Ain't no drag: Papa John's heads to Ivy Square

The faded retro University Shopping Center on Ivy Road is about to get a brand-new tenant. Papa John's pizza has taken over the corner space formerly occupied by– as the seemingly indestructible signs still claim– the Cavalier Washette.

Workers have already begun gutting the interior and expect to complete the project by December 5. After that, we can expect a shiny new façade to follow.

"The landlord has been very supportive of our plans," says Shane Thackston, general manager of the West Main Street Papa John's, which will move to the new location as soon as it's ready. "We think people will be very pleased with the improvements to the shopping center," he adds.

Pizza franchise owner Vic Schaff was encouraged to move his 11th and West Main location following the University of Virginia's purchase of the land for its new $4 million General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) Core Laboratory.

 Once the old pizzeria is demolished, the site will be transformed into a landscaped "pocket garden" for the laboratory, which will soon be receiving blood and other samples for testing through the hospital's nifty pneumatic tube delivery system. If only pizza could travel so speedily.


Café Feast debuts at The Main Street Market

 It's already looking like the holidays at the Main Street Market. After being under wraps for months, Feast! revealed its new expansion on Tuesday, November 9. The cheese case stayed put, but regulars will need some orientation after that, because Feng Shui harmony has shifted everything else.

Now twice as big as before, this neighborhood gourmet grocery has drastically increased its produce section (local, seasonal), deli (new cuts of organic meat and poultry), and wine offerings.

But the real show-stopper is the new Café Feast, open for lunch and before-dinner snacks Monday-Saturday 11am-6pm and Sunday 11-4. Looking a bit like the Wizard of Oz behind the café's ordering window, Feast's new chef, Cam McNair (formerly of Mas), whips up lunch delights such as a caramelized onion and Gruyère tart ($8), or a Lomo (thinly sliced pork loin) and dolce provolone (cheese) sandwich with pepper spread and fresh arugula ($7).

In addition to soups, salads and sandwiches, the café introduces a series of "antipasti platters" that pair cheeses, meats, and other savory tidbits with wines. The "Local" board, for instance, is topped with Everona Piedmont's aged sheep's milk cheese, country hams by Edwards, Meadowcroft dill pickles, and fresh bread.

And yes, as for that accompanying glass of Chardonnay­ Café Feast now serves wine and beer.

What happened to the Feast! gift shop? In its place you'll now find the beautiful blooms of Hedge.

If you're in the mood for pasta, Milano, the chic espresso-gelato bar located in the Market's new "Italian wing" just added a "pasta of the day" special to its edible offerings.

Hungry shoppers can enjoy a plateful of fresh ravioli or gnocchi (potato dumplings) dressed in an ever-changing selection of sauces (pesto, pomodoro, gorgonzola) for $5.50. As temperatures drop, expanded Milano seating options– in elegant Verity blue next door or up in the wired "Tower Lounge"– make this new dining alternative even more appetizing.

Brunch fans will be happy to know that the Main Street Market vendors will soon be offering a moveable Sunday Brunch. Orchestrated by Mark Cave of Milano and Verity blue, the Market brunch will allow customers to sample the wares of several different food purveyors any time between 10am and 3pm.

From Washette to pizzeria