Start the music! Baker's Palette ready for Fridays
It's no secret that the newly reopened (and usually sold-out) Paramount Theater has dramatically affected the dining scene on the Downtown Mall. Try to arrange a small private party at a nearby eatery on a "Paramount Night," and you'll likely be turned away– who needs the extra business with all the hungry theater-goers buzzing around?
When the local street party known as Fridays After 5 moves to its temporary home on Garrett Street starting May 6, there won't be the plethora of immediate-vicinity dining options that the Paramount enjoys– but there will be more than Dominoes.
Though it's not Main Street, Garrett Street is one of the main streets (together with Second Street SE) of Charlottesville's burgeoning "warehouse district"– a few blocks of recently converted brick warehouse-style buildings now animated by design studios, clothing and shoe boutiques, an always-booked hair salon and a surprising dearth of eateries. Sammy Snacks will keep dogs and cats satisfied on warm Friday nights, but what about hungry humans?
Located at 126B Garrett in the Gleason's Building, just a few yards away from the old Ivy Industries (and soon to be ACAC) spot, The Baker's Palette is poised to take on the Friday crowds. Owned and operated by baker Sheila Cervelloni, this enormous take-out bakery serves businesses, cafés, and restaurants with fresh breads, cookies, cakes, and pastries. A small but chic eat-in section has been enjoying walk-in tranquility of this particular "frontier" location since opening in October 2003.
About a year ago, Cervelloni added a competitive, creative sandwich and salad menu– Cuban pork ciabatta, Virginia-baked ham melt on homemade wheat, chicken chipotle salad– which definitely puts her in the thick of the Fridays After 5 game.
"We're basically the only ones over here," Cervelloni says, "and so we're designing a special family-oriented menu just for Fridays." Assisted by her chef-husband, Tom Cervelloni, this palette will include lasagne, stromboli, and cold sesame noodles. Once they get things rolling, a similar menu will be available for tailgating and other take-out-friendly events on Saturdays.
Personal chefs cater to Charlottesville
It's not surprising that celebs like macrobiotic Toni Collette or frequently ballooning John Travolta have their personal chefs follow them from set to set in case they suddenly crave an egg-white omelet or herbed black soybeans at 4am. But did you know that nowadays personal chefs are about as common as personal trainers? According to a recent estimate by the U.S. Personal Chef Association, about 100,000 American families enjoy the services a personal chef.
Thanks to Ingrid Cordano of The Red Apron, several Charlottesville families are now experiencing this luxury. Cordano, a UVA alumna who trained at the Institute of Culinary Education in NYC, says she came up with the idea while working in Manhattan.
"I started making and delivering lunches for the people in my office, and it just took off," she says.
After working in a busy Big Apple restaurant called Montrachet, Cordano realized that the more intimate world of in-home cooking was her true calling.
Although many restaurants deliver prepared meals, Cordano is a chef who actually prepares meals in clients' kitchens. She visits each client's home about once a week (usually while the owners are at work) and prepares 2-3 meals to satisfy every seasonal or ethnic whim and dietary restriction.
"There's something to be said for a house that smells like there's been cooking going on," she says. For contact info, see red-apron.com.
The Baker's Palette is ready for Fridays
Sheila Cervelloni at The Baker's Palette
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINA BALL