Great places to visit in Charlottesville Virginia. Article and photo by Charles McCool for McCool Travel.

8 Great Casual Places to Eat in Charlottesville Virginia

There are certainly a variety of places to eat in Charlottesville, Virginia. The range of places to eat in Charlottesville range from typical fast food (and drive through) places to high end luxury fine dining restaurants with everything in between.

This McCool Travel article lists some great casual places to eat in Charlottesville, hopefully helpful whether you visit someone at University of Virginia, attend an event at JPJ, or want a quick bite between winery or brewery visits.

8 Great Casual Places to Eat in Charlottesville Virginia

Salt Artisan Market

Situated on a fun country road between historic homes of two US Presidents, Salt is a small deli serving amazing local, seasonal, and artisan foods. While waiting for your tasty sandwich, fresh salad, cheese and charcuterie platter, or breakfast—all made from locally sourced ingredients—sit and admire the view. An occasional car passes but you can imagine that the land looks almost like it did when Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe lived here and discussed creating a new country. Yes, Salt is in a 1930s gas station and an 1890s church is across the street, but surrounding you are huge farms, just like in the 1700s. Love this setting!

great casual places to eat in Charlottesville Virginia

Salt Artisan Market in Charlottesville Virginia

great casual places to eat in Charlottesville Virginia

Salt Artisan in Charlottesville Virginia

Roots Natural Kitchen

In The Corner is the popular Root’s Natural Kitchen serving healthy and delicious natural food in a fast and casual setting. My daughter, a University of Virginia student, introduced me to Roots and we have visited a few times. Order a bowl of righteous goodness and support a small, local business. Roots was founded by UVA alumni and they have a second location in Newark, Delaware.

Carter Mountain Orchard

Usually I would save the sweets for the end of my article but you need to go to this place early in the day. There are many reasons to visit Carter Mountain Orchard but the most popular is to snag a dozen of the coveted apple cider doughnuts. They usually sell out of their fresh doughnuts by early afternoon. If you are too late for doughnuts, order some local wine and hard apple cider and take in the magnificent views of Charlottesville and Albemarle county. Take time to survey the land once patrolled by founding Father Thomas Jefferson.

great casual places to eat in Charlottesville Virginia

apple cider doughnuts at Carter Mountain Orchard in Charlottesville Virginia

Christian’s Pizza

After several trips to Charlottesville, a local friend suggested I try Christian’s Pizza—saying she gets a slice every time she visits. Well, dang, that is a glowing recommendation so I went there on my next trip. Their location in The Corner is convenient when visiting University of Virginia. Their downtown location is convenient when visiting the pedestrian mall for a show or shopping. Both locations serve great pizza, by the slice or whole pie.

Crozet Pizza

Speaking of pizza, National Geographic declared that Crozet Pizza makes the Best Pizza in the World. Fodor’s merely awarded them Best Pizza in Virginia and Best Pizza in USA. You be the judge. Order an epic pizza pie from the original Crozet Pizza in the cute town of Crozet (pronounced crow-zay, by the way). That location is about 25 minutes from a satellite location in downtown Charlottesville—called Crozet Pizza at the Buddhist Biker Bar.

Oakhurst Inn Cafe

Located steps from the School of Engineering, just off university grounds, is one of the coziest places in Charlottesville. Oakhurst Inn Cafe is a McCool family favorite for weekend brunch. Their breakfast sandwich or The Farm entree provides ample fuel for a nearby hike along Skyline Drive or to Crabtree Falls. Be sure to order extra applewood smoked bacon; so good!

great casual places to eat in Charlottesville Virginia

breakfast at Oakhurst Inn Cafe in Charlottesville Virginia

great casual places to eat in Charlottesville Virginia

breakfast sandwich at Oakhurst Inn Cafe in Charlottesville Virginia

Draft Taproom

Draft Taproom, along the downtown Charlottesville pedestrian mall, is a cool concept with 60 beers on tap, which you can pour yourself. Get a card to track what you drink, choose how much you want, and pay when finished. It is easy and fun to try a few brews before committing to a whole pint. Read the screens and descriptions, then select a small one ounce pour. If you do not like it, move on to another. Like it, remember it for later. Love it, pour yourself a pint. Oh, the food. The burgers and fries are really yummy and they have impressive salad combos.

great casual places to eat in Charlottesville Virginia

Draft Taphouse in Charlottesville Virginia

great casual places to eat in Charlottesville Virginia

fries at Draft Taphouse in Charlottesville Virginia

Citizen Burger Bar

Located right across the downtown pedestrian mall from the historic Paramount Theater, Citizen Burger Bar is a fantastic casual place to eat in Charlottesville. The menu is designed around locally produced, top-tier ingredients, including grass fed beef and free range chicken. The food is tasty and free of chemicals and hormones. To complement the natural food, the bar stocks over 100 brews and some cool cocktails (like Maple Sour and Burnt Peach).

great casual places to eat in Charlottesville Virginia

burger at Citizen Burger Bar in Charlottesville Virginia


These are some great casual places to eat in Charlottesville. Have any others to recommend? Leave a comment below.

Please see also these other articles about things to do in Charlottesville:


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casual places to eat in Charlottesville range from fast food (and drive thru) places to high end luxury fine dining restaurants with everything in between

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16 Responses to “8 Great Casual Places to Eat in Charlottesville Virginia”

  1. Doreen Pendgracs August 28, 2017 at 9:21 am #

    Thanks so much for putting a positive spin on Charlottesville Virginia, Charles. The culinary delights had my mouth watering.

    • McCoolTravel (@CharlesMcCool) August 28, 2017 at 10:23 am #

      Aww, thank you, Doreen. I know you would love the area and the food. Oh, you should know that there is a winery there (Glass House) which makes artisan chocolates and pairs them with estate wines. I might have to go back this week!

  2. Sandy June 27, 2017 at 4:14 pm #

    Admit it – your apple cider doughnuts photo was purposely framed so that I would gawk at it for 10 minutes before understanding what was going on.

    Well? … I’m waiting. 😉

  3. Karen Warren June 24, 2017 at 11:45 am #

    It looks as if there are some great places to eat in Charlottesville. I’d love a plate of those fries from the Draft Taphouse!

  4. Donna at Destinations Detours and Dreams June 20, 2017 at 7:48 pm #

    It’s a good thing I waited until after dinner to read this. The donuts look wonderful. And that burger! What a mouthful!

  5. pmaghamfar June 20, 2017 at 5:40 pm #

    Wow, that hamburger looks amazing and you can’t go wrong with apple cider doughnuts. We’ve been to Charlottesville a couple of times, enjoyed our visits. Have you eaten at “The Local” restaurant? It is wonderful, so good our son and DIL had them cater their wedding. We continue to enjoy exploring VA and the surrounding area, so much history and fun places to explore.

  6. Claus Andersen June 16, 2017 at 12:04 pm #

    That Oakhurst Inn Cafe looks really good.

  7. Cherri Megasko June 16, 2017 at 11:36 am #

    I just moved from Charlottesville two months ago. This is a great list.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] be too much. I think it is pretty cool that two of my favorite USA small cities are along the BRP: Charlottesville, Virginia and Asheville, North Carolina.” There are countless towns along the way, each possessing varying […]

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