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A culinary ballet at Quirk Café

Experience a blissful pink brunch amidst tranquil elegance

Smoked salmon, herbed cream cheese, cucumber and several kinds of condiments blended wonderfully, each adding a layer of uniqueness to the flavor.
Smoked salmon, herbed cream cheese, cucumber and several kinds of condiments blended wonderfully, each adding a layer of uniqueness to the flavor.

In the heart of downtown Charlottesville, Quirk Café is a fantastic place for coffee and brunch enthusiasts alike. Located at 501 W Main St, close to the Quirk Hotel, this café offers a selection of locally roasted coffee, delectable treats and a contemporary atmosphere. Rooted in Virginia's historic charm, and inspired by the original Quirk Gallery in Richmond, this café is more than a place to eat — it’s an opportunity to indulge in cultural richness and an artistic atmosphere. 

On a sunny Saturday, my friend and I decided to visit Quirk Café. We wanted to embrace the fall season with an exquisite warm and satisfying brunch. The location was easy to find on Main Street and a 25-minute walk from Grounds. 

Venturing into Quirk Café, an extension of the Quirk Hotel, is an enchanting journey through Charlottesville's history and art. Its charming, comfortable and well-lit space exudes a modern, chic elegance. Housed in a charming red brick building, Quirk Café is vibrantly adorned with a spacious interior and pink-themed décor. The cafe provides various seating options, from the airy outdoors to cozy indoor settings and an elegant porch area. Each space, whether vast or intimate, is thoughtfully curated to suit different preferences.

The menu offered a rich tapestry of tastes from breakfast through lunch. Breakfast offerings range from the trendy avocado toast to lemon ricotta pancakes and the Quirk Classic Breakfast. For lunch, the menu abounds with a variety of salads like the Q Salad and Smoked Trout Salad. Notably, I found that the menu embodied inclusivity — multiple dietary needs and preferences are accommodated gracefully, which allows everyone to indulge in the diverse flavors. 

We started our meal with the stuffed French toast. It is a bit pricey at $16. This dish was a beautiful canvas of brioche bread elegantly paired with berries, berry cream cheese and a strawberry compote. Each mouthful was a harmonious blend of crispiness and soft warmth with syrup’s sweetness and fruit’s natural freshness. It was a perfect sweet bite for a splendid Saturday morning.

Next up was the smoked salmon bagel, a dish priced at $21, which was overpriced in my opinion. Slices of avocado and smoked salmon were aesthetically arranged atop the bagel. Despite the bagel lacking the usual chewiness, the overall taste of this dish left a remarkable impression. Smoked salmon, herbed cream cheese, cucumber and several kinds of condiments blended wonderfully, each adding a layer of uniqueness to the flavor. As a bagel lover, I was pleasantly surprised by this herbed cream cheese. Together with a side salad dressed in a bright vinaigrette, it helped balance the rich fatty flavors.

The Nitro Cold Brew from the tap was my beverage of choice. It cost $4, an average price. Each sip felt fresh and refreshing, waking up the senses. The nitro infusion created a silken texture, giving the brew a light and airy feel, while its powerful flavors came with a robust taste of coffee, making it a delightful sensory experience.

The dining experience was enhanced by the attentive and friendly staff. Their smiles were as warm as the ambiance when I first stepped into the cafe. The prompt service ensured our experience was smooth and enjoyable.

I enjoyed this blissful start to my weekend at Quirk Café, a hidden gem worth discovering. Offering an upscale — and rather pricey — experience, it is a destination for special moments with family and friends, as opposed to a regular weekly brunch spot. With a lively atmosphere and a variety of rich dishes, it promises an unforgettable weekend getaway. Quirk Café operates from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. 

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