Best brunch spots in Charlottesville

Recommendations for those seeking the most out of their weekend brunching

Upon arriving to the University, I had only “Sunday brunched” a couple of times. Yes, I’d had brunch before, but the ceremonious breakfast-lunch hybrid with a big group of friends, bottomless mimosas, frittatas and country biscuits was a fairly new concept to me. But in Charlottesville, a place that could be dubbed the Brunch Capital of Central Virginia, Sunday brunch is an institution that is held dear to the hearts of locals and students alike. For this instillation of my C’ville adventures, I’ve conducted tireless research of every notable brunch spot within city limits. Hopefully this list of rankings will introduce you to old favorites or new twists to make your Sundays a little bit less lazy.

For those who don’t want to travel far: The Pigeon Hole

The Pigeon Hole is right down Elliewood Avenue off the Corner, and the quaint vibe (i.e. mason jars, blankets for the patio) is one that every student should experience. Recommendations: biscuit basket, Pigeons in a Hole and mac and cheese.

For those who don’t want to break the bank: The Villa

Located right next to the Cavalier Inn and across from Carr's Field, The Villa is slowly but surely becoming my favorite nearby brunch spot. It’s easy, tasty and inexpensive brunch food that anyone can get behind. Recommendations: bacon and swiss omelet and the french toast.

For those who want a taste of the South: The Whiskey Jar

I took my parents here during Family Weekend my first year and they routinely ask to go back. The Whiskey Jar is famous for its traditional Southern cuisine, locally-sourced food and barbeque, and sits right at the end of the Downtown Mall. Recommendations: chicken and waffles and eggs benedict.

For those who want to step back in time: The Nook

Nicknamed “Charlottesville’s original Downtown Diner,” The Nook owns its reputation with a classic atmosphere and really delicious food. I once ordered a milkshake for breakfast and then was later informed that it’s totally normal, so that’s cool. Recommendations: everything is tasty, but I’m a sucker for the Mess Hall.

For those who want a nearby, but elevated experience: Cafe Caturra

Cafe Caturra is one of the Corner’s fancier options, and you can tell upon arrival. It’s definitely the best spot if your parents are in town and you don’t want to drive anywhere. Recommendations: house-made biscuits and shrimp and grits.

For those who want lots and lots of tasty options: The Bluegrass Grill

This place is definitely my favorite spot on the list. With a bacon theme — they have both candied and chocolate-covered bacon — everything feels homemade and fresh. My sister, a tiny 14-year-old visiting from Atlanta, ordered chocolate chip pancakes and an omelet and ate everything. That’s saying a lot. Recommendations: home fries and bananas foster pancakes. Pro-tip: they only accept cash and checks, and the wait time can be over an hour at peak times!

For those who want a taste of the finer things: The Oakhurst Inn Cafe

The Oakhurst Inn Cafe is small, quaint and bit on the fancier side for those of us who live like college students. But the food is absolutely delicious and the atmosphere is really cozy, so if you decide you want to splurge on something close by, this is a great pick. Recommendations: mimosas and the breakfast sandwich.

For those who want to try something different: Beer Run

This place is stellar for those who have access to a car and want gluten-free options — although, they have lots of choices full of gluten as well. The food is outrageously tasty and if you’re over 21, they have an insane selection of libations. Recommendations: the El Guapo Breakfast Burrito and the egg-white omelet.

For those who want to take a trip to Europe: Mariebette Cafe

Finally, right off of Rose Hill Drive, Mariebette is the European-inspired bakery we all need in our lives. I went there for my birthday last year and would highly recommend everything on the menu. The restaurant features a spread of pastries and snacks upon arrival, so it’s a bit easy to get distracted by the tasty treats. Recommendations: pain au chocolat and quiche lorraine.

Honorable mentions:

1. Bodo’s Bagels (for those short on time), try their new pulled chicken with avocado!

2. Fig (for fresh and local food, nearby), they do an excellent flat bread!

3. Blue Moon Diner (for a home-cooked meal), I highly recommend their mac ‘n’ cheese, which, while not a traditional brunch food, can be enjoyed any time of day. 

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