Charlottesville Breaking News

Mall madness: Roof-top views, new deli, fancy Asian, pastries, and kabobs

On a recent stroll around the Downtown Mall we were struck by all the new restaurant activity: four new places have either opened or are in the works.

On Second Street, in the tiny space where Marco & Luca's dumplings got started, owner Sun Da has opened Nicola's Chicken Kabobs, which was known for a short time as Nicola's Veggies. Tender chicken on skewers is served with hot pepper, curry, and sesame seeds on a bed of lettuce for a quick hot bite to eat. That makes the fourth eatery that Da and his wife, Dragana Katalina-Sun, have opened, including the Mall location in York Place, a place on Elliewood Avenue on the Corner, in the Seminole Square Shopping Center, and now a return to Second Street.

Farther up the Mall, renovation progresses on the Commonwealth Restaurant & Skybar, which has involved an extensive makeover of the old A&N building, where landlord Gabe Silverman had trouble finding a longtime tenant.  

Back in February, Alex George, former owner of Just Curry and form...

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Rodney's role: 'I am not a wheeler dealer'

Rodney Thomas is mad. It's one day after a prominent blogger has accused the Albemarle supervisor of agreeing to "grease the skids" for the construction of the Western U.S. 29 bypass by limiting access to the rest of 29.

"That's a bunch of baloney," says Thomas. He called up blogger Jim Bacon to let him know he didn't appreciate his August 10 Bacon's Rebellion story, "Gentleman's Agreement," that contends Thomas made a handshake deal to limit stoplights, median crossings, and driveways on Albemarle's portion of U.S. 29 in exchange for $230 million in funding for the Western 29 bypass and U.S. 29 widening, along with money for completion of Hillsdale Drive, the Best Buy Ramp at U.S. 29/250, Berkmar Drive extension, and the Belmont Bridge replacement.

(Bacon considered Thomas' reaction in a followup column, "When does a deal become a side deal?")

"There is no deal," says Thomas.

Limiting access– or access management, as it's called– is already in place with future access to 29 controlled by VDOT, says Thomas. Not creating any more bottlenecks like stoplights and median crossovers seems a reasonable expectation to keep traffic moving.

Yet the fact remains that, along with fellow freshman supe Duane Snow, a...

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Scalped: Dave & Tim show drew some 'cockroaches'

So you wanted tickets to the sold-out Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds show on Saturday August 20 at the nTelos Pavilion? You could still get them even a day before the concert, but you might have paid a pretty penny more than the $50 per ticket most concertgoers paid. On Craigslist, for instance, one website–– had a variety of seats available ranging from the low $400s up to nearly $800. One ebay listing brought in $1,500 for two VIP tickets– more than twice their $300 apiece face value.

According to Pavilion GM Kirby Hutto, scalping– when tickets are sold by a third party, most often for a profit– is an increasing problem at the Pavilion, thanks in part to the ever-higher-profile nature of the acts coming to Charlottesville.

"The whole scalping world has just exploded over the last few years," says Hutto, who notes that unlike D.C., Virginia has no laws prohibiting the resale of tickets, no matter how high the profit margin. That leaves Virginia venues without much recourse, says Hutto, noting that if a scalper mentions the actual seat number in an online ad, the Pavilion may cancel the ticket and then resell it. Most scalpers, however, are craftier than that and list only the section or row of the tickets they're listing, making it nearly impossible to determine which tickets are being sold fraudulently.

Even if you have hundreds of dollars to spend, buying a ticket from a third-party seller is r...

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How do you like the look of the new Trader Joe's?

Click here for image of Trader Joe's.

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Feel good? 'Help' glosses over pain of Jim Crow

The Help is a safe film about a volatile subject. Presenting itself as the story of how African-American maids in the South viewed their employers during Jim Crow days, it is equally the story of how they empowered a young white woman to write a best-seller about them, and how that book transformed the author's mother. We are happy for the two white women, and a third, but as the film ends it is still Jackson, Miss., and Ross Barnett is still governor.

Still, this is a good film, involving and wonderfully acted. I was drawn into the characters and quite moved, even though all the while I was aware it was a feel-good fable, a story that deals with pain but doesn't care to be that painful. We don't always go to the movies for searing truth, but more often for reassurance: Yes, racism is vile and cruel, but hey, not all white people are bad. Full review.

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