Young Tibetan: Cheese shop and more on Mall

In the swirl of financial troubles that sunk Carmello's, the venerable Italian restaurant that was located for 19 years at its familiar Emmet Street location next to the EconoLodge, the owner's side project, the Downtown Deli on 5th Street on the Downtown Mall, also closed up shop, leaving the renovated space for someone else. Such is the nature of our free market system. One person's misfortune can be another person's opportunity. And such is the case with Lobsang Yongphel, the 22-year old Tibetan refuge who recently opened the C-Ville Cheese Shop in the 5th Street space across from Tempo and the Skybar.

Remarkably, Yongphel moved to the States only three years ago with his mother, older brother, and younger sister (his father had already been in New York City for a number of years) after a stint in India for six years, and quickly got a job at C'ville Oriental, the big Asian supermarket on U.S. 29 north. About two months ago, he launched his very first business. 

"I've always wanted to open my own store," he says, although he's had no previous experience. Basically, he's been a student, studying English and social sciences.

As for the store, well, yes there is a selection of cheeses, along with some Asian products, but don't expect another Feast! Yongphel says the cheese concept will be shorted-lived, and what he'd really like to do is open a full-scale convenience store/sandwich place on the Mall, taking full advantage of the deli set-up that was in place.

"I learned a lot working at C'Ville Oriental," says Yongphel.

Indeed, this young man appears to be a quick learner!

Eat up for the Boys & Girls Club
Restaurant Week is right around the corner, and while delicious meals at bargain prices are understandably on the forefront of people's minds, the July 8-14 event benefits more than hungry stomachs. The chosen charity for this summer’s Restaurant Week, which will receive a portion of all proceeds, is the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Virginia.

The program, with facilities in Albemarle, Charlottesville, Madison and Orange, serves over 1,400 kids and provides not only opportunities for kids to participate in sports, the arts, fitness, education and character development, but also nutrition education, gardening and meals through the summer camp— all for only $35 a year per child.

While choosing the Boys & Girls Clubs as the charity partner for Restaurant Week is a break from tradition in that the nonprofit’s primary mission isn’t centered around hunger, 69 percent of the Clubs' members are on free and reduced lunch.

“In the summertime, especially, parents won’t have to worry as much about their kids eating throughout the day because we provide lunch and then a snack in the evening before their parents pick them up,” says the Clubs' Special Events Director Jen McCallum, who says the Clubs five locations provide more than 13,000 lunches and 102,000 snacks during summer months.

One dollar from every meal purchased during Restaurant Week will go towards the Central Virginia branch. With 54 percent of the Boys and Girls Club operating support and revenue coming from contributions and in kind contributions, the monetary aid from Restaurant Week is a welcome boon.

"There is a constant need for our services, and there are waiting lists for our summer programs," says McCallum. "It will help us maintain and expand our 60-plus programs that cover everything from promoting on-time graduation to healthy living.”

– Laura Wagner