FOOD- THE DISH- Just in time: Corner Just Curry finds new space

Alex George

Just Curry's Alex George dropped by last week to tell us he's signed a lease for a new Corner location– Mesob's space next to the parking garage on Wertland Street. (Of course, the popular Ethiopian restaurant's departure is news as well. George thinks they'll be looking for a more intimate location up 29 North, but we'll follow up on that.) Just Curry, along with Plan 9, Higher Grounds, and the Satellite Ballroom, all got the boot at the end of May, as their building's owner has struck a deal with pharmacy chain CVS. Yet for the curry man, the timing couldn't be better.

"I'm hoping the Corner store will be closed for no more than 10 to 14 days," says George, who'll be moving from a 700-square-foot space to one with 2,000 square feet. In April, George opened a downtown location in the Transit Center, which he says he'll keep and which is "doing great."

George says he plans to expand the menu at the new Corner location, keeping his meat dishes but adding more vegetarian options. He says he'll also open up the existing glass front for outdoor seating and ramp up his hours when the students get back, staying open from 11am to after midnight.

Scam alert! Take-out rip-off?

Duner's owner Bob Caldwell told us that he got a call from someone last week claiming to have found a metal object in a take-out chicken order the night before.

"He wouldn't give his name or number, just wanted his money back," says Caldwell. "After checking our records and finding that we didn't sell any take-out chicken, we figured it to be a scam."

Vivace owner Tom "Zipper" Lippman told Caldwell about a similar incident that happened in April, and when he called Hayden Berry, the former Duner's chef who opened Three-Notch'd Grill in Crozet with his wife, Cathy, Berry told him that he and the owner of Uncle Charlie's, another Crozet restaurant, got the same call last week.

"We've reported it to the Albemarle police, but I'm sure this person is probably trying this scam at other places," says Caldwell. "The phone number he's dialing from is the UVA hospital. Of course, I thought this might be of interest to my fellow restaurateurs."


Fish story: Sushi on West Main

First the bad news: Seafood at West Main owner Chris Arseneault decided to close his lunch counter in the West Main Market. No more fish and chips, po-boys, and such. Now the good news: he's opened a sushi counter in its place!

For Arseneault, it was a no-brainer. He's been selling sashimi-quality fresh fish for the last six years. And–

"We also expanded within the last two years to include Japanese groceries," he says, "and my wife, Yoshiko, and I own the business, and she's Japanese."

Using their sashimi-quality yellow-fin tuna and Atlantic salmon, Arseneault says they're currently offering tuna, salmon, spicy tuna, eel, California, and vegetable rolls.

Global-Local food study findings

The findings of a recent student-run UVA food study have finally been compiled– and it's big news. We mean that literally. It's 172 pages long!

The product of a class of both graduate and undergraduate students in urban and environmental planning, "Healthy Communities, Healthy Food Systems (Part III): Global-Local Connections," the study examines our local food system, the local food movement in general, and according to its executive summary, is "the next step in a longer-term community project to foster better links between local farms and community schools and organizations, food stores, restaurants and residents." Indeed, the study profiles Feast!, Blue Moon Diner, UVA dining services, Chipotle, a number of local farms– even a single family– in exhaustive fashion.

Conclusions? Well, considering it would take us about a week to read, here's a quickie overview.

"The desire for a completely self-sustaining local food system is desirable to many; however, in the contemporary globally connected world, this is nearly impossible. A balance between local entities and its respective global ties work to provide a healthy system that most closely resembles the completely idealistic self-sustaining system."

In other words, how the heck can small farmers feed millions of people?

"Local, organic food may seem phony, even elitist. The luxury of owning a share of Community Supported Agriculture for a weekly box full of unusual produce or paying $2.99 for a pound of ground beef sold at Kroger for $0.99, sets the local movement outside the reach of the everyday citizen."

Which is the reason some folks call a certain grocery store on 29 North "Whole Paycheck."

Still, the study profiles the noble efforts of area farms, restaurants, and organizations to make locally grown food more readily available, and even presents a number of strategies for improving the local food system, such as Feast! owner Kate Collier's idea of establishing a publicly owned Community Food Center, a kind of local food grocery and distribution point. In particular, it examines Chipotle's effort to make its Charlottesville franchise the first chain restaurant to use 100 percent locally grown produce.

Of course, there's much more to the study than can be presented here; the co-creator of the UVA class, Tanya Denckla Cobb, says the study will be available on the class website within the next week.

Journal recommends Bizou, Ten, and Jinx's

Charlottesville's quirkiest barbecue man, Jinx Kern, is back in the news. 

On May 27, the Wall Street Journal recommended his restaurant in its "off the beaten path" travel article about Charlottesville, and foodies may appreciate (and debate) the three dining picks. 

Downtown bistro Bizou gets the nod for "delicious" food at "ridiculously low prices." Sushi-centric Ten is loud and lauded, but the author ruins this place for Sissy Spacek by mentioning her presence.

As for Jinx's Barbecue, the smoked succulence-in-a-dive on East Market Street gets a nod for "hickory smoked barbecue and some seriously down-home atmosphere that ranks with some of the country's best." 

The barbecue man was pleased. "I'm speechless," says Kern. "It's a complete surprise."

All this food news was first reported online. Check it out at