Charlottesville Breaking News

What do you think of the Landmark Hotel?

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Danielson's back? Billionaire's backing enthuses Landmark creator


Lee Danielson, the man who sparked a downtown Charlottesville renaissance (along with some battles against business partners), was publicly identified Monday as one of the interested bidders for the unfinished Landmark hotel, as the jurist overseeing the bankrupt 11-story structure sent a "stalking horse" off to pasture.

On March 19, federal bankruptcy judge William E. Anderson, who had set a January 15 deadline for the so-called stalking horse, Milwaukee-based hotelier Timothy James Dixon, declined to accept Dixon's day-earlier proposal to pay $3 million for the towering fiasco. Instead, the judge said at the close of the 2.5-hour hearing, that he wants the building's shell and land auctioned— even if that means entertaining live bidders i...

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Calypso: The Caribbean comes to Emmet Street

Calypso, the new Caribbean restaurant, cafe, and bakery that opened last week, probably has the most secure wine cellar in Charlottesville— the vault left behind by a bank that previously occupied their building at 1709 Emmet Street, right next to Raising Cane's. It was one of two huge vaults (one was taken away for the scrap metal) in the building, which was most recently a Century 21 office, when Mike Taft, a general contractor, and his wife Ghizlaine, who owns a preschool, bought the structure and began renovations last July. 

Today, withdrawals at the drive-thru window consist of gourmet coffee and breakfast items, while inside you'll find a full-service restaurant serving traditional Jamaican and Salvadoran cuisine and home-made pastries for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, courtesy of co-owner and chef Dawn Gonsalves

Gonsalves, who owned a bakery in Lexington called Sweet Treats, says the food will be authentic from the region, which has many influences.

"The Caribbean is a melting pot," says Gonsalves, whose mother owned a restaurant in St. Catherine, Jamaica. "There are people from everywhere."

For instance, the raisins for their ice cream are soaked in rum. In addition to curry and jerk, they'll have fri...

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Roman spring: Bella's readies for Friday opening


The bar will be complete, the tables and chairs set up, and the staff ready to debut Bella's. The Roman cuisine restaurant at 707 West Main Street opens to the public Friday, March 23, and the place was abuzz during the countdown.


"I'm just happy to share Bella's with my fellow Charlottesvillians," says general manager and native son Justin Heilbrun-Toft. "They'll find something Charlottesville doesn't have: authentic Roman Italian."

Owners Douglas Muir and his wife Valeria "Bella" Bisenti aim to provide the intimate, yet family-style dining she grew up with in Rome, with family-size portions available.

So what to order? Specialties recommended by staff include the Calamari Fritti, Zuppa di Pesce, a shrimp-mussels-calamari-clams medley served on fettucine, and Porchetta— pork belly stuffed with fennel, rosemary, sage, and garlic and slow roasted. And start your evening with a Negroni, that classic gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari apertif.

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Goose droppings: Okay to drink the water, officials say

If you live near Crozet, you might want to know that goose-droppings are going into your drinking water. That's the bad news. The good news is that authorities say they're dealing with it.

Beaver Creek Reservoir, the primary water supply for Crozet, is arguably the area's most beautiful body of water with 104 acres set against a Blue Ridge Mountain backdrop to make it popular with anglers, rowers, and picnickers. And another group has discovered its charms: a flock of some six dozen or more Canada geese, who, on a recent February morning, were feeding on grassroots while keeping wary eyes on passersby.

The once-migratory birds have been targeted by the Federal Aviation Administration as a menace since some got sucked into both engines of US Air's Miracle on the Hudson River flight with 155 passengers aboard. Closer to home and more recently, around 90 of the Canada geese residing in the Forest Lakes n...

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