Taste of India replaces Henry's, Carmello's re-opens

Sometime during the second week of August, restaurant owner Assok Kunver plans to bring in an entirely new staff during the grand opening of his fourth restaurant of the Taste of India chain, this one below Vita Nova on the Downtown Mall.

“It’s a family run business, and most of the people working there will be from India and Nepal,” says Kamal Khatri, Kunver's nephew and future manager of the new restaurant.

The Indian restaurant chain has several other locations in Virginia and has been in business for the past four years. Given the restaurant’s success and positive customer feedback, Kunver decided to bring his traditional Indian cuisine to the more urbanized Charlottesville area.

His new establishment will be filling the void Henry’s Restaurant left after closing its doors in their 31st year of business this past May. Henry’s Restaurant co-owner and head chef Debbie Hackett says she and her husband, Henry, closed the “country–style” restaurant not because of financial issues, but merely because the two wanted to retire.

The new Taste of India will offer an extensive menu including a wide range of Indian cuisine and a few dishes with Thai and Nepalese influence. Khatri also promises a lunch buffet and an authentic ambience with friendly service.

Khatri said he is currently working on acquiring an ABC permit allowing the sale of alcohol and finishing up a few minor renovations. He is planning to open for business once Kunver returns to Charlottesville after a short stint in India. –Ben Cooper

Carmello's re-opens
Carmello's has finally re-opened in the old Copacabana in Shoppers World on Route 29. After nearly 20 years at its iconic location on Emmet Street, the Italian restaurant moved to a location on Fontaine Avenue in March 2011. But that location was short-lived, as they closed less than a year later. But, apparently, it's not easy to keep long-time owners Bill Hedges and his chef wife, Stella, down. They've now passed the business on to their daughter Irene and son George, who will return from culinary school in November, and they've renamed the restaurant Carmello's Restaunt and Wine Bar. While Copacabana fans may be a bit disappointed, the upside is that the Carmello's classic menu will remain largely intact, with George and Irene adding their own special touches. So head on over soon for their signature calamari and shrimp pasta. Andiamo!Dave McNair

Dish Mex find in Ruckersville
We were recently informed about a little Mexican place in the Food Lion Shopping Center just south of Ruckersville called Mi Casa. A small bakery used to occupy the tucked away space, but that closed a few years ago. According to Hook reader and foodie Jim McGuire, we're talking hand-made tortillas, chunky guacamole over tender, spiced meats, and it's pretty inexpensive. McGuire says they've only been there a week and a half and already customers are on a first name basis with the owners.

"I don't work for these folks, they aren't paying me, they didn't ask me to contact you or anyone else," says McGuire, "and yet, here I am writing to you to spread the word. When was the last time a meal made you do that?" – Dave McNair 

Shout out to the Lazy Parrot

Apologies to Kevin Kirby and the folks at the Lazy Parrot Grill and the Lazy Parrot Backyard BBQ in the Pantops Shopping Center. In our Annual Manual last week, we incorrectly stated that the Lazy Parrot Backyard BBQ allowed smoking in the restaurant, but of course, as everyone knows, it's the Lazy Parrot Grill just down the way that allows smoking. – Dave McNair


Carmello's is awesome! But I'm not sure I'd use the word "iconic" to describe their previous location. If they had been in the Grand Canyon? Iconic. On top of the Space Needle? Iconic. Underneath the St. Louis Arch? Iconic. You get the idea. That word is so overused it's iconic.

Interestingly enough, the restaurant area soon to be Taste of India was originally an Indian restaurant. The building had been a department store. I'll never forget tasting the hottest curry and lettuce soup in my life at that restaurant!