. Whew! Got that?
Alas, Hunsberger cautions that plans are in the early stages (keep your donut-loving fingers crossed), as they've only locked down locations near the airport and at Lake Monticello. "We're looking to have our first open in April and second in July," he says. "We'd also love to have a location on the Downtown Mall."
Hunsberger, who went to UVA and managed the Red Roof Inn for several years, says he's excited to be bringing the fresh hot donut back to town. Let's just hope his donut dreams become reality.
A few Staunton treats
About eight months ago, The Dining Room in Staunton, which has been open since 2004, changed owners, spiced up its menu, and added a little music. According to manager Jennifer Kirkland, new owner Ronda Ward took over last May and made immediate changes.
Indeed, Frommer's recently called this "high-powered bistro" Staunton's best restaurant. "Modernist paintings by Waynesboro artist Nicholas Martori hanging on the exposed-brick walls set a colorful tone for daily specials such as a sweet but refreshing cold melon soup with chunks of back-fin crab meat," Frommer's says.
"She kept some items from the previous menu, but has added a number of exotic entrees– such as wild boar and Canadian venison," says Kirkland. "Some of my favorites are the shrimp and grits, the halibut with a wonderful ratatouille, the spring roll appetizer, the cream of crab soup, and the goat cheese, radish, and cranberry salad."
Kirkland also mentions desserts from Staunton's popular pastry chef Gian Carlo.
However, Kirkland says The Dining Room's Tuesday night jazz has been the nicest addition: she and Ward are the performers, and their sets, she says, include "an eclectic mix of jazz standards, blues, and jazz arrangements of everything from the Great American Songbook to the Beatles."
"We would love to have more folks from Charlottesville come to try The Dining Room and Tuesday Jazz," she adds.
In April 2006, just a year after John and Cheryl Huggins opened Shenandoah Pizza on Beverley Street in Staunton, they bought a building further up the street that doubled the restaurant's size.
"Needless to say," says John Huggins, "downtown Staunton has proved the perfect place for our pizza-by-the-slice concept and gourmet pies."
Huggins says he and Cheryl moved to Staunton from the Outer Banks to pursue their dream of opening a pizzeria. "We fell in love with Staunton after purchasing a weekend getaway cabin near Wintergreen, then finding Staunton on one of our day-trip adventures," he says.
Huggins says their gourmet pizzas are made with fresh dough and homemade sauces, and that they also have subs, salads, wings, calzones, and an assortment of other treats. And they have live music!
"We have a lot fun," says Huggins, "and we've been blessed with a great staff."