Rivertown redux: Scottsville's Bocce reappears in C'ville

Remember Caffe Bocce, the first of the upscale restaurants to start putting the little river town of Scottsville on the maps de cuisine? After a near decade-long hiatus, this upscale nouvelle Italian concept will reappear in downtown Charlottesville.

We bumped into proprietor Christopher Long on Friday morning when he was putting the finishing touches on the space, located in what many locals still call the old Live Arts building. Technically, that's the old Michie Company Building, but it might make equal sense to call it the Isle of Dead Restaurants.

In the first eight years since its conversion from offices to eatery, the compact spot across from City Hall has played host to four restaurants– one of which may have set a short-run record.

The fun began in 2003 with Garden of Sheba and moved on to Boheme and then Asia Specialty. However, the winner in the short-lived restaurant contest was the last to occupy the venue: Carlton's, a French restaurant which opened and closed in the span of two months in the spring of 2011.

"I don't think the location is a determining factor," says an undeterred Long.

He closed his original Caffe Bocce in 2005 and spent the next few years running a restaurant in Rhinebeck, a scenic village north of New York City in Dutchess County.

"I have a love affair with the Hudson Valley and Central Virginia," says Long, who once again resides in Scottsville, where he served as mayor for several years.

Now finding himself commuting by car instead of foot, Long take solace in the fact that the new location, 609 East Market Street, lies on the Scottsville side of Charlottesville.

Long says he plans to "gently" launch his Italian-oriented cuisine on Monday the 19th of November. That means that fans of the old Caffe Bocce can once again appreciate the care his kitchen likes to lavish on fish dishes, as well as his French-inspired sauces.

"But," laughs Long, "we'll have lots of red sauce too."


I loved the Garden of Sheba. Took groups of my students there -- and the ownership and staff was accommodating.

If he closed the restaurant in 2005, and then sent 10 years doing anything then tell me what year it really is now?

I went there once back in '94 I can still recall the french onion soup that joint was off the hook.

@?: This is why the Hook needs a better editor! Thanks for spotting my gaffe in chronology so quickly. Long ran Caffe Bocce for a decade, but I have corrected my above text to better describe how much time has elapsed since Long had a restaurant in Central Virginia. Thanks again.--hawes spencer

Does one have to pay extra to have the Isle of Dead Restaurants tag? Or does verbal verbal albatross come free?

read= "that verbal" albatross indeed

Nobody expects exacting news from an alternative weekly. Go Chris! Best of luck.

I don't think anyone cares about the gossip angle as much as if the food is good. Lemme tell ya they put the cheese on top of the bowls and put them in the broiler OMG! I don't care who bankrolled what gimme that soup son!

Does any local business or any person for that matter want to be written about by The Hook? I think not. Even a nice little article oftens gets filled with vitriolic hate by jealous commenters.

I hope Mr Bocces new restaurant is a raging success. But Mr Spencer's dead restaurant locations point is well made and based on historical reality. There are three or four locations in town where everything comes and goes, like lovers and styles of clothes, as Ms Mitchell said so well.

? To what do you refer exactly? If you refer to my post then you fail to see the intent, which was to pose the question of why jinx a new restaurant with the "valley of the shadow of restaurant death" labeling of the location. I hope Mr. Long does well there in spite of inauspicious augury by the Hook editor.

Lets hope his new place has a good health inspector report...

Should continue..like his place in Scottsville did! Best food and cleanest place I ever enjoyed in Scottsville. Good luck on your new venture!!

It's gotta be better than the Long Street restaurant morgue in the tax'em pro mini shopping mall.

Chris Long is one of the finest of the fine in the dining business. He ran a great place in Scottsville and provided great food at fair prices. When the food or the service was off for some reason beyond Chris's control, he made good on it. He was a leader in the Scottsville community and most generous in support of the town's special projects. His pizza was the best and the rest of the cuisine was even better. For some time, I have lived in Cville and in DC. I'd drive down on a Friday afternoon and would make it a point to head down to Scottsville for dinner. It was always great. I used to own part of a fine dining spot in the area and I am a foodie of the first order. Make sure you support this new venture. Your taste buds and your stomach will thank you. Welcome back Chris, we missed you!

My wife and I followed the Washingtonian's recommendation to dine at Caffe Bocce in Scottsville and we where definitely not disappointed!! Fantastic meal and great time!! Can't wait to visit the new location in Charlottesville. Planning an overnight trip and bringing loads of friends

In addition to their upscale Italian dining, I remember they had the best pizza! They even made their dough from scratch...can't wait to go back! We definitely missed them these past several years!!

So exciting! I can't wait to have the homemade mushroom ravioli again! The pizza is fantastic as well. I hope the ambience and unpretentious vibe is the same now that is in charlottesville. I loved that place and I'm thrilled it's here.