Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard it before: For a city its size, Charlottesville has a lot of restaurants. Like, a lot. In 2013, the Huffington Post ranked our city among the top 15 U.S. metro areas with the most eateries per capita, with 460 restaurants for 201,400 residents.
With so many chow options at our fingertips, it’s easy to overlook some of the smaller ones.
Here’s a roundup of some of the tiniest places to nosh in town—the limited number of seats at each spot makes eating (or caffeinating) there a little more special, like you’re privy to some great secret. We’ll keep this list just between us.
2206 B Fontaine Ave., Fry’s Spring
Pop into Atlas Coffee for a cup of joe and a freshly baked Nutella cookie or raspberry triangle and you’ll be lucky to find a seat in this 751-square-foot neighborhood coffee shop tucked beneath the wing of the Fry’s Spring Guadalajara. With just one three-seat table and 10 chairs at the bar, Atlas can accommodate more caffeine addicts when the weather’s nice—there are 31 additional spots at the umbrella-covered tables on the patio out front.
110 Second St. NW, downtown
At less than 50 square feet, The Spot is literally a hole in the wall. Actually, it’s a door and window in the wall, but you get the idea. Sidle up to the window to order vegetarian and vegan cuisine from Vu Noodles and Greenie’s. Unless you’re lucky enough to snag one of two seats at the window’s tiny counter, you’ll have to eat your delicious noms elsewhere. It’s a tight squeeze for The Spot workers, too—with only 35 square feet of walkable space, “we’re pretty cozy in here,” says Vu Noodles’ Julie Vu.
Blue Ridge Country Store
518 E. Main St., Downtown Mall
Stop by the Blue Ridge Country Store for a sandwich, or put together a monster salad for your lunch. Expect to take your food to go, but there are two pause-worthy rocking chairs in this oh-so-cozy shop.
111 E. Water St. #A, downtown
Technically, The Flat is, as its full name suggests, a takeaway crêperie, but the itty-bitty two-story brick building covered in ivy is so darn cute customers hang around in hopes of eating their sweet and savory crêpes under the twinkly lights hanging above the small outdoor patio. There’s one table, one small counter with a couple of wire chairs and a little bench. The Flat is light on the hours but heavy on the charm, so when the two little windows in front are glowing, you know there’s something tasty happening inside.
Barbie’s Burrito Barn
201 Avon St., Belmont
A woman named Barbie Brannock serves simple and super fresh CaliMex cuisine from this 721-square-foot rock barn near the Belmont Bridge. Barbie’s Burrito Barn has but two small square tables and eight chairs inside, plus a picnic table and four brightly colored plastic Adirondack-style chairs outside. Brannock is planning to add a community table inside, too, so that more burrito-lovers can chow down together on colder days.
The White Spot
1407 University Ave., The Corner
This late-night Corner haunt serves up its famous Gus burgers in what is more or less a wide hallway with two counters and just 16 stools.
This isn’t a definitive list, by any means—Mel’s Café, La Michoacana, Wayside Deli at Durty Nelly’s, Thai Fresh and Keevil & Keevil Grocery and Kitchen are pretty cozy places, too.