Restaurants in Charlottesville, VA

In the late 19th century, Gordonsville, Virginia, was known as the Chicken Leg Center of the Universe because the town’s “chicken ladies” used to stand on the train platform offering trays full of fried chicken and biscuits to travelers. Gordonsville honors that heritage with a Fried Chicken Festival every May, but the great fried chicken in this area is 20 miles southwest of town, in and around the city of Charlottesville. What’s interesting about Charlottesville’s best chicken is that most of it is sold from gas-station convenience stores, some of which have a few tables, some of which don’t. Two notable exceptions to the gas-station rule are Wayside Takeout & Catering, where the motto is “This Chicken ‘Clucks’ For You”; and Ace Biscuit & Barbecue. Fried chicken isn’t even a headliner at Ace, but it’s succulent and its buttermilk crust is crisp and super-flavorful. It stars in a dish called the Dirty Biscuit: chicken thighs topped with sausage gravy on one half, and a blanket of sweet-pepper pimiento cheese and a couple of thick pickle chips on the other half. Ace’s barbecue is swell, too — pulled pork available with a range of sauces and ribs that are described as “belly on a bone.”

Charlottesville’s Most Famous Dishes

Tall, gnarled-top light gold biscuit

Biscuits

A bowl of soft-cooked collard greens shows bits of pork

Collard Greens

Macaroni & cheese, spangled with herbs, comes in a small cast-iron pot

Macaroni and Cheese

Two slices of BBQ brisket, one lean, the other supersucculently fatty

BBQ Brisket

Charlottesville’s Best Restaurants

Ace Biscuit & Barbecue

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

Fried chicken thigh enveloped in crunchy golden crust
Wayside Takeout & Catering

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

Brown’s

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

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