FOOD-THE DISH- Carlton rocks! B double-E double-R U-N!
Safety hazard? Last year's Wunderkammer event in the Frank Ix building.
FILE PHOTO BY BILLY HUNT
Woolen Mills Point, the new building on the corner of Meade Avenue and Carlton Road, a seemingly unlikely place for a food court, will be welcoming yet another eatery to its eclectic offerings: Beer Run.
But it's not what you think. We'll get to that.
Back in March, Dish welcomed Pad Thai to the space, as well as the Mexican bakery, Las Palmas. Since then, Dish has noticed that a Mexican goods store has opened up, selling elaborate handmade boots, plus hats, soccer clothing, and other things from south of the border.
On our last visit to the bakery, Dish noticed there's also a non-denominational Christian revival church in the building. As we wandered around munching on a conchita, window-shopping for rhinestone-studded cowboy boots, the Lord's spirit had a room hidden by papered-over windows singing and hollering. Up above, Pad Thai owner Santi Ouypron, a "kitchen artist" in a past life, was busy serving up his Thai delicacies in his modest little spot.
Beer Run co-owner Joshua Hunt, who'll be opening the new place in early September (he hopes) with his step-brother, John Woodriff, says there's been some chatter about the name choice, which can summon the image of a carload of party-goers making a wild, pre-midnight run. Some have also mistakenly assumed Beer Run will be a beer delivery service.
However, as Hunt explains, it's really a hybrid store, sandwich shop, bar, and restaurant.
"We'll mostly be selling a huge selection of beers, but also wine, cheeses, dips, and other snacks," he says. "But we'll also have grab-and-go gourmet lunch and dinner stuff, plus we'll have a place to eat in with a small bar."
Hunt, a Charlottesville native who now lives in Austin, Texas (he says John will be handling day-to-operations), says he and his brother had been kicking around the idea for a while.
"We always thought that a place like this would be great for this part of town," he says. "If you live down in the Woolen Mills area, you have to go quite a way to get some good beer or a quick bite to eat."
Hunt is the son of former Rococo's owner Mary Ann Parr, and Woodriff is "realtor extraordinaire" Dennis Woodriff's son, so you could say the duo have an ideal set of genes for the job!
Beer run, anyone?
City puts the kibosh on Artini, other events at Ix
For those who enjoyed the recent Artini party, including Dish, part of the allure was the venue– the old bombed out Frank Ix building that created a unique, other-worldly atmosphere for the event.
"You've hit the nail on the head," says Ix spokesperson Lexie Boris. "The current state of deshabille is one of the main attractions of the original 1926 building."
In this world, however, it appears the old building has become a fire and safety hazard. Until the Frank Ix space is brought up to code, say city building officials, events like the Artini party and Shentai will have to look for other locations.
"I've been monitoring the floor for years and decided that it was time to stop the public access to the space before someone was injured or killed," says city building code official Tom Elliot.
Elliot says the roof has leaked on the two-story northern section of the Ix building for years (indeed, water from a thunderstorm pouring through the roof in torrents was part of the allure of last year's Artini), and the leaks have finally weakened the interior wood flooring and floor supports. In addition, he says that because the windows were removed years ago, the perimeter flooring inside is failing.
Elliot says the general contractor responsible for the renovation efforts, Caliper Construction, has been told what needs to be done to bring the building up to code. Until then, there will be no more events at the building, Elliot says.
Ironically, what made this year's event so much fun for so many were the hints of danger, and a roof made of stars. Dish wonders what safety officials might have thought of the open sandpit in the middle of one room that served as an ashtray, or all the candles and curtains, or the bikini-clad dancers and other revelers heating up the place as they consumed huge quantities of alcohol.
Ah, but we live in an era where safety rules, where even the hint of danger requires a response. Still, the folks at Ix hope events like Artini will continue in the space.
"We are trying to figure out a way to meet the city's demands without losing that "state of deshabille" the building has," says Boris. "We hope they will work with us to keep our buildings open to the arts."
Artini organizer and OXO co-0wner Alice Kim reports that her Water Street restaurant has just joined the late night scene with OXO After Dark.
"We repainted some walls, added lounge furniture, and created a New York City loft vibe at night," says Kim. "We just had our opening 'party,' and about 250 people came looking gorgeous, drinking funky cocktails, and dancing all over the place."
Although Kim says they don't actually have a dance floor, the space still welcomes party-goers to move.
"We realized we had a great space and a large bar that were not being utilized to their full potential," Kim says.
So, with bartender extraordinaire Ben Gathright and a willing staff, Kim and company decided to create something with a twist that just might light up our weekends.
OXO After Dark happens on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays until 2am. In addition, the kitchen will be open until midnight with a limited menu.
According to Kim, the Friday and Saturday night After Darks are more like a "party" because of the "music and the playfulness of the evenings."
So, feeling playful?