Charlottesville’s food scene is gaining a new restaurant today, which will be led by nationally recognized executive chef Joe Wolfson. Renewal, a modern, eclectic restaurant featuring a trend-setting menu, is now open for business. The restaurant is within walking distance of the UVA Medical Center on West Main Street and is part of the newly opened The Draftsman hotel, which stands 11-stories high with 150 rooms in the heart of Charlottesville.
Wolfson has spent his career reinventing different cuisines and gathering industry accolades. He has been nominated by Food and Wine Magazine and CNN.com as “People’s Best New Chef in America” and he competed on Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay.” He was a featured chef for “Outstanding in the Field” festival, which has featured James Beard award winners and Michelin starred chefs. He aims to marry his own creative vision and instincts with the wealth of fresh ingredients from Charlottesville area farms. And with strong foundations in southern cuisine and French technique, he seeks simplicity in Renewal’s “elevated Southern” menus.
“If you have an amazing tomato, let it be an amazing tomato,” said Wolfson. “There is nothing to hide behind when food is simple. Every component must be executed perfectly or it will fall flat.”
For Wolfson and the team behind Renewal, simplicity and “farm-to-table” are not buzzwords – they are gospel. The menu will change regularly, ensuring that the dishes star the freshest ingredients from surrounding farms. Wolfson is no stranger to this hand-in-hand relationship with local farmers. While working at Ham and High in Montgomery, Alabama, Wolfson sourced every ingredient except flour and oil from the surrounding farms. “I rode a 4-wheeler to the farms to see what was looking best that day and I’d build our menu around it. I am excited to help strengthen the whole Charlottesville community through our relationships with the farmers.”
Wolfson will bring a variety of tastes of Charlottesville into Renewal by featuring local bakeries, coffee roasters, breweries, wineries and more. The full bar will also offer a self-serve beer wall with 36 rotating beers on tap. Beer lovers will love the flexibility and exploration of buying beer by the ounce, just swiping a reloadable card as they discover new favorites from around the region. “Renewal is all about crafting your own unique experience. And we plan to deliver that through our dynamic menu and our Southern hospitality,” said Wolfson.
The restaurant, like the hotel, will have modern, upscale design. The 5,000 square foot space boasts a 50-foot long wall of windows that open accordion-style to the outdoor patio. Renewal will also be in charge of room service and will cater all weddings and special events held at the hotel.
Renewal’s commitment to local farms and seasonality reinforces the Draftsman’s mission to put a delightful and luxurious spin on Virginia’s heritage. The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.