Hook Adds Restaurant Reviews

The Hook has announced a new feature, weekly restaurant reviews. I dimly recall a proper restaurant review in the Daily Progress many years ago, but I’m not sure that we’ve had any regular ones since then. Ned Oldham’s debut review is of Maya, a year-old West Main restaurant whose food I quite like. Oldham ate there twice and generally gives it high marks.

9 Responses to “Hook Adds Restaurant Reviews”


  • I also like Maya. All those ala carte vegetables tend to be excellent. And the collard greens? Superb.
    If I might nitpick, I do hope the reviews get more stylishly written. Bit of a bore to start.

  • Waldo, good memory? Or was this before you were born? The only restaurant reviewer of any note in the Prog during the 53 years I read it was the late Jerry H. Simpson Jr, whose “Inside Outlook” column graced the paper in the late 1960s. He also did insightful restaurant reviews reflecting many years living in France, where he was keen on gaining knowledge of traditional French cuisine.

    Charlottesville restaurant owners didn’t always agree with Jerry, but diners profited well from his commentary. I have every expectation of that from the Hook.

    In case you forgot, Jerry held the title Assistant State Editor. He was fired from the Prog in 1971 in a Worrell Group news staff budget implosion that replaced the entire newsroom with dirt cheap novices.

    Jerry later created an upscale bike tour of France for wealthy executives that ran down across the Pyrenees into Spain and back. The tour became legendary for its food stops.

    His books “Bike Tour France” and “Torn Land” are collectible classics today. “Torn Land” is the story of Nelson County devastation from hurricane Camille in 1969.

    Jerry died March 25, 2007 in Charlotte NC.

  • That would be very much before I was born, Rey. :)

  • Oh, right, I was thinking of your twin brother.

  • My memory is that the old-style C-ville Weekly (when it was under the current Hook leadership) had restaurant reviews – and that they were entertaining, intelligent and fair. However, after a few not-so-awesome reviews there were some lost advertisements. This led to the review column becoming more about food/restaurant news.

  • Ned Olham’s review was decent if not hard hitting. There seems to be a reluctance in this town to critique individual restaurants. The Washington Post and New York Times have no trouble reviewing and sometimes lambasting their cities eateries. Charlottesville has long needed this kind of column in the local papers, and I am thrilled the Hook has stepped forward. Mr. Oldham should review both upper-crust and pedestrian fare, since many of us are on a budget.
    Way to go Hook!

  • I too am curious to hear what it is that people think the review lacked, in terms of style and approach. What are reviews supposed to do other than describe the items and evaluate their quality? I thought it was pretty well-written. It could have been more hard-hitting, but probably that’s not how you want to start out your career in a small town. But he didn’t shy away from saying which items were not perfect.

  • Yes, Cville Weekly did reviews in the early 90s that were generally right on (I know when they gave positive reviews where I worked, Rococo’s, they were always accurate in their praise!).
    albemarle magazine did them for a while in the 90’s too but did one that was very negative and against their normal ‘celebrating albemarle’ style, and they stopped doing them.

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