FOOD- THE DISH- Bohème nights: Tater tots now, tea dances coming?

No restaurant parking lot like it: Dulaney's at the Inn at Afton was closed for the winter, but will re-open in May.

To celebrate the introduction of a new late-night menu and bar, Bohème was offering something mighty generous last Thursday, March 20–free food to anyone who came in after 10pm. And according to GM Nick Mattia, the event was a smashing success.

"We couldn't have wished for a better group of people," he noted in a 3am post on the Hook's food blog ( after the event. 

As a result, the official grand opening of Bohème's late-night scene is a go for Thursday, March 27 after 10pm. 

While they've played around with a late-night scene in the past, Mattia says the new late night menu is much more than pizza, tater tots, and cheese plates. He mentions Cajun-marinated frogs' legs sauced with a roasted plum yogurt, pomegranate molasses-glazed sweetbreads and shitakes over savory french toast, shellfish crepes, chicken livers wrapped in bacon, and black eyed-pea cakes

Entertainment plans are still in the works, but Mattia would like bring in a DJ and possibly have live music.

He also adds that he's considering hosting a "tea dance" on Sundays as a post-brunch party from 5 to 9pm. While the Hook isn't sure what kind of dancing goes on at a "tea dance," one would guess some sort of bonnet or parasol is required. 

Seriously, though, according to a Wikipedia entry, the thé dansant– which seems to have originated in French occupied Morocco– has an interesting evolution. 

Originally, it appears to have been some light entertainment for the upper classes to go with their afternoon tea breaks, with small orchestras playing and dancers doing waltzes and tangos. However, by the late 1970s, the concept had become popular in the gay community; it referred to casual afternoon and evening dances usually held at night clubs and resorts. 

Unfortunately, the tea dance is also associated with one of the worst structural collapses in American history. 

In 1981, nearly 2000 people gathered in the 45-story Kansas City Hyatt Regency hotel atrium for a tea dance in the lobby and on two interior "sky bridges," which suddenly collapsed under the load, killing 114 and injuring 200. 

Faulty engineering, not the tea dancing, was blamed for the collapse. (Okay, we know we're digress here– but this is interesting!) According to Tom Baber, a UVA structural engineering professor, the collapse occurred because the contractor decided to save some time and money by breaking into sections the hangers that supported the sky-walk. 

"The engineer on the project took a quick look at the idea, didn't think it through, and signed off on it," Baber told the Hook (in a story about our own little collapse of the Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court building). "As a result, we now talk about this in engineering classes. The lesson? Don't make snap judgments."

Ah, whether you're building a building, choosing a candidate, deciding on a place to eat, or selecting a bottle of wine, a date, or a mate– a lesson for us all. 

  Coming (very) soon–Nicolas' Veggies

Well, it looks like the owners of Marco & Luca on the Downtown Mall are returning to their roots. 

Co-owner Dragana Katalina-Sun, a Bosnian refugee, who runs the popular noodle and dumpling shop in York Place with her Chinese-born husband, Sun Da, tells Dish that she's planning (hopefully) to open Nicolas' Veggies (Marco & Luca was named for their first two sons, Nichola is the third) on Monday, March 31 in their original dumpling spot, the little (very little) to-go window on Second Street NW (right next door to the Hook) where they began in 2002. Katalina-Sun says they'll be serving sandwiches and salads to begin with, and may add an assortment of juices later on.

"Wish me luck," says Katalina-Sun.

We certainly do.  

Seasonal Dulaney's

Last week, when we stopped at one of our favorite spots for great views and friendly served food, we found it closed down tight. Dulaney's, the only hotel restaurant located on the luscious peak of Afton, has been closed since about October, according to the lady working the hotel desk.

Hanging over the Charlottesville side of the Rockfish Gap, the restaurant has long been a favorite for clandestine meetings and sumptuous views of the valley below. Maybe the closing is just a seasonal thing? Located in what was once a Holiday Inn, now the Inn at Afton, the restaurant may reopen in the spring, the desk clerk said.

Indeed, when we finally reached owner Phil Dulaney, he told us he's doing a little remodeling and will re-open starting on weekends sometime in May.

 It's that CSA time of year

Yes, subscription time is fast approaching for CSAs. What's a CSA, you say?

Well, it's like the Book of the Month club, only it's the basket-of-vegetables-a-week club. Type "CSA" and "food" into the Hook website, and you'll see we've written a bunch of articles about these champions of the "slow food" and "eat local" movements. We've written about these three— Best of What's Around, Ploughshare, and Horse and Buggy. But you might also want to check out this more extensive list compiled by the Piedmont Environmental Council at

Get 'Goosed' at the X Lounge

The X Lounge is introducing its "eXtremely happy "Goose" special Tuesday through Saturday– and that would be $5 Grey Goose cocktails. In addition, Tuesday is "Girls night out" ($5 X martinis and cocktails until 9pm), Wednesday is half-priced bottles of wine until 9pm, and Thursday it's "happy bubbles all night long" ($6 house bubbles all night long).


1 comment

your picture is of the waynesboro side of afton mountain. have you tried the ice cream place at the foot of afton waynesboro?