We blew it last week, when we announced the new gas station and eatery opening April 1 on Pantops. It will be a Liberty gas station, owned by Virginia Oil, says Stu Rifkin, consultant for the project, whose words we mangled in our previous column. (We originally reported it would be an Exxon, which is operated by Tiger Fuel). The name of the 80-seat, nearly 7,000 square-foot establishment: Everyday Café.
In addition to salads and wraps made-to-order, and pizza (on focaccia from Albemarle Baking Company, so you know it’ll be tasty), Rifkin says the 24 flavors of gelato made in-house should be a powerful draw (as should the beer and wine served on premises).
And for those customers who need to pump and run, the 24 pumping stations (that’s eight more than even the massive Sheetz in Ruckersville) should keep drivers rolling through, maybe even every day.
The contender falls
Alas, in the battle for dining dominance on Water Street… there can be only three contenders.
The latest to vie for the Water Street crown, Petra, was unable to muscle in on the competition— OXO, Metropolitain, and Mono Loco. After only a year and a half, the doors of Petra have closed, the mahogany barstools gathering dust in the dark. We were unable to reach owner Eric Garcia for a comment, but we knew things would be tough there, since it was the closing of a previous inhabitant, the family-style Italian place Faruggio’s, that paved the way for Petra.
“What’s going on over at the Emmet Street Dunkin’ Donuts?” an enquiring mind wanted to know earlier this week. A quick drive over to the spot answered the question. The generic label “Coffee and Donut Shop,” has replaced the pink and orange Dunkin Donuts sign in the crowded row starting at the Exxon station at the corner of Emmet and Barracks Road.
Inside the donut shop, all references to Dunkin’ Donuts have been removed as well, and an employee who identified himself only as Jack revealed that the cost to carry the franchise name had proved too burdensome for the new owner. “We can do the exact same thing but not use the name,” he said.
As for the new name, Jack says he believes it will stay. Well, at least it’s descriptive!
As advertised on the new sign, the shop still offers coffee and glistening racks of donuts, and no change (other than the missing sign) was immediately apparent. (After eating three, we can say they taste about the same, too.)
Though we left a note and a phone message for the owner, we didn’t hear from him by press time.
A spokesperson at Dunkin’ Donuts’ Randolph, Massachusetts, headquarters didn’t have any information on the local store but did direct us to the Dunkin Donuts/Baskin-Robbins/Togo’s website (all three are owned and operated by the same company). The shocking news we learned there may explain why the local shop owner told DD to take a hike. Just to open a single Dunkin Donuts franchise in Albemarle or the eight other Virginia areas available (including Greene County), an applicant must have liquid assets of $300,000 and net assets of $600,000. If we had that money, we can think of a few other things we’d do with it…