Birds of a feather: Flock to Pantops

What's all the squawking about up on the hill east of town? It must be the Lazy Parrot Grill, which took over the Sweetbones space in the Pantops Shopping Center on May 5.

"What we're trying to do up here is just provide a nice, fun family atmosphere," says owner Kevin Kirby, "a place where people can relax a little bit."

Kirby, a one-time Fort Lauderdale resident, was general manager of Sweetbones for four years before purchasing the business from Northern Exposure owner Bob Weitzner.

And though the place does have a tropical vacation vibe, he says the name wasn't inspired by Jimmy Buffett. It came from a drawing done by Kirby's now-16-year-old son Dallas when he was 10.

"He drew a parrot on a hammock between two palm trees," Kirby explains.

Fortunately, there's no parrot stew on the menu– in fact, says Kirby, much of the menu is the same as its predecessor's with a few name changes and some extra choices.

"There are 36 wing flavors, wraps, huge salads, burgers, a little something for everyone," says Kirby. "If you can't find something here, you're in trouble."

On Tuesday nights, Jimmy O performs at 7pm on the 50-seat patio, an event Kirby says is fun for the whole family to sit back and enjoy.

"We're trying to get people to slow down a little bit," he says.


Korean on Carlton

 Think you have to drive to D.C. to get authentic Korean fare? Think again.

With the Monday, June 28, opening of The Korean House restaurant, adventuresome diners and anyone homesick for Korea now have an option right here in town– though it's tucked-away in the Carlton Business Park on Carlton Avenue.

On a recent visit, Dish met Yoo-na Mackay, daughter of restaurant owner Pok Sun Mackay.

"Everyone was always telling my mother she was a good cook," says Yoo-na, who says she and her family moved from Oklahoma a year and a half ago when her father took a management position at the Gordonsville Wal-Mart distribution center.

On the day of Dish's visit, Pok Sun is hard at work in the open kitchen preparing dishes like Haemul-pajun, a massive seafood pancake, and Dolsot-bibimbap, a sizzling bowl of meat, rice, and vegetables with a fried egg on top and a side of chili paste.

The ojinguh-dutbap, spicy cuttlefish (that's squid) stir-fry with rice, is not for the faint of heart– large tentacles are cut into three or four-inch sections, combined with veggies, and covered with a spicy pepper sauce. Two thumbs– or should we say tentacles?– up.

Yoo-na says the restaurant has already attracted a variety of patrons, but that it has been particularly appealing to Asian families of many nationalities.

"We had a party of 10 Japanese in here the other day," she says.

On hand to help is Pastor Barnabus Choi, head of the 60-member Northside Korean Baptist Church.

"Korean food," says Choi, "is sweet, simple, and never oily. It's good for health."

With a fresh, sweet watermelon from neighboring C'ville Market for dessert, that's not too hard to believe.


In the Sticks

 When you've got a formula that works, stick with it. That seems to be the lesson Webb Brown, Ty Austin, Bill Hamilton, and Chris DuBois learned from their Sticks kebob shop on Preston Avenue.

After two years in business, the quartet has headed for the hills, opening a second store in the Rivanna Ridge Shopping Center on Pantops mountain in mid-June.

Like its elder sibling, the Pantops Sticks features meats and/or veggies on a stick, as well as seasoned rice and vegetable side dishes, and dipping sauces tasty enough that some patrons eat them with a spoon.

Response to the new location, says co-owner Brown, has been heartening: "We've been busy since opening day."

The new Sticks is open 11am to 9pm Monday through Saturday, and Brown says Sticks regulars should make the trip up Pantops for something the original store can't offer.

"The view of Charlottesville," he says, "is beautiful."

Part owner and chef Pok S. Mackay and chef Ho-kyoung Choi of the Korean House

[A name was misspelled in the print version of this story: It has been corrected in this on-line version.–editor]