Branching out: Five, six, another Sticks!

Chris DuBois must be glad to have Dish off his kebob case. You see, for the past six months or so I've been buzzing like a pesky fly around Sticks– which he owns with Bill Hamilton, Webb Brown, and Ty Austin– hoping to find out if and when the popular Preston Avenue kebobery would be "officially" adding a second location on Pantops. Last week, he notified me that it was, in fact, a done deal.

By mid-May, DuBois and company should be serving up their signature kebobs (chicken breast with fresh herbs, rosemary-rubbed leg of lamb, lemon-garlic shrimp, chili-spiked sirloin), sandwiches, salads, and sides in the Rivanna Ridge Shopping Center. Sticks #2 will soon be at home in the space to the far-right of Giant (at the opposite end from Starbucks).

"We really wanted this particular location on Pantops because it has such a fantastic view as well as the opportunity for outdoor seating," DuBois says. Later this month, workers will get busy punching out three large, mountain-viewing windows and building a colorful, contemporary interior based on a design by architects Train and Partners.

"We basically built the original Sticks [opened June of 2001] with our own hands, and we wanted a similar, but slightly more polished look for this new location," DuBois says. The approximately 2500-sq.-ft. Pantops space will afford twice the seating of the original location and also allow luxuries like a dish-washing machine!

As for the menu, besides making the board a bit more user-friendly, the content will stay more or less the same. After all, when you've already established one flavorful formula for success, why not stick with it?


High Meadows Inn toasts winemakers

 Clink, clink. We're all accustomed to toasting with wine, but the owners of the High Meadows Vineyard Inn in Scottsville thought it was high time somebody toast to wine-­ or to winemakers, to be exact. Passionate promoters of Virginia wines since they took over the management (and part-ownership) of this historic bed-and-breakfast inn and restaurant, Rose Farber and Jon Storey hosted their first Virginia Wine Awards dinner on Tuesday, February 10.

Fourteen of the area's best winemakers-­ from now-familiar names like Barboursville, Jefferson, White Hall, and Afton Mountain, to newer labels like First Colony, Veritas and Michael Shaps/King Family Vineyards ­ met in Scottsville (some had farther to travel than others) for an evening of varietal tasting, dining, and celebration.

"Everyone enjoys wine, but rarely do we take the occasion to thank the winemakers themselves," Farber says. Since the High Meadows wine list is made up exclusively of Virginia wines, and the restaurant, like the new Magnolia down the street, organizes frequent vintner dinners, they have more than a few reasons to celebrate the artful growth of local grapes.

At the head of the bottle-laden table was Gabriele Rausse, the native Italian largely responsible for the recent flourishing of Virginia winemaking. Rausse, who was initially recruited by the Zonin family to start Barboursville Vineyards in the early '80s, has shared his knowledge with just about every new winery since then.

"Gabriele was the first person we called when we were contemplating buying our vineyard in Afton," says Shinko Corpora of the now 15-year-old Afton Mountain Vineyard she owns and runs with husband Tom Corpora.

In addition to running his own small winery, Gabriele Rausse Winery, consulting and working at Monticello (as Associate Director of Gardens and Grounds), this modern day Mazzei also makes the wine for the High Meadows Inn and was featured at their packed February 14 vintner's dinner.

As for other upcoming vintner's dinners in Scottsville, Magnolia will be pairing with nearby First Colony Winery for a seven course food-and-wine feast on February 26. Since Scottsville is a small and supportive community, High Meadows and Magnolia are making sure to schedule their wine events on different nights.

"That way no one feels like they have to choose between us," Farber says. Cheers to that.