Charlottesville Breaking News
As you might have already heard, Siips Wine & Champagne Bar closed on February 19 after four years on the Downtown Mall. Siips was known for its impressive wine offerings, music, and art events, and creative marketing– they featured celebrity guest bartenders and once held a happy hour for dogs (and their owners) called Yappy Hour to raise money for the SPCA.
Owner George Benford, and his wife, Pat, informed customers via email that they had sold their "beloved" restaurant to a local restauranteur with "big plans for the space."
That would be Andy McClure and company, owner of such powerhouses as The Virginian, The Biltmore, No.3, and West Main. Although nothing is set in stone yet, a representative of McClure's restaurant group tells the Hook that the new place is tentatively called the Union Burger Bar, and will likely be "upscale, modern, have lots of TVs, hundreds of beers, and have lots of local products."
Of course, all that could change, as plans to open are at least a few months out. As the restaurant group rep said, "It's very early in the process." Stay tuned.
Former County police officer Sean M. Horn, who arrested and charged with rape on January 5, was scheduled to appear in court Monday, February 27, but the preliminary hearing in the case has been rescheduled, again.
Horn, 42, has been charged in an alleged Thanksgiving Day weekend rape in 2011, "accomplished through the use of the victim's mental incapacity or physical helplessness," according to an arrest warrant. Police have said the arrest follows a "thorough investigation."
Because the case is being handled in Albemarle County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, and Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Darby Lowe said that there was an "adult victim" in the alleged rape, it's possible that the victim is a family member.
On January 6, Judge Dwight Johnson granted a motion by the defense to bar media from the bond hearing due to concerns about pre-trial publicity, something Hook legal expert David Heilberg said is "very rarely imposed."
At the time of his arrest, Horn was a Reserve Deputy with the Albemarle County Sheriff's Office. His boss, Albemarle County Sheriff J.E. "Chip" Harding, said the charge made it necessary to decommission Horn, but cautioned people about jumping to conclusions and said that Horn had "served well."
"Give our justice system ample opportunity to hear all the facts before re...
When St. Maarten Café abruptly closed at the end of January after 26 years, the outpouring of nostalgia and grief was immediate. A Friends of St. Maarten Café Facebook group had 350 members by 6pm on the day this news was reported at readthehook.com, and some of those commenting describe bursting into tears at hearing the news. The following day, a vigil was held outside the door of the restaurant, with people leaving flowers and cards. Owners Jim and Lisa Roland, who finally chose to retire, said they were stunned by the reaction.
Today, the Facebook group has 795 members.
And now there's some more stunning news. Thanks to a group of long-time patrons and investors, St. Maarten will reopen.
"We always used to joke about how we should all get together and buy the place," says Tim Mulholland, a Charlottesville-based information technology executive, who, along with four fellow members of the UVA Trigon Engineering Society's alumni network, partnered with recent St. Maarten managers Russ and Nicole Hamilton. The New St. Maarten Trading Company LLC closed on the sale of the restaurant last week.
"It's nice we can come in and keep it the same old place," says Russ Hamilton. "It's nice to take over the legacy."
Mulholland says that dedicated St. Maarten fan...