What began as a lunch and snack cafe in the Old Trail Golf Clubhouse has been renovated and expanded into a restaurant that hopes to become one of Crozet’s favorite family spots. Restoration opened May 1 after the space had been closed for a couple of months for remodeling.
Chef Rick Ridge will manage the restaurant on behalf of his partners Kelley Tripp and Andrew Watson, who also run Mellow Mushroom and Boylan Heights restaurants in Charlottesville. About three years ago the group got involved in running food operations at golf courses—they handle Spring Creek Golf Course in Zion Crossroads and Greene Hill Country Club in Stanardsville—and were approached about taking on Old Trail, Ridge said.
“It’s a perfect opportunity for us because we can serve the golf customer plus develop a restaurant that serves the whole community,” he said. “We chose the name because comfort food with family and friends is restorative.
“Ideally, people will realize this is a neighborhood spot. You can drop in and eat on the patio. We had a great turnout right away. We definitely want to be year-round and not seasonal. We want it to stand on its own.”
Australian wormy chestnut wood floors were installed throughout most of the restaurant, including the large windowed room known as the pavilion, which can seat 100. The remodeled main dining room, which seats about 60, is separated by windowed track doors from the bar seating area. The dining room has gray, wainscoted walls, farm-style tables, and new old-fashioned-looking tile floors, giving it a pub feel. Golfers can also come to a snack bar window in the kitchen wall for service. The new design is by Jeanette Andamasauris Interior Design.
“It has a classic and a modern feel,” said Ridge. “It makes the spaces convertible. We can have receptions and retreats or similar events. Designing it has been a collaboration among friends so it’s been meaningful for us.”
Ridge said they would like to improve lighting in the parking lot and around the patio, which seats 50 and which Ridge praised as a good spot for families because children can range on the wide lawn extending from it still in view of their parents.
The menu includes local products such as Crozet monastery cheese and a variety of beers from the four local breweries on tap. “We have the major beers in bottles,” said Ridge. “We mix a solid selection of local beers. They outsell everything. Folks really respond to those here. We want to grow local relationships. We’re going to roll out a cocktail list that will show that.” The wine list likewise features local wines. They also use maple syrup from Highland County and ice cream from Homestead Creamery in Franklin County.
“We’re trying to exceed people’s expectations for what they’re going to get here. You get a real, juicy burger with organic Angus beef,” said Ridge. “We’ve centered the menu around comfort food. What makes it comfort food is the context you get it in. The food is what we are obsessed about. The food is familiar but we differentiate it in the details. It’s all made from scratch. It’s all about what’s in your food. It’s worth the effort and it’s good for you.”
The menu features favorites such as chicken and waffles, barbequed salmon, and shrimp and grits. Restoration makes its own bacon and French fries. They make a bacon jam to add to their burgers. Ridge is joined by chef William Lunsford in the kitchen.
“We’re getting lots of encouragement,” Ridge said. “The first night we opened, the thing that set my heart at ease was that everything on the menu got ordered. The menu doesn’t have any black sheep. That was deeply satisfying.
“We thought about what the Crozet community and what people here would want. It’s priced fairly and the quality is up there where you want to come back.”
Restoration is open for lunch every day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and serves dinner on Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 10 p.m. and on Sundays from 5 to 9 p.m.
“We’re working on quality and training, so we’ve limited our hours until we’re ready. We’ll add Thursday dinner soon.”
The restaurant is comfortable with large groups and takes reservations, Ridge said.