COME JOIN US
Little Star integrates the unique flavors of Mexico with the depth of Spanish cuisine. We focus on unique aromas and textures that can only be created by cooking food over an open fire.
From a casual night out to an elevated celebration, we’ve got you covered.
OUR COOKING APPROACH
Whenever possible, we’re focused on using local, sustainable ingredients and cooking food that is thoughtful and innovative, yet simple enough to allow the flavors of the ingredients to shine.
MEET OUR TEAM
EXECUTIVE CHEF / CO-OWNER
The opportunity to open Little Star is a dream realized.
Ryan has always had a passion for cooking. He had the opportunity to work with some of the finest chefs in the Midwest and East Coast. Early in his career, he worked for James Beard award winning chef, Isaac Becker, and most recently worked with multiple James Beard award winning, Nobel Peace Prize nominated chef, José Andrés at his company ThinkFood Group. He spent 8 years working in José restaurants such as Oyamel, Jaleo, minibar, and opening multiple new restaurants in Miami and Las Vegas.
Upon moving to Charlottesville with his wife and two daughters, he became friends and business partners with the co-owners of Oakhart Social. By planting his roots in Cville, he aspires to make the community better through food, hospitality, and relationships bettered over a table of food and drink.
Joel is excited to be directing the bar experience at both Little Star and Oakhart Social.
Born in the high mountains of Veracruz, Mexico, Joel Cuellar came to the United States as a young man with an inborn love of Tequila and Mezcal, and a passion for his country’s food.
Joel started in fine kitchens and service in New York, learning international cuisine and wine. He landed at Tribeca’s Brandy Library/Copper and Oak and stayed for 14 years, working behind the bar crafting cocktails, teaching seminars, refining selections, meeting producers and distillers, and traveling the world to see first hand the production of fine spirits.
Joel speaks booze and is fluent in all levels of production. If you want to talk about any kind of alcohol, he’s your man.
Joel is a recent transplant to Charlottesville. He moved from NYC with his family in the fall seeking a better place with more open space to raise his twin daughters. He is loving the city’s awesome food culture and gorgeous countryside.