The Charlottesville 29

If there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?

Citizen Burger Bar


212 E. Main Street . Charlottesville, VA . (434) 979-9944

Why Citizen?

For sports fans in a college sports town, a good place to watch the game is essential.  Not long ago, it was not easy to find.  Enter Citizen Burger Bar, which opened in 2012 in the heart of the downtown mall and became an instant smash. With a long narrow space and plenty of big-screen TVs behind the bar, Citizen offers a view of the game from almost every seat.  And, an ever-changing list of draught beers plus more than 100 in bottles means there are suds to suit everyone’s taste.  Even the wines are well-chosen, and the cocktails ($8) priced right.

But what sets Citizen apart from other sports-watching venues is that they actually care about the food.  It’s not just slop to soak up the beer. The beef is grass-fed and from Timbercreek Farm, just eight miles from the grill. The chicken is local. The burger rolls are custom-made down the street at Albemarle Baking Company.  The fries are hand-cut, the dressings house-made, and the “Swiss” cheese is Virginia’s own McClure, by Mountain View Farm. Throw in a cheerful, well-trained staff, and you’ve got a place worthy of a visit even when it’s not game day.

What to Order

Burgers are king at Citizen, rivaling any in town, but there’s more than just ground beef.  Below is a list of our suggestions, owner Andy McLure’s favorites, and appearances in Five Finds on Friday, where a local chef or personality has named a Citizen dish as one of the best in town.

Our Picks

  • Custom Burger with Timbercreek Beef, Red, with American Cheese, on a Potato Roll
  • House Salad w/ Grilled Local Chicken
  • The Mini with Timbercreek Beef, Red, with American Cheese, on a Potato Roll

Owner’s Picks

  • Citizen Burger (Timbercreek beef, McClure swiss, black onion, garlic aioli, iceberg, tomato, house brioche, fried pickle)
  • House Salad
  • The Mini with Timbercreek Beef, Red, with American Cheese, on a Potato Roll
  • Custom Grilled Cheese with cheddar, Swiss, bacon, tomato, and a side of blue cheese dressing to dip
  • Cheese Fries

Five Finds on Friday Picks

Five Finds on Friday: Arley Arrington


Photo by Amy Jackson.

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Arley Arrington of Arley Cakes, who also makes desserts for Brookville.  This Monday is Pi Day – 3/14 – and Brookville is celebrating with a pop-up pie shop, from 12 – 6 pm, offering Arrington’s creations.  Details here.  Arrington’s picks:

1) Meta Burger at Mel’s Cafe.  “I love Mel’s with all my heart – partially, because I think it is important to support minority-owned businesses, and because they always ask about my recent vacation, and notice my haircut, and are excited to meet my friends. But also because of the Meta Burger. Grilled onion, Swiss cheese, and a perfectly greasy burger on rye bread for $3. That can’t be beat.”

2) Tuna Tostada at Continental Divide.  “While I am a daily purveyor of incredible amounts of sugar, I don’t actually have much of a sweet tooth myself. I love food that has a good balance of savory and sweet. Fresh tuna with goat cheese and mango chutney makes my heart sing.”

3)  Prosciutto and Blue Cheese Sandwich at Market Street Market.  “Everyone always talks about their $5 special, which seems cool, but I have never ever regretted opting out of that for this sandwich. Again, it’s got the sweet and savory combo that I love, topped with honey, pear, and basil.”

4) Chicken Kao Soi at Monsoon Siam.  “Years ago, a friend clued me in to this fairly regional, hard to find, dish.  It’s been at least 3 years, and I haven’t looked back since. It has so many of my favorite things–curry, coconut milk, and pickle.”

5) Chicken & Waffles at Brookville.  “This was the first chicken & waffles I ever had. It ruined me. Set the bar way too high. Led to a lot of disappointment. Fortunately, I have pretty good access to Brookville’s version.”

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