When the thought of opening our own Great Harvest bakery came to mind, we had to choose a city. Close your eyes, point at the map? Not so much.
Charlottesville was high on our list, mostly because we had traveled here and knew the vibe of the city was full of life.
When people ask us how we chose Charlottesville, we quickly utter a list of about 20 reasons:
- Local food movement
- WINE COUNTRY
- Outdoor activities
- East Coast / Mid Atlantic
- AMAZING restaurants
- Great place to raise a family
- Close to home
- Huge running community
- 4 gorgeous seasons
See for yourself how much we love it here!
Casual Eats + Drinks
Bluegrass Grill | Fabulous brunch spot with a large menu and delicious biscuits
Eppie’s + Here + Here + Here + Here | Great lunch spot on the downtown mall. The Santa Monica salad is incredible and comes with pumpkin bread on the side! They also have an awesome veggie combo plate.
The Nook | Famous diner downtown open all day long but famous for breakfast/brunch.
12th Street Taphouse | [ Closed ]
Bellair Market | Gourmet sandwiches in a gas station!? Only in Cville.
Mono Loco + Here + Here + Here + Here + Here | The Spice-A-Rita is hands down the best Margarita I’ve ever had. The burritos here are creative (stuffed with seafood!) and you can get them all as salads. One of our favorite casual spots!
Boylan Heights | A build-your-own burger joint on the corner with sweet potato fries!
Christian’s Pizza | Downtown by-the-slice pizza place. Inexpensive and quick! A Cville favorite.
Fry’s Spring Station | Charming. Pizza in a restored gas station. Local beer list and fabulous hummus plate!
Miche Tavern | A 200-year-old, family-style colonial reenactment buffet. True Southern food! A bit expensive though.
Rapture | A bar, club and restaurant with an impressive and reasonably priced menu.
Cville Coffee | At McIntire Plaza (next to the future Great Harvest!), this coffee shop has it all: parking, space for seating, wifi, plenty of coffee to drink, fabulous creative sandwiches and good salads. I love their hummus!
Now & Zen Sushi | Casual sushi place, great for lunch. Asian modern feel.
Horse + Hound Gastropub | Great unique beers and pub food. Right on Main Street near downtown. Great French fries!
Fellini’s | Great vibe with live music often! The bar is super cozy and the Italian food is outstanding. Get the Opolo Zin!
9 1/2 Lounge | Located above Fellini’s (same owners!) is Cville’s speakeasy! Themed from head to toe of the 20s, have fun saying the password at the door and enjoy a Manhattan for me!
Cinema Taco | Downtown next to the Jefferson Theater and easy to miss. A local Qdoba with great tacos, quesadillas, taco salads and more for great prices and outdoor seating.
The Whiskey Jar and Here and Here | Downtown near the Omni, this is a bar + restaurant in one with a great rustic atmosphere and a small but flavorful menu of bar food, Southern favorites, and salads. Prices are good and the drinks – even better!
The Flat Takeaway Creperie | Located downtown on Water St., this is the perfect spot for a light meal or an evening snack. They have savory and sweet, vegetarian and local ingredients.
Moto Pho Co. | West Main Street pho restaurant. Excellent value, modern group seating vibe and delicious pho options. Get the tofu dishes!
Sedona Taphouse | Tons of beers on tap and by the bottle. Pretty good menu with lots of choices.
Two Guys Tacos | A really fun quick taco restaurant with surprisingly gourmet offerings. Get the empanada!
Ace Biscuit + BBQ | A tiny restaurant with big flavor opened for breakfast and lunch. Great pastured BBQ and delicious sides.
Commonwealth + Skybar + Here + Here + Here + Brunch + Brunch | Downtown favorite for ambiance and drinks. A fabulous local-centered restaurant with a great menu and rooftop bar. Be prepared to wait for a table. Sip a bourbon while you do!
Fleurie | Very fancy French restaurant with great romantic ambiance and excellent service.
Ten | Downtown sushi in a lofty upstairs atmosphere. Raspberry sushi. That’s all I’m gonna say!
Zocalo and Here and Here and Here and Here and Here | Favorite downtown spot! This restaurant may have persuaded us to move to Cville I still think about my vanilla-orange scallops and Karen’s Norwegian salmon, and the Relleno Pepper is the best entree in TOWN!
Camino | Simple ingredients presented in a fancy way. Great pasta choices.
