Sandwiches not shelves

C’ville Coffee Company has been serving coffee and treats to parents and tots, students and business people since it opened in November 2000. But now, the family friendly coffee shop has added a full line of gourmet sandwiches featuring bread from Albemarle Baking Company and Boar’s Head meats.
    When owners Toan Nguyen and Betsy Patrick opened C’ville Coffee in the Allied Business Park on Harris Road just off McIntire, some folks claimed the industrial location meant the business would never fly. Nguyen and Patrick have proved those naysayers wrong.
The new sandwich menu may be further proof of C’ville Coffee’s success. It features deli sandwiches including top picks such as the Blue Bayou, roast beef on an olive oil baguette with blue cheese spread, red onions, horseradish sauce, lettuce and tomato; and the Berry Turkey, maple turkey on country white bread with brie, mayonnaise, cranberry sauce, and lettuce.
Nguyen and Patrick make the sandwiches themselves in the new kitchen, constructed in the back of the space over the past four months. Customers will continue to place orders at the front of the shop, then pick up their food at a window in the rear.
The couple recently closed down their other business, Shelf Life, a custom shelving and craft boutique which shared the C’ville Coffee space, because, Nguyen says, “We couldn’t focus on three things at once and do them all well.” Eventually, he says, the former Shelf Life space will be stocked with tables to serve as a “quiet area” for people having lunch meetings or for those who’d prefer to be further away from the rambunctious little ones.

Water Street dining takes new direction

Some brave souls are preparing to take possession of the former Petra spot on Water Street, according to a recently posted ABC sign on the front door.
    Restaurant watchers will recall that the space housed The Silver Fox, a gay and lesbian bar, then Farruggio’s, a family-style Italian spot, before Petra: An American Bistro took over in 2000. Neither business made it longer than two years, a fact Dish attributes to the small frontage and the big-name neighbors, Oxo, Metropolitain, and Mono Loco.
    But hope springs eternal, and perhaps this time will be the charm. According to the sign, the new business’ name is East to West, and it will be run by the husband and wife team of Stephanie Nixon and Justin Martin.
    We caught up with Nixon just before presstime, and learned just what direction East to West will take.
    Nixon explains that they’re “freshening it up” to give it “a fun atmosphere” that’ll be slightly more casual than its predecessor. Prices will be in the mid-range, and the international menu will feature western-style dishes (meat with side veggie and side starch) with an Asian influence.
    A UVA grad, Nixon, 25, most recently worked as general manager of Mono Loco, just a few steps up Water Street. She’ll continue in that role at East to West, and will leave the cooking to her 24-year-old husband Martin, who was chef at Mono Loco. (We were hoping Nixon would tell us “I am not a cook,” but for some reason it just didn’t happen.)
    As for the location’s none-too-stellar history, Nixon says, “I don’t think it’s the space. We’re really excited about it.”
    Since both Martin and Nixon have worked on the same block, they’re friendly with the neighboring restaurants so Nixon anticipates a “fun level of competition.”
    We say, bring it on!