Atlas shouts, TJ celebrates, Belmont slices, and a new CSA

We have the recession to thank for Atlas Coffee, on Fontaine Avenue, right beside Guadalajara in the old Jackson Hewitt Tax Service space, which opened on April 5, as owners Ruth Ellen Outlaw, her husband Woody, and couple Lorie Craddock and Michael Manto finally realized a dream they cooked up in the economic downturn when Outlaw's design business was slowing.

Outlaw, a restaurant biz vet as well, thought she was crazy to get into it again, but the Italian coffee bar concept the four came up with struck her fancy.

"We see the small space as an asset because it will allow us to interact more with the customers," Outlaw told Dish. "Instead of the stand-up counters that you see in Italy, however, we'll have stools, and we'll have outdoor seating in nice weather."

Originally, they had planned on a mid-January opening, but as Dish has learned, nothing ever goes as planned in the restaurant business.

So how's it going so far?

"It's going really well, but we're hoping to get busier," says Outlaw. "We're starting to establish ourselves as the neighborhood coffee bar, and we're really enjoying getting to know our regular customers."

Atlas joins Hoo's Brew as the second coffee place at the familiar intersection, which welcomed Fry Springs Station and the new Carmello's.

Atlas Coffee's espresso is made from Shenandoah Joe coffee and they're be selling whole bean coffee and accessories as well. Carpe Donut donuts and pastries from other local bakers are also available.

Homage to Meritage and TJ
The folks at Jefferson Vineyards would like you to come out and celebrate TJ's birthday on Saturday, April 16 by tasting their award-winning Meritage blends from the past decade, paired with some hearty hors d'oeuvres. It's $40 per person, and the party starts at 4pm and goes into the evening. Call 977-3042 and make your reservations!

Belmont pub, pizza joint coming
Belmont Pizza & Pub, the place we mentioned last week would be going into the old 2Sides space at 221 Carlton Road will be opening in April. According to owner Harry Horner, they're finishing up the last of their renovations and hammering out a few recipes. So it should be just a week or so. They'll have hand-tossed pizzas, specialty subs, fresh salads, a full bar; and they'll be delivering to businesses and neighborhoods around Belmont and Downtown.

Head up the Mountain for real spring fun
Don't forget to check out Carter Mountain Orchard's Spring Fling Festival on Saturday, April 23 from 10am – 5pm. There'll be Easter egg hunts at 11am and 2pm for kids 5 and under, and 6 through 10.  Pay $5 for the hunt ticket, and get a hayride. Of course, the Easter Bunny will be there, Josh Mayo will be playing music, and there'll be food (and donuts!), craft vendors, and wine tastings.

Bellair Farm launches new CSA
There's a new CSA (Community-supported agriculture) operation out at historic Bellair Farm, which sits on 900 beautiful acres just south of Charlottesville down Route 20 South and Secretary Road's way. According to the manager, Jamie Barrett, they're growing 50 different types of organic vegetables (in addition to some fruit and flowers) and will grow for 160 member families this coming season on 16 acres.

"Our goal is to build a vibrant community around our 900-acre farm by connecting families to the land and their food," says Barrett.

In addition to picking up their weekly share at the farm, members will be welcome to enjoy the "Pick-Your-Own" crops acreage, annual farm festivals, and Saturday family workshops on farming issues.

"Our share style is a mix and match approach, where the shareholder enjoys a lot of freedom to fill their bag how they like," says Barrett.

Every week there will be 2-3 limits, but most items are only limited by the size of the share bag. For folks who can't make it to the farm, they plan to distribute at either the Tuesday or Wednesday city markets in town. If you're interested, visit the website at