Montiel Brassiere | A funky, creative restaurant off of Hydraulic Rd.
Hamilton’s | Upscale dining on the downtown mall with a great menu of local meats and creative dishes.
Al Dente | Cozy Italian at the IX project. Delicious menu at reasonable prices.
l’etoile | Fancy Virginia cuisine on West Main. Lovely porch in the summer – and delicious food!
Zynodoa | 40 minutes away in Staunton, this restaurant is worth the drive. Farm-to-table delicious fare and surrounded by cute antique shops!
Glass Haus Kitchen | Super swanky and modern local food restaurant downtown. Amazing cocktails!
Things To Do
First Friday Gallery Crawl [September] and October and December + February + April | The first Friday of every month the art galleries in Cville open doors to the public to showcase new exhibitions. Many have food and wine too!
Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurt | Right on the downtown mall! The self-serve yogurt flavors actually taste like the flavors!!
Shenandoah Joe’s Coffee | Charlottesville did not let down with it’s local coffee roasters. Amazing varieties!
Carter Mountain | Pick-your-own fruit at the top of the mountain with beautiful views of the city.
Market Street Wine Shop | Tastings every Friday!
Tea Bazaar | An upstairs tea room with a great [lite] menu of homemade soups and salads to match
Twin Oaks Tofu Tour | A commune in the Virginia countryside that makes fab tofu!
Wine + Beer
Kluge | Sadly, this winery closed. Rumor is that Trump himself purchased the estate? Open again please!
Jefferson and Here and Here and Here and Here | Complex wines that suite the modern palate. They also have great special events in the barrel barn and a gorgeous lawn for picnicking! Tell them you’re a KERF reader : )
Veritas | One of Charlottesville’s most famous, it’s fancy and produces some really nice wines.
Flying Fox | Very small winery a bit on the funky side.
Sweely Estate Winery | Beautiful estate in Madison County, a nice combo with a hike in Shenandoah National Park! Really great Bordeaux blend wines and charming owners.
King Family Vineyards | Gorgeous scenery, good wines and the perfect spot for a picnic – especially on Sundays in the summer for polo matches! [So I hear..]
Keswick Vineyards | Amazing wines in a picturesque setting
Castle Hill Cidery | A big rustic bar with a tasting room on the side, these ciders are fun and refreshing and right around the corner from Keswick.
Brew Ridge Music Festival (August)
Foxfield | (September)
Lighting Of The Lawn | (December)
A UVA classic!
Jefferson Bastille Day Dinner | An annual formal dinner complete with a delicious wine for every course!
Women’s Four Miler [September]
Carter’s Mountain | A spin-off trail from the Monticello Trail, this winds through the woods and ends up on top of Carter’s Mountain. Look for it to the right about 1/4 of the way up the Monticello Trail.
Humpback Rock | A STEEP but not-too-long hike with incredible views! A bit farther away. Pretty strenuous!
Ivy Creek | 6 miles of trails. Good for kids! Very easy to walk, well marked. 5 minutes outside of town town.
Ragged Mountain | Rugged and less organized, but scenic and fun.
Monticello Trail and Here. | Well groomed with boardwalks, this trail starts at the bottom of a mild mountain and hikes up 2 miles to Monticello. There are also nice turn-off trails for more ground to cover.
Old Rag | Charlottesville classic – and possibly the best hike on the East Coast! 8.8 miles and very strenuous. Prepare to scramble across rocks and really climb at times. But simple gorgeous!
Shenandoah National Park | South River Falls
Where To Stay
South Street Inn | We stayed here on our house-hunting visit and loved the place. You cannot beat the location (right downtown) and the prices were competitive with all the chain hotels. It wasn’t fancy, but it was a nice stay. And the breakfast, evening hors d’oeuvres and cookies were all excellent!
400 West High | A new B&B in the historic district opened summer 2011. It’s clean, bright and the owner is very nice. Also just a short walk to Great Harvest!!
Country Cottage | Our friends own this one bedroom + loft cottage and rent it out for two nights at a time. It’s totally modern and gorgeous! Just a few miles out of town.
Hampton Inn + Courtyard on Main Street | These are the closest “standard” hotels to downtown, although they do book up fast. Both are in walkable locations to downtown and the university. (Hampton Inn is closer to downtown)
Stay Charlottesville | A great site full of cottages and condos and things you can rent nightly or for a long weekend. Some really cute options!