All. That. Hype.
You’ve heard it. ‘The Skybar.’ Like a whisper in the wind, there has been a buzz surrounding the new business – the Commonwealth Restaurant and Skybar - for months. Maybe you went to check it out this weekend for its opening nights… If you haven’t – plan to.
A passing trend? Executive Chef Alex George can confidently say ‘no.’
A South-American born, French Culinary Institute Chef, George handcrafted the menu of New American fare by creating “new takes on old things.” Previous endeavors include Just Curry, Cinema Taco, and private chef for John Kluge. Now, George is moving up, satisfying his vision of a Commonwealth, or “for the good of all,” in a tangible way.
And that’s just what the restaurant itself lives and breathes – even at just a few days old. It is a dynamic duo, the old and the new, fused together into a soon-to-be Charlottesville staple.
With entirely separate menus for the Commonwealth Restaurant and the Skybar, the two sections of the restaurant represent different aspects of the Commonwealth, and also the fusion of the historical with the contemporary.
However literally you want to take it, it is fact that in 12 months, from conception to opening day, George, partners, and a crew of locals rebuilt the deserted building from the ground up.
The local effort surrounding this business touches every aspect, from the kitchen, to the architecture, to the interior design, to the produce and even the drinks. Local farms include Timbercreek, amFOG, Rock Barn, and Caromont. “The kitchen is full of local guys kicking ass,” said George of Chef de Cuisine Chuck Adcock, Sous Chef Jon Mykich, Head Line Kirk Smith, and Assistant Sous Chef Reggie. And the food proved it.
Architect Marthe Rowen, wife of Craig Barton, UVa Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, brought the vision of the Commonwealth to life — rustic meets modern, and old farm roof-tops meet interior design. The interior includes custom-made U-shaped booths by Jan’s Upholstery, lamps by Alloy Workshop, wood-working by Jeff Barratt, and state-of-the-art, floor to ceiling sliding glass doors by Gaston and Wyatt, just to name a few.
One of the biggest restaurant spaces Downtown, George plans to host many events, with options to rent out part of or the whole rooftop area. Dependent upon inclement weather this coming winter, the Skybar is planned to stay open until January 2nd(We smell a New Years Eve party brewing…), with the help of roof awnings and heaters that will be installed into the structure.
“I’m happy with the direction it’s going,” added George. With final touches going in to the Skybar this week, an outdoor patio under construction, and a full house since opening night – who couldn’t be happy?
If you don’t catch George at his restaurant, it’s probably because he’s catching dinner at Tavola or hiking Carter’s Mountain for a much-needed, and deserved, de-stresser. In Charlottesville since 2006, George values the collaboration of locals, a prevalent and prosperous practice in the Cville business sphere, where businesses are more like neighbors.
So, Cvillians… welcome to the Commonwealth.