Mountain brewed: Coffee comes to Pantops

It's finally happening, and it's about time. Folks on the east side of town from Zion Crossroads to Glenmore are seeing their shopping center, Rivanna Ridge, conveniently located on Pantops Mountain, begin to take shape as a full service development.

At first, when it opened this past spring, shopping options were limited to the mammoth new Giant and the Liberty gas station with its upscale market deli, the Everyday Café none too shabby, even on their own. But now the rest of those vacant spaces are finding occupants, and Dish for one is happy to hear it.

First up: Starbucks, which will be filling an end space. Apparently business is still booming for the Seattle-based company with three locations already in Charlottesville: on the Corner, on 29 North by Mattress King, and in the Barnes & Noble at Barracks Road.

The newest addition to the Starbucks empire will be much like the others so start brushing up on your coffee lingo. According to management at Starbucks' Corner store, the Rivanna Ridge Starbucks will be opening the second week of December.

Jack Barber of Rivanna Realty, leasing agency for Rivanna Ridge, says more food is also in the works. Several national sandwich chains are considering one spot, though Barber declined to give names of the competing chains. Also in the works: Applebee's, which will likely take one of the pad spots yet to be constructed west of the Liberty station. But don't plan on ordering up mozzarella sticks and potato skins anytime soon. Barber says it'll be spring at the earliest before any dirt is moved on the project.

And he says it's unlikely many more restaurants will be able to make use of the location because there's simply not enough parking to meet county requirements.

Other businesses aren't so limited by lack of ample parking: Barber says Blockbuster should be opening at Rivanna Ridge by Thanksgiving, Hair Cuttery should be opening shortly thereafter, and cell phone provider Ntelos is already up and running.


From Shangri La to China?

 The Main Street corridor has long been a vital part of the local dining scene, with staples such as the Bluebird Café, Southern Culture, and Continental Divide. The Main Street Market, with Feast! and Ciboulette, added additional flair, and now comes word that the expansion has spread westward, all the way to the 900 block.

Immediately adjacent to the Camera Center and across from the Hampton Inn, workers have been busy in the old house that most recently served as home to vintage clothing store Shangri-la.

Last week new gas lines were put in place to bring the building up to code, and leasing agent Peg Gilliland, at Summit Commercial Property, says there will likely be two restaurants in the space.

On one side will be Lucky Star, a Chinese restaurant. The second, says Summit's Charlie Kabbash, will be "something that complements" Chinese likely another sort of ethnic restaurant.

There are no details on opening dates at this point but renovation plans recently passed the Board of Architectural Review, so Dish will keep you updated.