Here are nine Charlottesville restaurants off-the-beaten-path but well worth trying. Better yet, all nine are within 30 minutes of Cedar Spring Inn. Some are closer than ten minutes away.
Charlottesville Restaurants #1 and #2: Cedar Spring Inn Favorites for Nearby Dining.
Choose chef-owned Fabio’s Ristorante Italiano when you want a casual Italian dinner less than 4 miles from Cedar Spring Inn. Diners will find the menu is ample, with Gourmet Pizza, Neapolitan or Sicilian Crust, Hot and Cold Subs, Stromboli and Calzone. Our favorites are the Pasta and Baked Dishes. Try the Penne Puttanesca or the Homemade Stuffed Veggie Shells. Or consider the Antipasto Chef’s Salad. It is a meal in itself.
Just a bit further from Cedar Spring Inn, Rhett’s River Grill and Raw Bar has always been a go-to for locals. Rhett’s has recently taken things up a notch with a new chef and new menu. Fish and seafood are the menu stars. Try the Fried Green Tomatoes and the She-Crab Soup. Good for lunch or dinner, with a daily Happy Hour limited menu from 3:00pm to 7:00pm and dinner served from 5:00pm. Consider the nightly specials during the week. For example, on Thursday night fried or steamed oysters are just $.75 each.
Charlottesville Restaurants #3 and #4: Wineries with Food Near Cedar Spring Inn
Palladio Restaurant at Barboursville Vineyard is a culinary gem of the area, about 20 minutes from Cedar Spring Inn. Enjoy Palladio’s 2, 3 or 4 course lunch from Wednesday through Sunday. They also serve a 4-course dinner on Friday and Saturday. You can order all meals with or without wine pairings. Reservations are highly recommended for lunch or dinner. You can also enjoy the excellent Barboursville wines with food at Library 1821. Here selected Barboursville vintages with culinary pairings start at $25. Library 1821 (also located at Barboursville Vineyard) is open on Friday from 2:00pm-7:00pm and Saturday through Monday from 11:00am until 5:00pm.
Early Mountain Vineyard has a luxurious tasting room voted #1 in America. This sounds a bit lofty but it is absolutely deserved. You will also enjoy the tasting room restaurant. The menu includes small plates, sandwiches, cheeses and charcuterie. The restaurant serves until 5:00pm or 6:00pm depending on the day (closed on Tuesday). While the menu is limited it is farm-to-table delicious. Early Mountain is about 20 minutes North of Cedar Spring Inn in Madison County, just a mile off Rt. 29.
Charlottesville Restaurants #5 and #6: Barbecue, Virginian and Peruvian
The Barbeque Exchange in Gordonsville, VA, is THE Central Virginia spot for Virginia Barbecue. The menu features hickory-smoked and slow-roasted pork and ribs, as well as chicken grilled over live coals. Available sides add the Southern touch. Try the Brunswick Stew (origin, Brunswick County, Virginia), Hushpuppies and Collard Greens among other sides. Gordonsville is a charming country town with a curated selection of genteel shops, but BBX is country casual all the way. This is a great stop if you are staying at Cedar Spring Inn and visiting Montpelier, or Barboursville, Horton or Reynard Florence Wineries.
Al Carbon Chicken is a gem hidden in plain sight on Rt. 29 just 15 minutes from Cedar Spring Inn. The Peruvian rotisserie chicken is roasted over coals and is juicy and flavorful. The sides are authentic to South America and include Fried Yucca, Roasted Cactus, Street Corn, Esquites and Fried Plantains. They also serve Mexican Cemitas, Tacos and other more familiar Mexican fare. Don’t leave without having the fresh Churros!
Charlottesville Restaurants #7, #8 and #9: Local Lunchtime Favorites near Cedar Spring Inn
If you are craving a burger, Charlottesville has all the “name brands”. You will find Citizen Burger on the Downtown Mall, Zinburger near UVA, Burger Bach in the Shops at Stonefield, Five Guys everywhere. But if you want that juicy burger on a squishy bun that you remember from when you were little, try Martin’s Grill. Just ten minutes from Cedar Spring Inn, you can’t go wrong for lunch or dinner. This is the place if you want a great burger with tasty sides at a value price. Similar and close by, Riverside North is another option. Try them both and tell us which you like best.
On the other hand, if a farm-to-table lunch is what you crave try Jack’s Shop Kitchen. Ten minutes from Cedar Spring Inn and situated in the heart of antique heaven, this unique spot is open until 3:00pm. The selective menu features snacks, soups, salads and sandwiches that highlight ingredients from local farms. Good for a late lunch after a hike in the Shenandoah National Park (check out our Five Great Hikes Blog Post) https://www.cedarspringinn.com/five-hikes-near-charlottesville-virginia/. Or stop by Jack’s Shop Kitchen after a few hours of serious antique shopping.