Charlottesville’s focus on locally sourced ingredients and patient and passionate preparation has resulted in some of the most enjoyable coffee and specialty shops in the city. Whether it is a cup of artfully crafted coffee, a warm, weekend brunch, or a sweet afternoon bite, we’ve mapped out the top five places to sit back and enjoy a relaxing treat in this rich, culinary city.
The Mudhouse coffee shop serves house-roasted coffees from around the world in a relaxed and vintage setting. They are committed to social and environmental sustainability when sourcing, roasting, and conducting all aspects of their business.
Mudhouse has received the “Best Coffee Shop in Town” award from C-VILLE Weekly magazine year after year and is truly a staple in the Charlottesville community.
Rachel Pennington’s goal is to recreate the feelings she used to have when baking with her grandmothers. At The Pie Chest, she crafts both sweet and savory, traditional American pies from scratch daily.
Most flavors change with the seasons: fruit in summer, pumpkin in fall, nut in winter; but many pies like apple and chocolate silk remain all year long. Their savory pies experiment with ingredients like chicken, bacon and roasted garlic, but The Pie Chest also offers daily vegan and gluten-free options. If they don’t happen to have your favorite flavor, there is always something new to try!
The Shenandoah Joe coffee roasters have brought a new coffee education to the people of Charlottesville. It takes a certain understanding to sift through the wide array of origins, types, and roasts the shop provides. The large roaster itself sits among the sofas and chandeliers of the cafe giving everyone who visits a lesson and a show.
The MarieBette bakery is a true embodiment of the phrase “made with love.” The shop is named after the owners’ daughters and serves warm, freshly baked products daily.
Brunch is the shop’s busiest time of day with star dishes including the stuffed French toast, the kale salad, and the incredibly fluffy lemon ricotta pancakes. The simple presentation and minimalist ingredients let the locally sourced products shine as the most important parts of the dish.
Gearharts Fine Chocolates is dedicated to creating traditional and exotic chocolate and dessert creations to satisfy every taste, making it hard to choose just one. They offer everything from candies to dipped fruits to cakes and cookies and they experiment with flavors such as dried cherry, cardamom, Kentucky bourbon, and ancho chili.
The treats are truly magical due to the care and attention paid to each one, and you can watch this delicate process first hand from the open display window while you snack.
Text and photo: Edu Bayer