Fellini's No. 9: The latest life of a sexy landmark

Ten years after closing and nearly one year after since real estate owner Ben May restored it, Fellini's is coming back to life.

In mid-August, he handed the keys to this illustriously infamous venue to Jaclynn Dunkle. A restaurant veteran with 28 years of experience, most recently as bar manager at a private club in Nashville, Dunkle discovered the Fellini's opportunity while visiting family here.

The shoe fit. Distinguishing herself from the other potential tenants, this former AmeriCorps leader was clear about wanting to preserve­ not erase­ Fellini's history.

"I want to retain all of the wonderful stories I've heard so far­ however seedy or fond," she says. "I feel I am giving Fellini's back to the community, and that is very important to me."

Since its 1994 closing, memories of late-night parties featuring sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll may be starting to fade, but in addition to displaying a documented history of the restaurant, Dunkle wants actual anecdotes from former Fellini's patrons during special "story-telling" hours in September.

As for the actual opening date (she still needs to finalize a chef and menu search), November is the target. We'll have to wait a while longer for the long story behind it, but the reincarnated restaurant will be called Fellini's No. 9.



 What's better than wandering around Home Depot or leafing through renovation magazines for kitchen ideas? Visiting stylish kitchens.

Meals on Wheels, the 27-year-old non-profit organization which currently delivers about 170 hot lunches a day to those who can't cook for themselves, is gearing up for it's third annual Kitchen Tour. From 1-5pm on September 11 and 12, ticket-holders can tour six very special kitchens in the First and Second street area, just steps away from the Downtown Mall– including the elaborately renovated Italianate gem on High Street near McIntire Road.

"We are always running on a treadmill trying to keep up with demand," says the charity's director Mandy Hoy, "We simply cannot put those in need on a waiting list."

The ticket price of $15/$20 will be thrown directly into the food-buying pot. Advance tickets can be bought at Albemarle Baking Co., Sticks at Pantops, Mermaid Coffee Express, and The Happy Cook– and day-of tickets will be available (along with free parking) at the Albemarle County Office Building.


MC2 energizes Nellysford

 When Bistro 151 went out of business earlier this year, Nellysford residents and Wintergreen visitors wondered who would fill the gap in the Valley Green Shopping Center on Highway 151. May brought not only wildflowers, but a fresh new restaurant with a curious name-­ MC2.

I wondered how modern physics could play a part in the restaurant equation until I realized owner Craig Nargi also happens to own Mossy Creek Cafe and Catering (emphasis on the MC) in Fishersville.

Nargi has had his eye on Nellysford ever since he was a sous-chef at Wintergreen's Garden Terrace in the early '90s. Now that his catering business has blossomed to cover the entire state, a second location was more than justified (he's already eyeing Crozet for a third).

Different from his more casual Fishersville cafe, MC2 offers chef Chris Pugh's low-country cuisine (shrimp 'n grits, she-crab soup, fried oysters) in a clean, contemporary, slightly upscale setting.

On the subject of clean, Nargi stresses a total transformation of the old Bistro 151 spot. He gutted it, redesigned the layout, doubled the size of the new kitchen and put in new cooking equipment as well as new AC, heating, and exhaust systems. All that work equals a new restaurant that gives day-trippers a new reason to head for the hills.