Birch & Bloom and The Good Sport to Open at Kimpton The Forum Hotel in Charlottesville, Virginia

This April, two unique new restaurants will open in Charlottesville, inside the soon-to-open Kimpton The Forum Hotel on the Grounds of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. When it opens next month, The Forum Hotel will be the newest Kimpton property in IHG’s Luxury and Lifestyle Collection.

Birch & Bloom, a reimagined American steakhouse with regional farm-to-table influences, will feature select butcher cuts and seasonally driven cuisine. The Good Sport, a neighborhood craft beer bar with classic tavern fare, will tout 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. 


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 meals and celebrations with striking views of the property’s five-acre botanical garden.

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. Menu options include Bone Marrow Brulee with oxtail marmalade, tart apple and parsley persillade, as well as Wagyu Beef Tartare with Marmac cheddar, lacto-fermented onions and Aleppo aioli.

A thoughtful collection of local beers, well-executed classic and modern cocktails that incorporate fresh herbs from nearby gardens, and an expansive, curated portfolio of old and new world wines — including wines from the Virginia region — anchor Birch & Bloom’s beverage offerings.


Open 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 pre- and post-game spot, or a welcome respite after a long workday. This gathering place, donned in subtle collegiate touches and design notes of houndstooth and leather, will serve up classics with a contemporary spin, such as Wagyu Brisket Slider with hydro watercress, fresh grated horseradish crème and shaved onion, along with a Fried Chicken Sandwich, with kimchi slaw, chili crisp mayo and pickled cucumbers. In addition to elevated tavern cuisine, 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.


Leading menu development and the guest experience at both Birch & Bloom and The Good Sport is executive chef Eric Brownlee, who brings more than 25 years of passion and 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.”

The opening food & beverage team at the two restaurants also includes recently appointed Assistant Food & Beverage Director Daniel Beedle, who joins the team with more than 13 years of experience in hospitality management. Now holding the title of Advanced Sommelier, Daniel has served as the senior sommelier at the NoMad in New York before leading food & beverage operations as director at the Michelin-starred Betony & Juni. Daniel has also developed projects as a beverage consultant with Sans & The Mulberry House Brewery in Washington, NC. 

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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