What is Charlottesville’s food and drink scene missing?


Photo: Cramer Photo Photo: Cramer Photo

Last week we asked readers for their thoughts on what needs to make an appearance on Charlottesville’s food and drink scene. The question sparked a lengthy online discussion, and here are some of the responses we got:

Sandra McDaniel: Cheesecake Factory, Olive Garden, Fuddruckers, and I hate having to go over to Waynesboro to go to Cracker Barrel.

Caitlin Riopel: I think Charlottesville’s food and drink scene is missing authentic New Mexican cuisine, specifically something where you can order red, green, or Christmas chile smothered all over everything. Additionally I think we need somewhere on Sunday that has a full bloody mary bar with all the fixins, like a buffet.

Anonymous: I’d like to see a column in c-ville weekly like the one that used to be in The Hook, I think it was called “The Dish,” a column about the new restaurants that’s come to town, plus the ones that’s aren’t here anymore.

Don Neuland: In a word – value. All of the places I have eaten and/or drunk at (with several exceptions) are grossly overpriced for what you get. The owners believe they are going to get rich selling “homemade” $15-18 plates of pasta, “fresh frozen” fish or seafood, and $12 bisonburgers. Moreover, most have no imagination at all. There are only two that provide any value at all: BBQ Exchange in Gordonsville, and Eppies on the downtown mall. At least the food is real homemade from scratch. The rest are crap. Particularly, the Beer Run today charged me $.75 for one measley slice of tomato – on top of their so-called $12 bisonburger. I was, and still am, extremely angry about this. The beer industry has much of the blame. Youngsters believe (along with the immature brewers who sell this stuff), that the longer the name, the more sophisticated it must be. Beer Run sells a beer (so it’s called) on tap that is 13 words long!!! Not to mention the $2 cups of burned coffee beans at the so-called “coffee shops”. 98% of the junk they sell is not worthy of the name coffee. If you order a “coffee” with one shot of each of the flavored sugars one can add to the cup at Starbucks, you will need to bring a gallon bucket. All of the others are the same.

Kelly Hyde: I would like to see more Paleo friendly options. It’s not too hard to put something together, but I never want to feel like I’m being a pain for the kitchen.

Shannon Wilson: There’s a Puerto Rican place in San Rafael, CA, called Sol Food that I wish I could clone and plop down in Cville. Soooooo good!!

Eric Newsome: Better quality for the price Korean restaurant choices, plus we are definitely missing a good ramen cart.

Thomas Gayner: Screaming Viking cocktails!

Cecilia Haro Baber: Filipino food.


Hal Mavius: I would really love to see a great seafood restaurant.


Brad Sayler: Well, I think we’re missing a good kind of mom and pop seafood restaurant. A place that sells lobster rolls and, you know, fried shrimp, and scallops, and French fries, and that kind of thing. They’ve got a lot of them up in New England and we always try and find them when we’re up there, but there’s no reason why we couldn’t have one here in Charlottesville, and I think it’d be very popular.

Daniel Lankford

Daniel Lankford: Quality Ethiopian and Korean food.


And don’t forget to weigh in on next week’s question:

How has the government shutdown affected how you’re going to vote this November? 

E-mail your answers to question@c-ville.com. You can also follow Q&A on Twitter @cvillenews_desk #cvillequestion and on our Facebook page.

  • datcv

    “Cheesecake Factory, Olive Garden, Fuddruckers”

    No. If you want over-salted mediocre food, there is always Outback.

  • Tony

    Tony, there is definitely a reason a mom and pop seafood restaurant works in New England and likely would not work well here. New England is sort of near the water and can get their seafood very fresh and right off the boats each morning. Lobster Rolls in C’Ville would be nothing like NE. Can you imagine a mom and pop place having fresh seafood flown in and what the cost would be? take that $10 Lobster Roll up there and double there. And no one wants frozen seafood.

  • http://tinychapel.blogspot.com/ George Eager

    A cheap Cuban-Chinese place with a neon sign reading Comidas Chinas and another with the name of the place, La Cocina Criolla, or maybe La Taza de Oro. Also, an old man dive bar (which the food requirement in Va basically prevents).

  • usuario

    Charlottesville doesn’t have a completely vegetarian restaurant. It also doesn’t have a Persian restaurant (Zamzam Kabob closed a while ago), Ethiopian, or a German restaurant unless you count the one in Madison. There needs to be better Vietnamese and Korean restaurants, the ones that exist leave a lot to be desired.

    South Indian food. All of the Indian restaurants in Charlottesville are North Indian. Where’s the dosa, idli, and sambar at?

  • Spike

    I noticed a new Ethiopian restaurant on the Corner, where the Pita Pit used to be, called (I think) Oryx. Hope it stays. I love Ethiopian.

  • R

    Cheesecake Factory? Fuddruckers? Olive Garden? Cracker Barrel? Are you kidding me? You don’t want to live in Charlottesville. You want to live in a strip mall in central New Jersey. You’re doing it wrong.

  • R2

    I would really like to see BYOB culture start to take over Charlottesville (look at Philadelphia as a model). I know, I know, alcohol is where the money is made, but it would be nice if more places offered (and promoted) corkage. If nothing else, they can (and some do) charge a reasonable fee (Ok, $15-$25 may not seem reasonable), but considering you pay 2-4x retail markup on most wines on restaurant wine lists, it’s a great option for people who want to open a nice bottle of wine at dinner without having to pay $100+. The same thing goes for beer… A lot of beer afficianados would love to bring their favorite brews to restaurants that may not carry what they like. Just something to consider. I also wouldn’t mind paying as much for the food that, as many have pointed out, seems overpriced at a lot of places.

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