Three Notch’d Grill in north downtown, for a decade Crozet’s idea of its top-flight place to eat out, shut down August 20 after a short notice of its intention to close.
“The last two weeks were crazy,” said Cathy Berry, front of the house boss. “Ever since we posted the closing on Facebook so many people came in to show they love us. We got a lot of loving.”
“Almost too much,” threw in Hayden Berry, the chef.
It was their clean up day and the restaurant, typically tidy, handsome and clean, looked like a moving out day. They were getting ready to turn over the space to its new tenant, Southern Way Café.
Three Notch’d opened on Oct. 11, 2005, Hayden remembered. “Old Trail had a road but no houses.
“Restaurant years are like dog years,” he said. “Ten years is like a 100.” The pace, the hours, had piled up.
The couple had been in the kitchen at Duner’s Restaurant in Ivy for 17 years when the chance to go out on their own in Crozet came open.
“An opportunity arose,” said Cathy. “We wanted to try. We’re history buffs and that’s how we came up with the name.” Three Notch’d Road, named for the blaze marks on trees, was a colonial route from Richmond to the Valley that followed established Indian trails.
“We wanted, initially, to be a little downscale from Duner’s,” which bills itself as “casual fine dining.”
“We wanted to cook food we wanted to eat,” Hayden said. “One day it would be Cajun and the next day it would be classic French.” In the end, he said, the cuisine was “mixed American grill” and the atmosphere was “casual fine dining.”
“It’s been 30 years in kitchens,” explained Hayden. “The hours, the demands have always been a problem. It’s hard to staff a restaurant in the Charlottesville area. There are like 240. It’s hard for everybody.
“We want more of a life for ourselves. We’ve missed a lot of milestones along the way and now we have aging parents.” Hayden graduated from Western in 1985. “We’ve watched some kids grow up here.” Now he’s moving his folks into a retirement community.
“We’re not retiring, but we’re taking a break. We might get back in the restaurant business in the future.”
“It was harder—almost overwhelming—to close the restaurant than it was to open it,” said Cathy. “We have no real plans. But we’re not going anywhere. We’re staying here. We got to know a lot of our customers and we’ve made a lot of friends in Crozet.”
They said their most popular dishes were salmon with horseradish crust, shrimp penne with pancetta and spinach, and crispy whole snapper. Hayden was also known for his soft-shell crab dish.
We’ll miss them, and those nice tasty dinners. Thanks for them all.