4372 Ivy Road . Charlottesville, VA . (434) 293-8352
When you order dinner at Duner’s, the server will ask what kind of dressing you want with your salad. Throw in a basket of warm, yeasty bread wrapped in a cloth napkin, huge portions of rich food, and servers who remember you name, and you start to get the picture. This is an old school restaurant, the type of place you can take the parents and grandparents. Opened in 1983, it remains a Charlottesville institution, where lines out the door are the norm, especially on weekends.
What makes Duner’s worthy of The Charlottesville 29, though, is not its history or even the friendly service, but rather the food. Owner Bob Caldwell, who started as a Duner’s cook himself, has a knack for hiring chefs. Currently leading the kitchen is Hayden Berry, who cooked at Duner’s from 1988 through 2005 before returning in 2020.
What to Order
The menu changes literally every day at Duner’s, and is conveniently posted online. Given the frequent changes, specific dish recommendations may be less helpful than suggested categories. Below is a list of our suggestions, the chef’s own favorites, and appearances in Five Finds on Friday, where a local chef or personality has named a Duner’s dish as one of the best in town.
- Fried Oysters
- Fresh Pasta, such as Veal Scaloppine over House Made Fettuccine
- Rack of Lamb
- Fried Oysters
- House Made Potato Gnocchi w/ Duck Confit and Butternut Squash in a Brown Butter and Sage Sauce
- Crispy Fried Chicken Livers tossed w/ Caramelized Onions and Red Pepper Flakes over Stone Ground Grits w/ Bacon Aioli
- Crispy Fried Whole Flounder w/ Spicy Curry and Carrot Dipping Sauce and Basmati Rice
- Crab Cakes
- Veal Scaloppine over House Made Fettucine
Five Finds on Friday Picks
- Fried Oysters – Mark Otis (Personal Chef); Tim Gearhart (Gearharts Fine Chocolates); Alex Toomy (Ragged Branch Distillery)
- Dumplings – Elaina Mangione (Mangione’s on Main)
- Crab Cakes – Michael McCarthy (Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie)
- Grilled Sea Scallops – Laurel Bennett (wife of UVa Men’s Basketball Coach Tony Bennett)
- Deep Fried Flounder – Natasha Lawler (Feeding the Frontline)
- ANY dessert – Trish Clinton (formerly, The BBQ Exchange)
- Chocolate Truffle Torte – Sarah Humphrey (Fellini’s)