Not Spotless: Corner gets burger pit back

White Spot fans can now enjoy their Gusburgers and gyros without the fear of falling plaster. The emergency repairs necessitated by a roof collapse in early March are complete­ and the beloved greasy spoon is about as spiffy-clean as you'd want it to be.

When we screeched the screen door open on a sunny afternoon last week, it was like stepping back in time to the White Spot's early days. Everything seemed so fresh and airy, so noticeably new, as if the diner were a replica of its original 1950s self. (Catapulting us back to the present was a corner television broadcasting images of war-spattered Iraq.)

In addition to the brand new sheetrock ceiling, with its rectangular light fixtures and two (essential!) ceiling fans, there's also a brand new linoleum floor in the dining area with, of course, a new white spot cut into the center. Why did owner Dmitris Tavampis decide to change the floor's color from black to speckled green?

"There's black everywhere," he told Dish, pointing to the scuffed floor behind the counter. "I wanted something fresh."

That he got. In between taking orders, pouring sodas, and flipping burgers with acrobatic efficiency, Dmitris tells us that he still has plenty of post-renovation tasks to finish.

Hanging pictures, for one. Pictures of his native Greece, pictures of UVA sports teams, pictures of smiling diners, pictures of the annual "Gus-off," pictures of what has become, in just two short years, his primary home.

"I'm here from 8am-2am every day. Every minute I'm awake, I want to spend it here," he says. Part of Dmitris' charm is his taste for exaggeration-­ he speaks in hundreds.

"My Gusburger is a hundred times better than the others," "After the bars close, everybody's here– a hundred kids inside, a hundred kids outside." "This roof's good for a hundred more years."

The diner's evident popularity could explain why Dmitris has already started a search for The White Spot #2. We heard he was recently in Scottsville, scoping out two of the restaurants for sale there-­ Jimmy's and Laurel's Kitchen-­ but he says that Scottsville probably won't become Spotsville.

"I want to be near a university-­ maybe JMU in Harrisonburg, someplace very busy." A place, we might add, with a good, solid roof.

Come see what all the fuss is about– or compete to beat the eight-in-six-minutes record– at the Gus-off Saturday, April 5, at 3pm at the UVA Mad Bowl.

If you stop by The White Spot a little earlier that day, you'll be able to watch Dmitris and his staff perform an even more athletic feat: making the hundreds of Gusburgers that will be inhaled at the contest.


Mas Gets Real.

 Now that Charlottesvillians are gettting over the shock of sale of Mas, the trendy Belmont tapas bar, chef and part-owner Tomas Rahal declares it's "time to get real."

The stress on artistic perfection and experimentation seems to have delayed the growth of the business, he says. "Everyone came into this project with high ideals, and not all of them have proven to be realizable," says Rahal.

In addition to getting a new owner named Capshaw (still "no comment" there...), gettin' real involves re-evaluating the restaurant to favor practicality, comfort, and good business sense– without sacrificing what already can be defined as the "Mas aesthetic."

Work has begun on the front patio, which Rahal says will stay true to the original Gaudi-inspired design-­ mosaic benches and tables reminiscent of Barcelona's playful Parc Guell.

As for the main bar, they'll be adding seating for 24 more and swapping those funky, yet painfully uncomfortable, tractor stools for something more comfy and safe.

"People were tripping on them and cutting themselves on the bases," Rahal says. Mas' downstairs lounge will soon offer space for larger parties– but as for the café, no talk yet of an opening date.