Birch & Bloom, a Farm-to-Table Steakhouse, and The Good Sport, a Craft Beer Bar, to Open at The Forum Hotel This April

06 March 2023

Rendering of Forum Hotel Charlottesville RestaurantsThis April, two unique new restaurants will open inside The Forum Hotel on the Grounds of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. The hotel, operated by Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and the newest Kimpton property in IHG’s Luxury and Lifestyle Collection, is also scheduled to open in April.

Birch & Bloom, a re-imagined American steakhouse with regional farm-to-table fare, will feature select butcher cuts and seasonally driven cuisine. The Good Sport, a neighborhood craft beer bar, features classic tavern fare and an impressive roster of local beers and curated cocktails.

The restaurants will pay homage to both the tradition and evolution of Charlottesville through locally inspired menus, sustainably sourced ingredients, thoughtful collaborations and community partnerships.

Farm-to-Table Steakhouse Takes Root in Charlottesville

Birch & Bloom, open for breakfast and dinner service, draws inspiration from the fields, orchards, vineyards and waters that surround the 188-seat restaurant. The modern farm-to-table steakhouse offers a sophisticated atmosphere with indoor and outdoor spaces designed to foster connection. Featuring bold colors and a playful design, the dining room will derive energy from the adjacent bustling Aspen Bar and Terrace, with spaces for every mood and occasion. A 2,000-bottle wine cellar will be available to host private celebrations, and the L’Orangerie, a glass-enclosed solarium attached to Birch & Bloom, will offer an airy escape for brunch and celebrations with striking views of the property’s five-acre botanical garden.

Rendering of lobby and bar at the Forum Hotel

The Forum Hotel lobby with the Aspen Bar and Terrace in the background

"We have worked hard to curate menus that reflect the incredible farmers, producers, brewers and winemakers nearby."
Executive Chef Eric Brownlee

Birch & Bloom gives the traditional steakhouse experience a unique twist by serving the finest steaks and proteins alongside shareable sides that rotate with the seasons. A thoughtful collection of local beers, classic and modern cocktails with fresh local herbs, and an expansive portfolio of old and new world wines — including wines from the Virginia region — anchor Birch & Bloom’s beverage offerings.

A Neighborhood Craft Beer Bar is Brewing

The Good Sport logotypeOpen for lunch and dinner, The Good Sport is poised to become a local favorite with classic tavern fare, local craft beer and a warm and relaxed setting — the perfect spot for a pre- and post-game gathering or a welcome respite after a long workday. Serving up classics with a contemporary spin, The Good Sport will offer a robust craft beer program and seasonal tasting flights with an emphasis on local, regional and hard-to-find brews. To round out the bar experience, guests will have access to a large selection of signature cocktails, as well as whiskeys, local wines and other spirits.

A Locally Grown Approach

Leading both Birch & Bloom and The Good Sport is executive chef Eric Brownlee, who brings more than 25 years of passionate experience to The Forum Hotel. Originally from rural Pennsylvania, Chef Brownlee discovered his love for agriculture and cooking with home-grown ingredients while working on his grandfather’s farm. His wide-ranging experience includes executive chef roles at notable restaurants such as Cork Neighborhood Bistro in Charleston, SC, and Katharine Brasserie and Bar in Winston-Salem, NC.

“My journey as a chef and my philosophy of food led me to a culinary haven that epitomizes the bounty of an entire region, and that is what Birch & Bloom and The Good Sport will bring to Charlottesville,” says Chef Brownlee. “We have worked hard to curate menus that reflect the incredible farmers, producers, brewers and winemakers nearby.”

Birch & Bloom and The Good Sport are set within the first on-campus hotel from Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, which has 198 guest rooms, including 12 suites.

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About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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Molly Mitchell
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Darden School of Business
University of Virginia