Charlottesville Breaking News

St. Maarten Café set to re-open

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, 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...

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Toasty trio: Three Charlottesville fireplaces worth visiting

Ol’ man Winter has given Central Virginians a break, but we still have to get through March before dogwoods bloom, so chances are good a bitter wind will blow a little more snow and ice our way.

And you know how the song goes: “When the weather outside is frightful, the fire is so delightful….”

Thanks to cracked chimneys and flues, fireplaces are out this year in University of Virginia Lawn rooms, and I hear the Boar’s Head Inn is converting some guest room fireplaces to the gas-fed variety. Plenty of local restaurants offer those, too, but frankly, they’re just not the real thing.

So just where can you go in Charlottesville for an authentic winter fireplace experience?

Here are three of my favorites.  Perhaps Hook readers will know of some others.

Dürty Nelly's Pub & Wayside Deli
2200 Jefferson Park Avenue

A half dozen bar stools and a handful of tables line the intimate and dimly-lit aisle that comprises the larger part of Dürty Nelly’s Pub, a Jefferson Park Avenue establishment that shares a building with the JPA FasMart convenience store and Nelly’s own Wayside Deli dining room.

If the general population may recognize the pub more as a directional landmark than a great place to belly up to a hot fire, Fry’s Spring neighborhood residents like John Anderson know better. Anderson tends the fire as reliably as “Ms. Sherry�...

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FunStuff: Charlottesville events March 1 and beyond

Art interactive
Thanks to artist Daniel Canogar, Second Street Gallery will be turned into an audio-visual experience not to be missed. Using discarded electronic materials from our throw society, such as computer cables, telephone wires, and DVDs, Canogar creates interactive sculptures that mimic our tissues, nervous systems, and brains. The show is called "Reboot" and will be up during the entire month of March.
March 2, Second Street Gallery, 5:30-7:30pm. Free



Art & Poetry
At The Garage on First Street, the gallery and music space beside Hill & Wood funeral home, you'll find a collection of photographs and poetry by Margaret Montague and Abigail Lee, whose exhibition "Material" explores the ideal of success and the pursuit...

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Missing Huguelys: And other damaging would-be witnesses

There couldn't have been a more critical moment in the life of George W. Huguely V, and one of his parents wasn't there to see it.

After a trial that lasted more than two weeks and jury deliberations that spanned more than nine hours, at just before 6:45pm on Wednesday, February 21, a light-bulb signaling a verdict illuminated, prompting a panicked flurry of tweets from reporters and bringing courtwatchers scurrying back to Charlottesville Circuit Court....

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Staved off: Cracker Barrel bypasses Fifth Street

The red dirt out by the Holiday Inn on Fifth Street has recently been raising some eyebrows. But what won't be raised anytime soon is the developer's intended target: the combination southern foodery and gift shop concept that has over 600 locations in 42 states.

"Cracker Barrel was supposed to go there," says developer Katurah Roell. "But they decided Charlottesville was not enough town for them. They said college towns don't normally perform well for them."

Roell, perhaps best known as the man proposing a Downtown Mall-sized complex in downtown Crozet, says he spent six months negotiating with Cracker Barrel and getting positive signals from County government before the company took a pass.

"We have locations in college towns across the country," says Cracker Barrel spokesperson Jeanne Ludington naming such celebrated cities as State College, Gainesville, Bloomington, and Madison. Home to Randolph College, Liberty University, and the appropriately named Lynchburg College, the Virginia college city of Lynchburg also has a Cracker Barrel.

While declining to reveal reasons for passing any particular site, Ludington noted such factors as visibility, access, pricing, and proximity to existing Cracker Barrel...

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Editor's Note
4Better Or Worse