The Charlottesville 29

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

The 2018 Charlottesville 29: Tavern & Grocery


The 2018 Charlottesville 29 is here, answering: if there were just 29 restaurants in the Charlottesville area, what would be the ideal 29? One restaurant will be added each day, until The 2018 Charlottesville 29 is complete.

Next up is Tavern & Grocery, a versatile and welcoming tavern offering great food, drinks, and cheer. Why Tavern & Grocery? See the Tavern & Grocery guide, with ordering recommendations from the chef and appearances in Five Finds on Friday, where other chefs have named a dish from Tavern & Grocery one of the best in town.

Tavern & Grocery

333 West Main Street. Charlottesville, VA . (434) 293-7403

Why Tavern & Grocery?

With Citizen Burger BarThe Virginian, and The Biltmore all to his name, serial restaurateur Andy McClure is well-proven at watering holes. Tavern & Grocery, opened in 2016, has shown that McClure can excel at more refined dining as well. It’s his best restaurant yet.

The talented young kitchen is led by David Morgan, former sous chef at acclaimed restaurants like Clifton Inn and Ian Boden’s Staunton Grocery, who is equally adept at elaborate dishes as he is at comforting, gussied-up versions of tavern classics. The drink program is overseen by McClure’s brother Patrick, a certified cicerone with experience at some of Washington D.C.’s top bars, who also runs the restaurant’s downstairs speakeasy, Lost Saint.

But, fancy résumés aside, McClure is still a bar-lover at heart. And, Tavern & Grocery is no frou-frou place. It’s a versatile, jeans-friendly tavern where you can choose your own adventure – from a leisurely evening of drinks and snacks with friends, to family night, to an elaborate meal for a date night or business dinner. It also offers one of the tastiest and most convivial brunches in town.

What to Order

From spot-hitting sandwiches to cheffy specials, it’s hard to go wrong. Below are our picks, the chef’s picks, and appearances in Five Finds on Friday, where a local chef or personality has named an item from Tavern & Grocery as one of the best in Charlottesville.

Our Picks

  • Steak & Fromage 
  • Crispy Chicken Sandwich
  • Burger
  • Braised Baby Squid
  • Specials
  • Croque Madame (brunch)

Chef’s Picks

  • Steak & Fromage
  • Crispy Chicken Sandwich
  • Burger
  • Specials

Five Finds on Friday Picks

  • Steak & Fromage Steve Yang (Tavola Cicchetti Bar)
  • MartinezRyan Collins (formerly, Early Mountain Vineyard)

The Charlottesville 29 Bubble

Charlotesville29_Logo_2018When making final cuts to The Charlottesville 29 each year, I always make the same observation: the list of restaurants omitted from The Charlottesville 29 is greater testimony to the quality of Charlottesville dining than those actually on the 29. As in, if ___ is not one of our area’s essential 29 restaurants, we must have a remarkably deep dining scene. The number of restaurants that could fill in that blank is striking, and ever-growing. We are blessed with so many good restaurants in Charlottesville, run by talented and passionate people who really care, that many do not make the list.

Indeed, right at the project’s inception many years ago, the arbitrariness of the number “29” was recognized as one of its flaws. The number is a nod towards the 29th Infantry Division Memorial Highway, better known as Route 29. But, this site could just have easily set out to recognize a different number of restaurants. The task would be much easier, although perhaps less meaningful, had the site been named after I-64.

A sports world analogy is illustrative. It’s almost March, which means the annual debates have begun among men’s college basketball fans about the “bubble” – who belongs in the NCAA tournament and who does not. As several unlucky teams learn each year, a cold and uncaring divide separates invited teams from those who are not. The NCAA Selection Committee extends 36 at-large bids, and there is rarely any significant difference between the 36th most deserving team and the 37th. Yet, one plays in the most exciting basketball tournament on earth. And, one does not.

The Charlottesville 29 has a similarly harsh cut-off. Little separates the 29th most deserving restaurant from the 30th. And as with the NCAA Selection Committee’s choices, while there are some restaurant entries with which most would agree, there may be others on which reasonable minds could differ.

Just a few slots remain in the The 2018 Charlottesville 29, with one announced each day this week. Even beyond the few who claim a slot, there are many more restaurants that make Charlottesville proud. The march to 29 continues.


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