The Cavalier Daily
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The White Spot: an iconic diner etched in student nightlife

The Corner diner fuels patrons with tasty grilled food and satisfying desserts

<p>With University students’ constant need for grilled food and late-night sweet treats, the restaurant will continue to be a staple of the Corner.&nbsp;</p>

With University students’ constant need for grilled food and late-night sweet treats, the restaurant will continue to be a staple of the Corner. 

At 1 a.m. after a late-night exam, I ventured to The White Spot with my date for the first time after hearing about the fan-favorite diner many times prior. As we walked into the home of the famous $7.00 Gus Burger, we were delighted to find comforting grilled classics and a bustling atmosphere. The White Spot is a timeless diner for Charlottesville residents and students looking for a greasy spoon infused with University spirit. 

The diner is located on the Corner at 1407 University Ave. They are open Mondays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Tuesdays through Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., accommodating University students’ busy academic and social schedules wonderfully. The space itself is compact, with a short line of stools facing the grill and small tables in an adjoining room, but the diner’s orange and blue walls and frames of Virginia athletes create an upbeat and intimate atmosphere.

The White Spot opened in 1953, making it one of the oldest businesses on the Corner alongside The Virginian. The building was originally occupied by the University Beauty Salon. When the salon eventually closed down, the owners left a circular spot on the tile floor where the salon’s main chair once stood. The White Spot subsequently took over the building, painted the gap white and found inspiration for the diner’s name in the process.   

When my date and I walked in, we met a cheerful worker behind the cash register who put in our order. Our table had a window overlooking the Corner, keeping us entertained with student nightlife passing by. From students in polos and crop tops on a bar crawl to those coming from the library, The White Spot served as a pitstop for anyone — post-frat or post-study session.

We started with The White Spot’s tuna melt, a cheesy, toasted sandwich filled with warm tuna and chopped celery pieces. The mix of crunchy and melted ingredients was satisfying — my only complaint was that the serving was small. I look forward to trying the tuna melt on a sub roll instead, as I’m sure there will be even more cheesy tuna goodness in my future.

After the sandwich, my date and I shared the diner’s famous Gus Burger, which was a traditional cheeseburger — a juicy patty, crunchy lettuce, tomato and cheese — but with the special addition of a fried egg on top. To any University student who has yet to try The White Spot, I’d recommend the Gus Burger above all else. It serves as the perfect snack, whether coming from an exam or from karaoke at Ellie’s Country Club.

Next, we ordered the shrimp basket, a plate piled with salted french fries and breaded shrimp. The shrimp was juicy and well-seasoned, complementing the french fries’ crispness and enhancing its flavor. Both the fish and shrimp were the perfect snack to follow the Gus Burger — my date and I could have snacked on the basket well into the night.

To top off our night, we ordered the apple pie a la mode — my favorite part of the meal, although it was a close tie with the Gus Burger. Each bite was a blend of sweet apple and buttery crust. A scoop of vanilla ice cream rested on top, balancing out the warmth of the sugary pie — but not too much to turn the dessert soupy. Although I loved the apple pie a la mode, next time I go to The White Spot, I dare say I’ll try their other appealing desserts — their GrillsWith, a fried pair of warm glazed donuts with ice cream, as well as their chocolate and lemon pies are calling my name.

My date and I left after our delicious meal around 2 a.m. Even in the early hours of the morning, hungry students were still arriving at the diner to top off their late-night study sessions or nights out. It was clear that the lively restaurant, with its polite staff and tasty cuisine, serves as a rest stop for all students.

The White Spot lives up to its greasy spoon name. I hope to go back to the diner soon to order their Gus Burger again and try new items. With University students’ constant need for grilled food and late-night sweet treats, the restaurant will continue to be a staple of the Corner. I, for one, will definitely keep coming back to The White Spot as an alumna long after I graduate.


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