Feel at home at the Bluegrass Grill and Bakery

A unique and folksy restaurant downtown serves a show stopping breakfast


The building itself is made of almost entirely glass, which allows for both a unique appearance and plenty of natural light inside the restaurant.  

Sarah Lindamood | Cavalier Daily

One of the most important lessons I earned from the process of sorority rush is about brunch. After making small talk for hours on end, it has become clear to me that every single person loves not only eating brunch, but also talking about brunch, giving brunch recommendations and sharing their sweet or savory preference. It is not only the most important meal of the day, but also the universal equalizer in any conversation. 

So, what restaurant in particular should you use to break the ice the next time conversation is moving a little too slowly? My answer is the Bluegrass Grill and Bakery. Located in the Glass Building off of the Downtown Mall, this restaurant is one-of-a-kind. The building itself is made of almost entirely glass, which allows for both a unique appearance and plenty of natural light inside the restaurant.  

The decor is fun and quirky — in many ways it reminds me of an antique store. There is a banjo hanging from the wall and lots of bacon paraphernalia everywhere, including a flow chart answering the question, “should you eat the bacon?” — spoiler: you should. The servers are not flashy or overly friendly, and all of the drinks come in non-matching mugs that look like they could have been pulled from someone’s personal collection.  

All of these small details give the restaurant a very comfortable and homey atmosphere and made sharing a table — which is not uncommon considering how small the dining area is — feel a lot less weird. 

Bluegrass Grill is a cult favorite among many Charlottesvillians, so a long wait is common, especially on the weekend. I would definitely recommend treating yourself to a weekday brunch instead of facing the Sunday morning crowds, especially if you’re hungry. I went on a Tuesday morning, and we waited about 10 minutes for a table.

The brunch menu at Bluegrass Grill includes all of the classics, with a slight southern flair. All of the pastries are homemade and the menu is very vegetarian and gluten-free friendly. The items that stood out to me were their many different potato hashes — which seemed to be everyday hash browns all grown up.

I ended up choosing the P4 hash which consisted of  “a bed of home fried potatoes” with spinach, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, mozzarella and feta. I added an over-easy fried egg and the hash came with my choice of a homemade biscuit or toast. I chose the biscuit and had no regrets. My sister ordered the pancakes with a side of cheesy grits, and we were able to place our order as soon as we wanted — a huge relief considering how hungry we were. 

The drinks came out right away. The Shenandoah Joe coffee was excellent as always, and I was not surprised to find they served a local and organic brand. However, I was shocked by how delicious the hot chocolate was. Personally, I usually find hot chocolate unmemorable at best and far too similar to lukewarm sugar water at worst, however, I have not been able to stop thinking about this one. Their hot chocolate — rich and creamy without being too sweet and topped with a thick whipped cream — was a show stopper. 

My only complaint about our meal is that it took a pretty long time to get our food. Although the restaurant was full, it didn’t seem to be quite busy enough to justify how long we waited for our food. Although I can’t say for sure, I would have to guess that it took about 35 minutes, a significant amount of time considering it is a relatively casual restaurant. 

However, once we got the food, all was forgiven. My potato hash was one of the best brunch dishes I have ever had. The spinach, cheese and tomato worked beautifully together and the ratio of potato to vegetable was perfect. The potatoes themselves were cooked perfectly, crunchy on the outside without being too greasy, as some hash browns tend to be. The egg was the perfect addition, adding some much needed protein and a unique texture from the runny yolk. The biscuit was very crumbly and fresh and absolutely delicious smothered in butter. 

Although I usually stay away from sweet breakfast foods, my poor sister had to fight me for her pancakes. They were delightfully simple, and the chefs at Bluegrass have mastered the perfect consistency for pancakes. They were very fluffy without being too thick and not at all sickly sweet. Although a little bland, the cheesy grits were my ideal texture and amazing with just a little salt. When we were finally stuffed, we were able to pay very quickly, although there was a brief moment of stress because they only take cash.

Overall, brunch was excellent and I would definitely add Bluegrass Grill and Bakery to the “before you graduate” list of restaurants. Just be sure you have enough cash and lots of time.

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