Like many C-villians, our P+K crew pines for weekends. When we wisely choose to spend one living life in lieu of life maintenance chores (and manage to get out of working), we open ourselves up to the ridiculously wide range of options this gem of a town and region offer. It’s overwhelming AF. With this embarrassing wealth of opportunity comes a first-world challenge—tread the path you know or branch out to new adventures? To expand our horizons on the latter, we decided to tap the community of dynamic industry pros in Charlottesville for their picture of the ideal weekend and make a series out of it.
Welcome to Weekenders, which will aim to answer the question:
If you had one perfect weekend to spend in Cville, what would you do?
If you’ve ever descended the charming, rickety staircase to log time at C&O’s bar, you know the setting is not just a place to enjoy legit food and drink -- it’s where you go to be on the lam. This 40-year-old room, framed with antique barn wood, is where you hide out and spend a few hours off the grid, which can be easier said than done sometimes. Then, after a few sips on an Old Pal, the tension begins to run out of your neck and you start buying stock in the concept of being untethered because it seems to suit you just fine. You could get used to this. Next, out of habit, you glance at the palm of your hand, start swiping the thumb, as if trained by Mister Miyagi, and kill the whole vibe because no matter where you seek refuge, you’ll always be digital’s bitch.
Lucky for you, behind the bar stands the analog hero Charlotteville needs, not the one it deserves -- Anthony Restivo.
This old soul, with his wicked smarts and soothing tone, looks out for your mind while you do damage to your body. He’s basically the 16th Century English Romanticism professor you intellectually crushed on in college, the one you wished you could spend hours with drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and waxing on Wordsworth in lieu of so many keg parties. Thanks to his lovely anecdotes on literature, any genre of music or film and everything vintage gear, we always feel a little smarter walking out than we did walking in, dead brain cells and all.
The only digital breadcrumbs we can find about Anthony are snippets of blog posts we’ve written and this Angel Olsen video, which he produced (dig his cameo at 8:25).
We recommend saddling up to Anthony’s bar sometime, keeping your phone holstered and striking up a conversation. Who knew, after all, that one of the most cultured experiences in Cville goes down in a watering hole?
Friday evening, Anthony will catch some live music at the Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. There is usually a weird act that appeals to the clientele which is made up mostly of lovable, spacey tea nerds and degenerate, sincere cats. You grab a pot of tea, order something light from the no-frills vegetarian menu and ride it all out on a couch. The sound quality is often shit but there’s something so real about the whole experience. Plus it’s like the last bastion of opposition to the Coran Capshaw empire so feels good to support them.
After the show, he’ll stroll over to Lampo for a late dinner. He has history with those guys from the Tavola days and respects the hell out of their bottomless passion and thoughtful execution. Their pizza is some of the best he's had, and as far as he's concerned, they’re in their own league when it comes to the meat program. He’ll order whatever vegetarian special is being offered (digs the escarole dish), olives, roasted cauliflower, all the meats and cheeses and a Margherita pizza.
Saturday morning it’s grab and go home. Anthony will fetch pastries from Marie Bette (where else?) and a bag of Old World Espresso from Shenandoah Joe’s. He brews on the Bialetti and slow rolls into the day.
Eventually he’ll roam into town and visit his favorite used bookstores: Daedalus, New Dominion and Blue Whale. He lives for getting lost in these places. Lately he is tracing and poring over the evolution of Brazilian poet and novelist Hilda Hist. He could light the way for us down that twisted rabbit hole but advises it would take more than a weekend.
At some point he’ll catch a late lunch at La Michoacana Taqueria and get José to feign yelling at him or at least throw a stern look or two. Usual suspects on his order of tacos: tongue, cabrito (goat) and maybe a mulita. If you want the legitimate Mexican-style here, he suggests asking for ‘total Mexicano’ when you order.
Later he might hit an early show at the Magnolia House. It’s this large home over at 10th and Preston comically referred to as a DIY music venue. These bizarre acts ranging from experimental jazz to metal to just noise will play in the cramped living room of the house. The extent of publicity for these is generally handbills. It’s so perfect and weird.
Post show he’ll stop at Riverside Lunch to get busy with a double smash burger, fried pickles and a fries/onion rings basket. It feels so great to feel so terrible.
A long leisurely breakfast at Tip Top is in order. Diner style service - snippy and gritty - is a lost art that you get back in touch with upon walking through this time warp. There was a server named Miss Piggy who rocked the tallest bun on her head and liked to say, “The higher the hair, the closer to God.” The patrons span so many decades here, so needless to say the people-watching is prime. The menu is loaded with throwback greasy spoon fare.
He loves to cook Sunday nights, and most nights for that matter. A regular at his table is Ful - an old Egyptian fava bean dish that you find in Syria, Jerusalem, and port towns along the African Coast. He takes it with lots of garlic. Afghan Grand Market on the sleepy stretch of West Main is where he stocks up for this staple dish and other supplies. The selection of authentic Middle Eastern pantry items is expansive, and you’d be surprised at how much time you want to spend roaming the aisles. And many don’t know this but in back is one of the best butchers around. Rahim, the owner, is all heart and always quick to offer you a cup of tea to sip on while you shop.
Editor's Note: Anthony's weekend agenda was written by P+K after a sit down with him. The content is a mashup of quotes and paraphrase pulled from chicken scratched notes.