Charlottesville Breaking News

Atelier de Cuisine: Burgess and Derquenne define The Space

The recent decision by the X Lounge to curtail its operating schedule to instigate more private parties heightens the mystique around another downtown restaurant space, one that although it closed in 2004 still evokes intrigue as the place that the New York Times once called a "deciding factor" for anyone considering a move to Charlottesville, a place that has become a kind of chef's atelier for the two men who transformed the downtown food scene back in 1991.

Chefs Tim Burgess and Vincent Derquenne opened Métropolitain in the old Fat City Diner 21 years ago. Today, the second home of "Metro," on Water Street, is well into its second year as The Space Downtown, Charlottesville's only restaurant reserved exclusively for private parties.

Following the post-9/11 economic downturn and the downtown restaurant boom they helped launch, chef/owners Burgess and Derquenne made the painful decision to close "Metro" in 2004, which had moved to architect-designed digs on Water Street in 1995. They had attempted to...

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Fridays kicks off: Free concert series features lots o' locals

It's been warm so long it might look like summer to you, but in fact, spring is just now sprung, and there's no surer sign than the kick-off of Fridays After Five. The free concert series that brings throngs to the east end of the Downtown Mall at the start of every weekend kicks off April 20 with '80s cover band Love Canon, and from there, the good times keep rolling with local favorites and a few newcomers to the series, too.

"This is the 25th anniversary season, so we've tried to pull some of the older, more popular bands that have done great for us over the years but still mixing in some of the up and comers," says Pavilion honcho Kirby Hutto.

Hutto himself has particular reason to look forward to catching the shows. A diagnosis of tongue cancer back in January forced the Pavilion boss to undergo treatments, but he has good news.

"Doctors think they've kicked it," he says, noting that after one final surgery in May, he expects to be considered cancer free– and ready to rock.

There'll be plenty of Friday shows to choose from, including Skip Castro on May 4, Baaba Seth and Indecision on June 8 and 15, respectively, and Terri Allard on June 29. Plus Richmond-based The English Channel will make you feel like you've crossed the pond on June 22 with covers of songs by the Clash, the Beatles, the Cure, and all your English faves. The Fridays After Five season lasts until the second Friday of September, and Hu...

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X Lounge retools, Buck's Elbow Pub goes public

Four years ago, when the Hook asked whether Charlottesville might be "New Yorkifying," a $10 martini at the trendy X Lounge was a key trend indicator. Indeed, when the multi-leveled restaurant/bar outfitted in steel and glass opened in 2006, it immediately erupted as a hip addition to the urban scene. A review in Virginia Law Weekly declared that "NYC-cool has finally arrived in the 'ville." Like NYC, the place even banned smoking before the Virginia ban.

Recently, though, the X Lounge has announced that it would be open to the public for dinner only on Friday and Saturday nights, reserving its space the rest of the week for private parties. So what's up?

The Hook contacted X Lounge representative for the owners (Francois Bladt and Kari Legault ), J.F. Legault, who said a personal family emergency has temporarily taken the focus off the restaurant, and he downplays the schedule change.

"We will be closed until Friday this week for a main drain line maintenance," he says. "That's it."

However, the restaurant's voicemail gives callers only two non-group dining options: Friday and Saturday. And a reporter noticed the place closed on a Tuesday back in mid-March....

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Takin' the 5th: Peyton Williams wants cousin's job

Campaign workers are meeting in the living room of the house Peyton Williams' great aunt built off JPA in the the 1930s. A reporter and photographer appear. Cars need to be moved so a volunteer can get out of the driveway and make it to an event. In short, it's a bit chaotic.

And as a man who's retired from two different careers, Williams could certainly be taking it easy, rather than trying to take the 5th Congressional District away from the man who holds it now, his second cousin once removed, Robert Hurt.

It was the House bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, that motivated Williams enough to consider a run for Congress as a Democrat. As did the intransigence of the House of Representatives, he says, which has stalled any significant legislation on topics Americans say they care most about: jobs and the economy.

"Why are you not doing what we elected you to do?" Williams rhetorically asks Cousin Robert, a Republican. "They continue to just say no."

This is Williams' first run for political office, and Hurt is way ahead of him there after Congressional incumbency and several terms in the General Assembly. Williams has had a distinguished career in government nonetheless. A member of the Army's Special Forces, he worked at the Pentagon before retiring in 1999 as a lieutenant colonel, and his second career was serving as a systems engineer for Lockheed Ma...

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FunStuff: Charlottesville events April 12 and beyond

TJ's b-day

Happy birthday to youuuuuu. Happy birthday to youuuuuuuuuuuu! Happy Birthday, dear TJ... It's Thomas Jefferson's 269th birthday! Even if America's third president can't be here in person to celebrate, there's a par-tay at his house this day, and the featured speaker is Jessica Tuchman Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and recipient of the 2012 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Citizen Leadership. TJ sends his sincere regrets, we're sure...
April 13, Monticello, 10-11am, free



Ooohs, ahhhs, and yum!

Whether you prefer candy for your eyes or your mouth, you'll find something satisfying at the PVCC Annual Student Show and Seventh Annual Chocolate Chow Down...

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