On a recent Tuesday morning, a frigid wind whipped through Charlottesville, but all was warm and cozy inside the Cherry Avenue Diner at 820 Cherry Ave. in Fifeville. Sparkly snowman decorations hung from the wall sconces lighting each wooden booth, and two waitresses bustled about behind the counter, one wearing a green elf apron and the other wearing a red Mrs. Claus apron, complete with faux fur trim.
A pink-frosted cake sat under a clear plastic dome on the counter, a spoon stirred cream into a mug of coffee and bacon sizzled on the grill. The whole place smelled like breakfast.
Two men sat at the high-top counter and scrolled through social media apps on their phones. The diner’s only been open for a couple of months, but already, they say, it’s a favorite spot: The place has good food for a reasonable price. So far, they like the eggs and corned beef hash breakfast ($5.29) and the biscuits and gravy ($4) best.
The Cherry Avenue Diner is owned and operated by Gordon Faulknier and his sons, George and Andrew. Before opening the diner, the family ran a convenience store in Buckingham County, and when they heard the spot in the Cherry Avenue Shopping Center was open, they thought a diner would be a good fit, Faulknier says.
From a booth near the back of the restaurant, Faulknier points to a hamburger poster hanging in the front window—that’s a photo of an actual hamburger made here in the diner, he says with pride—and talks about how they source their beef from Reid’s Super-Save Market on Preston Avenue because it’s the best beef in town.
The Cherry Avenue Diner is open from 7am to 6pm daily. An egg breakfast with toast or biscuit, home fries and a choice of meat will run you between $5 and $7, pancakes are about $4, and omelets are around $5. Breakfast is served all day, but there are lunch and dinner offerings, too, including hot dogs, grilled cheeses and burgers, plus sides of macaroni salad, potato salad, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, French fries and more. There are salads and pizzas, pork chop and country-fried steak platters, and Shirley’s Southern fried chicken—famous out in Scottsville, Faulknier says—made in-house by Shirley, herself.
Janet Dob and Cynthia Viejo, aka the Bageladies, known around town for their Bake’mmm bagels and City Market staple bagelini sandwiches, are finalists in the Spark Tank $20,000 Business Accelerator Giveaway, a “Shark Tank”-style competition sponsored by Valley Inbound Marketing out of Staunton and Viking Forge Design out of Waynesboro.
The Bageladies are among the eight finalists who will present business plans to a panel of judges and a public audience at James Madison University on Saturday, January 13. And if they win the $20,000 marketing package, that might mean more bagelinis for all of us: Viejo and Dob are currently working on getting a bagelini bus up and running.
Cho’s Nachos closed December 17 after serving nachos galore (poke sushi nachos, buffalo chicken nachos, fajita nachos, even s’mores nachos) for just under a year. The restaurant, which opened in the longtime McGrady’s spot at 946 Grady Ave., announced on its Facebook page the space will relaunch as a sports bar concept.