On the corner of Garth Road and Free Union Road sits Hunt Country Market & Deli — a store that combines gourmet food options with a sandwich shop and gas station. Owned by Charlottesville local Nancy Kallander and often staffed by her children — Ben Smith and Carrie Smith — Hunt Country Market has been a favorite of Charlottesville residents since its opening in 2003. Whether you are craving a home cooked meal, or a fresh deli sandwich, Hunt Country Market is a fantastic option for local grub.
Growing up just minutes from Hunt Country Market, it was the easiest place to grab a bite or a cold drink whenever I was leaving my house. For University students, it is a short 10 minute drive to the store. Hunt Country Market has ample parking options, and it is wheelchair accessible. Hunt Country Market is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturdays and closed all day Sundays.
While the store is located slightly further from Grounds than LittleJohn’s or Take It Away, it is well worth the drive. Leaving the University, stay on Garth Road until you pass Foxfield, and you will see the quaint white store with a green roof on your right. The drive from the University to the store is easy and beautiful, and it is a perfect way to get some distance from Grounds on a warm spring day. One of my favorite things to do is to get sandwiches to-go from Hunt Country on my way to hikes or swims at Sugar Hollow, a natural swimming hole further up Garth Road.
Walking into Hunt Country Market, I am always greeted with the aroma of fresh bread, baked goods or home-cooked meals. The store has an incredibly cozy, local and colorful atmosphere in the inside. The sandwiches and homemade dinner options are made-to-order right in front of you in their small kitchen. While many customers order their food to take out, there is a small table in the inside of the store if you prefer to sit inside, but there is also seating just outside the store if the weather is nice. The store’s walls are lined with their various arrays of chips, snacks, sodas and brews. The staff is always incredibly friendly and hardworking. With a relatively small staff, upon walking in the store I often see the same faces, making the store feel all the more family-run and local. Hunt Country Market has plenty of Charlottesville regular customers who are known on a first-name basis. I love walking in there, knowing I am ordering food made by a real person right in front of me. Today, amidst hundreds of chain restaurants, getting lunch at Hunt Country Market feels much more intimate and local.
Hunt Country Market not only has a fantastic menu of specialty sandwiches, but also sells homemade breakfast sandwiches in the mornings and homemade dinners available for pickup every evening Monday through Friday. Often using the classic “Joy of Cooking” cookbook for their dinner recipes, according to Carrie Smith, they provide meals that are always simplistic, comforting and home-cooked. Hunt Country’s most popular sandwich, the “After the Hunt,” is served on two slices of a baguette from a local bakery, Albemarle Baking Company, filled with turkey, bacon, avocado, cucumber, lettuce, tomato, sprouts and boursin spread. This sandwich has always been my favorite and tastes incredibly fresh, light and flavorful. The cucumber, sprouts and lettuce make for a green and healthy crunch, which pairs fantastically with the soft avocado and boursin spread. Always packed with a hearty amount of turkey, the “After the Hunt” always fills me up, and is well worth the price of $6.99.
As the cold winter months continue, I love to order the “Harvest” sandwich. The “Harvest” is a warm baguette sandwich with hot turkey, brie and apple butter. Stripped of all the extra additions, this sandwich tastes simplistic yet bursts with flavor and a hint of warm spice from the apple butter. It is the perfect cold-weather sandwich when I am craving something warm and comforting — there’s nothing quite like oozing melted brie on a high-quality baguette, and any brie-lover will adore this sandwich.
If you prefer to stick to the traditional deli sub, Hunt Country’s “Italian Stallion” is their authentic take on a traditional Italian sub. Served on a baguette, this sandwich has ham, salami, pepperoni, provolone, lettuce, tomato, onion and vinaigrette — all the ingredients necessary for a proper Italian sub.
Beyond their sandwiches, Hunt Country is the best place to buy your favorite locally-made food and drinks. They sell various local items that are difficult to find elsewhere such as Potter’s Craft Ciders, Starr Hill Craft Beers, muffins from Orange Dot Baking Company, Nightingale Ice Cream Sandwiches, Homestead Creamery ice cream and more.
Hunt Country Market’s sandwiches on their menu are $6.99 each, an affordable price for a sandwich that beats many other more pricey alternatives around Charlottesville. For $6.99, you are getting fresh ingredients such as Albemarle Baking Company breads and Boar’s Head meats. While some other sandwich restaurants sell sandwiches for $10 or more, Hunt Country Market does an amazing job of keeping their prices down, but not letting the quality suffer for it. Their other snack and drink items range in price — however, there is an option for every budget. Overall, I always feel like my dollar is well-spent at Hunt Country Market, supporting a local family-owned business.
For 17 years, the Hunt Country Market has provided Charlottesville residents and students with quality sandwiches and an impressive selection of local snacks. I highly recommend taking a short drive out to the Hunt Country Market & Deli the next time you want high quality supplies for a picnic or are just craving a quality sandwich. The market has great food, great people, great service and great prices. Whatever you decide to order, you can’t go wrong with Hunt Country.