The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: The Charlottesville 29

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)

Someone Brought Me Cheese


Someone brought me cheese, and it got me thinking. This was a good thing, and not just because it took my mind off negronis. It was good because it lured me beyond my usual reflecting on the Charlottesville food community this time actually to write about it. Every day I see reminders of how blessed we are to live in a food community as special as ours. If I had more time, I would record them all. Each moment. Alas, other priorities prevent it – a beautiful wife, kids I want to spend every minute with, and, oh yeah, my real job.

I was at Lampo. With me were folks from a national food magazine, visiting for a project about Charlottesville. My role was to help connect the magazine with people and places that showcase the best of Charlottesville. This seemed made for me. Celebrating Charlottesville’s food and drink, after all, is why I started writing about it in the first place.  We are the little food city that could.

Lampo knew we were coming. And so, after we ordered and settled into geeky food talk, one of the co-owners visited with a gift. But, instead of a dish made by Lampo’s talented chefs, the gift was simply a board of cheese: two from Twenty Paces – Noah’s Arcade and Commander Chicory (aka Ewe’r My Boy Blue), and one from Caromont Farm – Esmontonian. “While you’re in town,” he explained, “we thought you might want to taste some of our area’s great products.”

I was struck.

Here was Lampo’s chance to pound their chest and show off – a captive audience from a magazine capable of reaching thousands. My guests surely would have been wowed by any of their dishes to make Five Finds on Friday, The Charlottesville 29 2016 or 2015 Dish of the Year, or the annual list of chefs’ Best Thing I Ate All Year. But, Lampo sent out none of those. What Lampo chose to show off was Charlottesville.

In other cities, similar circumstances might trigger a restaurant to pull out all the stops to wow their visitors, like a child repeating to her parent: “Watch this! Watch this!”  Instead, Lampo said: “Look what our friends can do.”

That’s Charlottesville.

Never for money, always for love.

We are blessed.



700 Rose Hill Drive . Charlottesville, VA . (434) 529-6118

Why MarieBette?

MarieBette is a throwback. While other restaurants try to make history, MarieBette Cafe and Bakery follows it. Owners Patrick Evans and Jason Becton look to the past, serving up faithful renditions of classic, mostly French, breakfast, lunch, and pastries.

And so, there is no pork belly in the Croque Monsieur, no wasabi in the Tuna Nicoise, and the baked eggs are, well, baked eggs. Throw in a breezy, cozy space and local art on the walls, and you’ve got a little slice of Paris on Rose Hill Drive. No wonder some transplants from France say it takes them back home.

What to Order

My son says he plans to take over The Charlottesville 29 one day, and practices by assessing the area’s best versions of his favorite foods. His first two categories are pancakes and chocolate chip cookies, and, after thorough research, he rates MarieBette first for both.

Also not to be overlooked is the pleasure of a simple breakfast. You know those warm breakfasts at boutique hotels that remind you how satisfying a plate of well-prepared eggs can be? MarieBette offers it seven days a week. Below is a list of other suggestions, Evans’ and Becton’s favorites, and appearances in Five Finds on Friday, where a local chef or personality has named a MarieBette dish as one of the best in town.

Our Picks

Chef/Owners’ Picks

  • Apple Galette (Evans)
  • Bacon, Egg, and Cheddar on a Croissant (Evans)
  • Croque Madame (Evans)
  • Stuffed French Toast (Becton)
  • Tuna Nicoise (Becton)

Five Finds on Friday Picks

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