Wrapping up the beer and breweries tour from The Charlottesville Guide Vlogs, our correspondent, Tim Mills, visited Renewal Restaurant. Come along as he chats with Aaron Clifton, Renewal Restaurant’s managing partner, and Joe Wolfson, the restaurant’s nationally recognized executive chef.

Renewal Restaurant

Renewal Restaurant is a two-story, upscale dining room, bar, and tavern area inside the Draftsman Hotel. It just opened this year, just before UVA’s graduation time in May. You’ll find it a block away from the intersection of West Main Street and JPA, right next to El Jaripeo. There’s plenty of parking right out back in the 11th Street Garage.

Aaron tells us that Renewal operates with the concept of “trying to offer a bit for everyone here on Main Street, Midtown Charlottesville.” There are comfy couches and a flat-screen TV in the upstairs mezzanine for those who want a casual hangout spot. For mild-weathered days, you can enjoy your refreshments on their patio. At the same time, Renewal’s chic interior and full-dinner service is perfect for a special occasion destination.

The Menu

Aaron describes the overall feel of Renewal’s food as “elevated Southern cuisine.” On-theme with the restaurant’s title, the menu items are “renewals” of traditional southern dishes.

“The food is all about simplicity. Taking a lot of the old, great recipes and just translating them through great ingredients, locally sourced, right to the plate,” Aaron says.

For example, they’ve got a fried egg sandwich, just as homey as a lazy Sunday breakfast. But, avocado and smoked tomato remoulade give it a fresh twist. Their fried green tomatoes are just as golden-brown, crisp, and hot-off-the-skillet as the quintessential Southern recipe, but with a special hint of goat cheese and sweet pepper chowchow.

After talking to Aaron, we were lucky enough to meet Joe Wolfson, a renowned chef with roots in South Carolina. Food & Wine Magazine and CNN.com nominated Joe as People’s Best New Chef in America. He competed on Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay.” Also, he has experience from fine-dining restaurants all over the company,

In keeping with the Charlottesville spirit, Joe makes sure Renewal utilizes locally sourced ingredients. He rotates the menu to take advantage of the freshest in-season foods our local farmers have to offer.

Joe treated us to some of his favorite dishes – his double-patty burger with house-made American cheese, pork belly and grits dish, and the aforementioned fried green tomatoes.

The Selection – Self-Serve RFID Card Taps

Out of Renewal’s 36 rotating taps of local craft beers,18 are part of an RFID system. Much like Draft Taproom’s system, RFID cards allow you to pour whatever you’d like for yourself. Also, the screens above the taps provide info about each of the brews to help you pick the perfect drink. The draft lines are perfectly chilled and balanced for the nitrate pressurization, so you’ll always pour a perfect glass.  

You can order a flight paddle or a pint. If you’d prefer to sit back and relax, bartenders are also happy to bring your drinks right to you.

Additionally, the bartenders can serve you a plethora of specialty or house cocktails, a BYO Manhattan, or wine by the glass or bottle.

Planning a visit to Draft Taproom? Head here for location, hours, and contact information.

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