Brownsville Market

Chicken Dinner | Grocery Store
Worth a detour

Of course, one expects to eat excellent fried chicken in Virginia. In and around Charlottesville, some of the best of it is served in the most unexpected places: national brand gas stations that, from the outside, appear to have no distinct personality whatever. Even when you step inside Brownsville Market, located in a Shell station, a quick look around suggests that the inventory of edibles is nothing other than typical convenience-mart fare. However, inhaling provides hope. The air is perfumed by the luxurious smell of frying chicken.

Straight ahead as you enter, beyond the cash register, is a small food service area where customers get takeaway sandwiches, pork chops, burgers, and moist-meat chicken sheathed in a crisp, butter-rich crust. There is nothing wild about this chicken; the seasoning is just-right salty with perhaps a hint of herbs, the oil in which it’s fried (peanut oil?) is fresh enough to make its flavor verge on health food.

There are all sorts of typical southern side dishes to accompany the chicken and an alternative entry that we’d never suggest getting instead of fried chicken, but which should be sampled by aficionados of mid-20th century home-ec cuisine: chicken broccoli casserole, gooped with plenty of cheese and soft noodles. It really is more old-style home cooking than modern-day restaurant cooking. Maybe you’d call it classic school cafeteria cooking.

Breakfast also is served.

What to Eat
Brownsville Market, Fried Chicken
Fried Chicken
Enveloped in full-flavored crust, thigh is heavy with juices.
Brownsville Market, Chicken & Broccoli Casserole
Chicken & Broccoli Casserole
Chicken & broccoli casserole: mainstay of unfashionable American cookery.
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
6 stops | 46 MILES | 1 hr 7 min

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…

Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Chicken Coop

    Lovingston, Virginia

    It’s a gas-station restaurant, but the Chicken Coop serves memorable Virginia fried chicken. While ideal piping hot, it stays delicious for hours.

  • Ace Biscuit & Barbecue

    Charlottesville, Virginia

    Ace of Charlottesville, Virginia, makes everything from scratch, extraordinarily well. Not just biscuits and BBQ; also pancakes, waffles & fried chicken.

  • Brown’s

    Charlottesville, Virginia

    A Charlottesville gas-station mini-mart, Brown’s serves some of the best fried chicken in an especially chicken-rich part of Virginia.

  • Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie

    North Garden, Virginia

    An exuberantly hip Virginia restaurant with a menu of excellent pizzas, Dr. Ho’s also offers fabulous locally-sourced salads and the best hot milk cake.

  • Mrs. Rowe’s Family Restaurant

    Staunton, Virginia

    A large, tourist-friendly restaurant just off I-81 in Staunton, Mrs. Rowe’s is an easy opportunity to enjoy southern comfort-food classics, three meals a day.

  • Orlean Market

    Marshall, Virginia

    A century-old country store in rural Virginia, the Orlean Market serves excellent, from-scratch meals. Locally baked layer cakes are to die for.