The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: The Fitzroy

#5: Fried Chicken Sandwich – The Fitzroy


The Fried Chicken Sandwich

When an expert panel of chefs, historians, and others once convened to determine Charlottesville’s signature dish, the fried chicken sandwich received strong consideration. Fried chicken has a long history in the region, and sandwiches of it are all over Charlottesville. It’s one of the deepest sandwich categories in town.

Among a stellar lot, the most crave-inducing comes from the The Fitzroy. The difference is in the details. First, boneless chicken thighs receive a soak in a honey-dill brine. Rinse and drain thoroughly before another soak, this time in buttermilk, for several hours. Next comes a dredging in flour and spices and then, finally, they are fried. The finished thighs are placed atop a brioche bun with sliced pickles. The final twist is the addition of lemon to the cayenne-spiked aioli that gets smeared on the bun. The touch of acid works, and may be the difference-maker that has turned this into an industry favorite, drawing those who discover it back to The Fitzroy just to get their fix.

#5: Fried Chicken Sandwich – The Fitzroy
The Charlottesville 29 of Sandwiches

Others of Note: Ol’ Dirty Biscuit at Ace Biscuit & Barbecue, Fried Chicken Sandwich at Bizou, Shack Style Chicken Sandwich at Taste Shack (GFA), The Mother Clucker at Multiverse Kitchens. Vegetarian Alternatives: Crispy Artichoke Sandwich at Belle, Oyster Mushroom Sandwich at Multiverse Kitchens

#11: Pig Mac – Little Star

The Pork Sandwich

Some chefs love food unconditionally.

Take Ryan Collins of Little Star. Collins’ taste for refined cooking is not surprising, given his eight years working for one of the most famous chefs in the world. But, his love for food does not stop there, as his heart is open to deliciousness in any form — and from any source, whether a Michelin starred restaurant, the taco trucks he chases around town, or anywhere really.

And so, on his restaurant’s menu, alongside fancy fare like beef tartare and seared tuna with foie gras, you will find a sandwich inspired by the plebeian pleasures of fast food. McDonald’s Big Mac famously combines (sing it) two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun. Replace the beef patties with a pork cutlet and you have Little Star’s Pig Mac.

Collins pounds the cutlet thin, breads it, and fries it, just as is done with the tenderloin sandwiches of the Midwest, one of America’s most beloved pork sandwiches. Then come all of the Big Mac toppings, yet, unlike at a fast food franchise, Little Star’s has the attention detail of a chef whose love of food runs deep. Collins is a sandwich fiend, and once he gets fixated on a sandwich, he cannot relent until he feels he has gotten it right. His passion and talent drive him to obsess over every aspect of its preparation, as he has done in the past with deli-style subs. And, now he has done it again. The Pig Mac captures what people love about the fast food icon, and takes it to even greater heights.

#11: Pig Mac – Little Star
The Charlottesville 29 of Sandwiches

Others of Note: Dave’s Roast Pork at Chickadee, The Squeal at Kitchen(ette). Vegetarian Alternative: Grilled Broccolini and Mozz at The Fitzroy

Five Finds on Friday: Alicia Simmons


Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Alicia Simmons, sous chef of Tavola, which has just enhanced its already-stellar pasta dishes by switching to house-made linguine, bucatini, and pappardelle. Check it out at their Eat Well, Do Good fundraisers, each month in Tavola’s Cicchetti bar, where you can enjoy platters of bucatini and meatballs with proceeds going to charity. Follow along on Tavola’s Facebook page for details and dates. Simmons’ picks:

1) Fried Chicken Sandwich at The Fitzroy. “Charlottesville has no shortage of good fried chicken, but this sandwich is a stand-out. The chicken is always perfectly crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, but the lemon cayenne aioli really takes this sandwich to the next level. It has the perfect amount of kick to it without being overbearing.”

2) Salted Dark Chocolate Sorbet at Brasserie Saison. “If I’m on the downtown mall, I always try to stop into Brasserie to try whatever flavor of gelato or sorbet is on special. There is always a new and inventive flavor I want to try. That being said, I love the salted dark chocolate sorbet in particular. As a chocolate lover, I really appreciate when a kitchen can take what seems to be a simple concept but then perfectly executes it—in this case, chocolate sorbet that is silky, rich, and balanced with the hint of salt at the end.”

3) Fried Catfish at Oakhart Social. “I love Nashville, and the Nashville hot sauce on this dish brings me straight back to one of my favorite cities. There’s nothing like perfectly fried catfish that melts in your mouth. This dish has a great amount of heat that is balanced with the napa cabbage and apple salad—not to mention the addition of pimento cheese, one of my favorite Southern classics.”

4) Wings at Doma. “I can’t choose just one flavor. I usually go for both the Korean Hot and the Sweet Chili. One of the things I love about these wings is that they’re just as good on the go as they are when you’re dining in. They’re definitely one of my cravings on a busy work day when I don’t have time to cook (for myself!).”

5) House Gin and Tonic at Tavola’s Cicchetti Bar. “I always look forward to the Cicchetti Bar’s Gin and Tonic at the end of a long shift. The house made tonic is packed with citrus, so it almost feels like I’m drinking something healthy. The way they add a little vermouth to the mix really smooths out the bite that’s usually associated with gin. This drink is a must have for summer nights.”

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