Melissa Close-Hart
Melissa Close-Hart

Raised in Alabama, Melissa has been in the restaurant business since she was 16 years old and is a Distinguished Graduate from New England Culinary Institute, Alumna of the Year in 2005.  She has worked for a number of award-winning chefs through the years: Frank Stitt at Bottega Restaurant & Café located in Birmingham, Alabama; Craig Hartman at The Clifton Inn in Charlottesville, Virginia and at The Cliff House at Pike’s Peak in Manitou Springs, Colorado; and Reed Heron at Rose Pistola in San Francisco, California. She brought both national and international recognition for Palladio Restaurant through her constant striving to create menus with the freshest ingredients found locally and internationally. Melissa has received five invitations to create dinners at the world renowned James Beard House in New York City. The James Beard Organization has also recognized Melissa as a semi-finalist for Best Chef of the Mid-Atlantic on four different occasions.

Alec Spidalieri
Alec Spidalieri

A Charlottesville-area native, Alec Spidalieri has been stationed behind a bar since April 2010- the moment after he reached 21 years of age. He managed the bar at the Local from 2015-2017, where he expanded their cocktail program, and left to begin the beverage program for Junction. 

Alec is a serious believer in the 'do-it-yourself’ approach. He believes that with objectivity and an analytic mindset, taking ownership and creating your own ingredients in every situation possible will almost always yield the best results. With the exception of a few irreplaceable commercial products (like Angostura bitters, for instance), everything behind Junction’s bar is made fresh and in-house, from the bitters, syrups and infusions to the freshly-squeezed juices. Alec has always enjoyed the concept of the exclusivity of certain cocktails: only being able to get a drink that you especially love in one place, where it’s just right. Something- whether its the glassware, or the atmosphere, or just the subtle difference in the way the bartender makes it for you- that you just can’t quite re-create at home. He’s hoping his bar will be that place.