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Buzz Bites: Chicken tender accolades, build-your-own bowls and a versatile pastry

This week’s Buzz Bites is serving up award-winning chicken tenders, a new gluten-free build-your-own bowl restaurant and a class in mastering sweet and savory versions of a classic French pastry.

A win for Raising Cane’s

The Fasties, Thrillist’s first fast-food awards show, has awarded Raising Cane’s chicken fingers first place among major fast-food chain chicken tenders.

Cane’s Sauce, a frequent accompaniment to those chicken fingers, came in third in the best-dipping-sauce category. (Crinkle-cut fries, coleslaw and Texas toast also may make their way onto the plate when you order.)

Raising Cane’s has more than 490 restaurants in 27 states, as well as Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

New bowl in town

Mahana Fresh has chosen Charlottesville for its first Virginia location. It opened a new restaurant between Penelope and Lilly Pulitzer in Barracks Road Shopping Center last week.

Locally owned by Byron Harris, the fast-casual restaurant offers a build-your-own bowl concept based on veggies, proteins and toppings to suit a wide range of tastes. All of the selections are gluten free. Learn more at

Savory sweetness

Mona Lisa Pasta and Charlottesville Wine & Culinary will dive into the savory and sweet possibilities of pate a choux at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Mona Lisa Pasta.

The class will cover gougeres with butternut-red pepper soup, romaine-wrapped halibut with sautéed leeks and profiteroles with burnt orange ice cream. Some of the pastry dough will be used to create a savory roll, and the rest will be used in a classic French dessert.

Expect the class to last about two and a half hours. It’ll start with a snack, and classmates will enjoy a light meal of the dishes they’ve prepared. You’ll head home with recipes and some hands-on experience to elevate your home-cooking game.

The class is $68. For details, and to reserve your seat, call (434) 295-2494.

Barbecue for public safety

Mission BBQ recently donated funds from sales of its Blue Cups to Albemarle County Fire Rescue and Albemarle County Police Foundation. On March 2, the restaurant presented a check to Ron Lantz, Albemarle County’s police chief; Dan Eggleston, chief of Fire Rescue; and Kate Kaminski, executive director of the Albemarle County Police Foundation.

Cidery expanding

Nelson County-based Bryant’s Small Batch Cider is opening a new hard cider production facility and tasting room in Richmond’s Shockley Bottom neighborhood. Owner Jerry Thornton’s original location is on his family’s sixth-generation farm and orchard.

The new Richmond location will include a revitalized historic building and newly planted apple trees. As a licensed Virginia farm winery, the new cidery is committed to sourcing 100 percent of its apples from Virginia. Eight new jobs will be created in the process.

Pop-up Paris

Paris, Texas, Oui-Haw! is a pop-up restaurant collaboration with Bill Norton set for 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday for dinner and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday for brunch in The Catering Outfit’s new private event space, the Atrium, at 221 Carlton Rd, Suite 8. The menu will include smoked meats and dishes with French flair.

Dinner is available for $25 for two meats and two sides, $20 for one meat and two sides and $20 for four herbivore sides. Torn baguettes and butter come with all dinners. The buffet-style brunch is $20.

Reservations aren’t available for pop-up events. For menus and other details, go to


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