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Patriot’s displaced: Arby’s reclaims its name

by Dave McNair

dish-arbys-signArby’s has reclaimed its restaurant at Forest Lakes.

Forest Lake’s Arby’s owner Tom Slonaker has finally left the building. According to Emmet’s Street Arby’s manager Ginger Herdon, the same company that owns her restaurant has purchased the building from Slonaker, who recently renamed his Arby’s A Patriot’s Place after a dispute with the Arby’s franchise over what kind of food he could offer.

Slonaker, a flamboyant businessman with a Libertarian bent, had repeatedly defied a County zoning ordinance prohibiting commercial flags (an ordinance that has been in place since 1969) by hoisting an Arby’s flag in front of his restaurant, along with signs for another business he owns. Later, he claimed the sign ordinance was enforced unevenly against businesses along 29 North, and he filed a civil suit against the county with the help of the Rutherford Institute, which argued that Slonaker’s First Amendment rights were being trampled upon. But last year a judge ruled that Slonaker had violated the sign ordinance and slapped him with $1,000 fines for several violations.

After tearing the Arby’s signs off the side of his building in November, Slonaker replaced them with illuminated American flags and renamed the restaurant, claiming he wanted A Patriot’s Place to become a place to eat good American food and learn about the words and the ideals of the founding fathers.

“This country, this town is so divided,” said Slonaker, who organized a Tea Party event at the restaurant before the mid-term elections. “I hope this new concept conveys to people that we have to come together to fix the problems of this country.”

However, he may have also been struggling. “If I’m going to lose money,” he added, “I might as well do it on my own terms.”

Apparently, Slonaker decided to take care of his own problems instead. The businessman could not be immediately reached for comment, as the phone number for his other local business, Cville Inflatables, which rents festive backyard jump-and-play structures, simply cut off when we tried to call. The website for Cville Inflatables is also no longer active.

But Dish thinks this isn’t the last we’ve heard of Mr. Slonaker.

12th Street Taphouse tapped out

by Hawes Spencer

news-snap-taphouseThe restaurant was less than two years old.

Tara Wheeler of the Charlottesville Newsplex first reported that the restaurant/bar/comedy club known as the 12th Street Taphouse has shut its doors. Known for its 20-ounce “pints” of beer, it opened in early 2009 on West Main Street by former chef and part owner of nearby Michael’s Bistro, Chuck Adcock.

The building, now largely surrounded by the growing UVA Medical Center, long housed a string of familiar restaurants, including— in reverse chronological order— Spry’s BBQ, Northern Exposure, Zipper’s, and Expresso International (yes, ex-presso), which later became the Italian Villa on Emmet Street.

According to Adock, the four months of utility work in 2009 for the massive Barry and Bill Battle Building at UVA Children’s Hospital, which will rise on the temporary parking lot beside the 12th Street Taphouse, put the restaurant in too much debt.

“We just couldn’t recover,” he says.

If that was the case, the odds of building owner/music magnate Coran Capshaw— who financed the Taphouse’s renovation work— finding a new tenant doesn’t look promising, considering the fact that the next phase of hospital construction involves raising a $141 million, 7-story, 200,000 square-foot building right next door over the next four years.

Bourbon brew at Blue Mountain

by Dave McNair

dish-taylorandcrewYou lookin’ for beer, Mister? The boys at Blue Mountain Brewery, from left to right, Chad Dean, Matt Nucci, and Taylor Smack got some.

The bad boys at Blue Mountain Brewery are shown here racking a new batch of Dark Hollow, the imperial stout aged in charred oak bourbon barrels. They’ve got it on tap now, and the bottled version should be available in mid-January. And watch out, this whiskey-tinged brew packs a wallop in alcohol by volume, or ABV. One batch, aged in Jim Beam Double Black bourbon barrels, tips the ABV meter at 10 percent. Arrgg, matie!

Good-bye, Albemarle Place. Hello, Trader Joe’s?

by Dave McNair

onarch-stonefieldAlbemarle Place has now become Stonefield, but the big vision for a commercial and residential village is still the same.

If you’re one of those who bet that Albemarle Place, the mega-village to be built on 65 acres behind the 7-Eleven on Hydraulic Road that was approved in 2003, would never get built, well, you’d have won that bet, technically.

During a work session and presentation before the County Board of Architectural Review on Monday, January 3 representatives from Edens & Avant, the Columbia, South Carolina-based development company that took over the project, unveiled a plan to scrap the Albemarle Place name and call it Stonefield.

Edens & Avant reps could not be immediately reached for comment, so it’s unclear why the company decided to change the name. However, if the problems and bad publicity that have plagued the project are any indication—the change in developers, the discovery that the aging sewage infrastructure the development would hook into, politely called the Meadowcreek Interceptor, didn’t have the needed capacity (that’s in the process of being replaced at a cost of $24.5 million, and should be completed by August 2011), the economic downturn, and the simple fact that the name “Albemarle Place” has been attached to a non-existent place for so long—it’s not hard to guess why.

As already revealed, the development will feature (more)

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Patriot’s displaced: Arby’s reclaims its name

Arby’s has reclaimed its restaurant at Fo...



Patriot's displaced: Arby's reclaims its name

Arby’s has reclaimed its restaurant at Fo...

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