brr

Williamsburg, VA

48 posts in this topic

For my sins, I get to spend the weekend in Williamsburg with a 10, 8, 6 and 4 year old. While Busch Gardens is likely to feature prominently in our agenda, I was wondering if folks has any tips for family friendly, but good eateries in the Williamsburg area.

TIA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm still partial to the Green Leafe Cafe on Scotland Street after all these years because my grandparents owned it when I was growing up. It's still the local for most of the W&M faculty and upperclassmen and they have a ton of beer on tap and available these days. It's a nice place.

The Trellis and Berretts are a little more high end, but not exactly Citronelle quality. There are tons of Italian and "family" restaurants as well.

Other all time favorites include Mama Steve's Pancake House, the College Delly, and Paul's Deli.

Finally, this place is new to Williamsburg in that I haven't eaten there in a recent visit to my grandparents, but it looks interesting and I think I'm going to have to take them there: Cities Grille

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
STay away from the estabilshments in the historic area.  Is the "Trellis" still open?  If so, I recommend it.

I was not at all impressed with Trellis when I was there last. Williamsburg has lots of places to eat that are suitable for children in tow. I second staying away from the Historic area establishments, except if you are willing to pay the money, Shield's Tavern is kind of neat and the older kids will get a kick out of eating in the same place that George Washington, etc. ate.

For breakfast, there are several pancake houses around the historic area (where all the hotels that are next to the historic area are.) that are not bad for what they are.

If you visit Jamestown, and you should, the Polo Club Restaurant & Tavern (135 Colony Sq) is a good place to have lunch on the way back. Large portions and not expensive, good food (burgers, shrimp, etc.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would avoid the Trellis too. It's not a family-friendly place & the food isn't worth the price IMHO. If you must go, stop by just for dessert & coffee. Second Street restaurant and the Library Cafe are both good for burgers and casual eats. Regarding the delis, I would recommend Paul's. If you've never been to one of the taverns, you should definitely go. Each one serves different fare, so check out the menus online to help you decide. I like Christiana Campbell's for Chicken Chesapeake and spoon bread. King's Arms is very good too -- has a lot of game and hearty fare.

And, whatever you do, don't miss the Cheese Shop. Get the house dressing on your sandwich. Mmmm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks folks

hellish weekend - felt like it was 150 degrees at Busch gardens on Sat, long lines for everything - by the time we left and showered at the hotel, the most energy we could muster was to trek across the street to a Cracker Barrel, where we had, yes you guessed it, a 45 minute wait for a table!

by this time I was in a foul mood, and then as if by magic, a very good medium rib-eye steak arrived at my table!

I did stop by the Cheese Shop on Sunday for a look around - seems like a nice place - the timing wasn't right to get food there but they had Cashel Blue for $15 a pound which I thought was reasonable......

bad weekend to go to W'burg though...too hot

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has anyone been to the Fat Canary in Colonial Williamsburg? The only information I have on the restaurant is that it has gotten some great reviews, andt is owned by the same family that runs The Cheese Shop next door. Interestingly enough, the chef is a recent CIA grad named Thomas Power.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My husband and I spent a long weekend in Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg recently. We had the opportunity to visit the town and sample some of the shops and restaurants. The Fat Canary is connected to the Cheese Shop and there is a wine store downstairs. I inquired to see if they had a deal similar to Evening Star Cafe and Planet wine, which they do. If you see a wine downstairs that you would like to have with dinner, ask your server to get it and they charge a $10 corkage fee. Even better, if you want a white chilled, tell the person in the wine store to go ahead and chill it while you go on up to your reservation.

We attempted to get a reservation there on Sat., for Sunday dinner but alas they were booked and while we were put on the wait list, we didn't get a call. They do however, offer the menu at the bar.

We found ourselves on a very cold night, in the mood for bistro fare and sat ourselves at the bar of "The Blue Talon" bistro, were the bar service was genial and accomodating. While sipping a nice house white and watching on the large plasma tv not Olympics (thankyou) but classic Julia videos, we settled on an asparagus salad, braised beef and rotisserie chicken with side of frits.

The salad was greens lightly dressed in a sherry vinegarette, chilled roasted asparagus(salt, pepper, olive oil)sat atop, then topped by thin baguette slices with melted brie and finally topped with a poached egg. Lardons were interspersed generously.....very generously.

My braised beef was fork tender, but not falling apart. Carrots, pearl onions, turnips and fingerling potatoes were all happily sitting in a red wine sauce.

My husband's chicken looked juicy and the frits were crisp and perfectly salted, sitting upright wrapped in paper.

The entrees were under $20 and the salad was wait for it...........$7.95.

The Blue Talon Bistro website:

http://www.bluetalonbistro.com/indexAdam.html

Located near the intersection of Prince George St.and N. Henry St. Park at the garage (P1) entry on N. Henry. Only a buck an hour and beats the hell out of insane and impatient SUV drivers whipping through the free lots surrounding Merchant Square shops, looking for a space.

Other than that, we visited the Cheese Shop for lunch, but decided that in the time it would take to belly up to the 20 deep counter for a sammy, we could take a brisk (well, fricking face numbing) walk down to The King's Arms and get a seat and begin sipping peanut soup before we'd have said sammy in hand and then try to figure out were to park ourselves and eat. I mean, I like the Cheese Shop fare, but standing hungrily, shoulder to shoulder with my fellow hungry colonial interlopers for a half hour just to give my order would probably end in a violent act on my part. I don't know what, but I just had a feeling.

At The King's Arms, we were greeted? by a young woman who I can only assume was playing the part of Colonial Wench, very well might I say. After giving the number in our party, and asking timidly about the wait time, she snapped back that it would be about 15 minutes, which it was.

While warming my butt by the real fire in the waiting area, I lamented that it was a shame that Midol wasn't invented during Colonial times and that those poor women must have suffered only second to the men around them.

On to lunch, our server was kind, the place itself is rather shabby and run down, but the peanut soup brought me back to why I like eating there every now and then, even though it's overpriced and very underwhelming. By that, I refer to the ham and cheese sammy for $12, and cheeseburger, um grilled chopped sirloin, for the same.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has anyone ever eaten at Pierce's Pit BBQ in Williamsburg. A friend was raving about it and I thought we might check it out this weekend during out annual sojourn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I grew up in Virginia Beach, and would whenever we would trek over to Williamsburg a stop at Pierce's Pit BBQ was always in order. It is delicious BBQ and am positive that you will enjoy yourself when you stop by.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Any recent recommendations? Fat Canary still worth a visit?

I enjoyed the Blue Talon, a french bistro nearby W&M. I had a classic salad with asparagus, lardons and topped with a poached egg. My husband had a nice roast chicken with frites. I'd highly recommend it. And, the prices are fantastic. Peruse the website for food and wine specials.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I second the suggestion for the Blue Talon, which reopened a month ago after a fire last fall. And unfortunately, I must also second the advice to avoid the Trellis. The Trellis was one of my favorite restaurants for a number of years (beginning with lovely lunches outside on Merchant's Square when it first opened and I was still a student at William & Mary). I have not been to the Trellis for several years, but I have recommended it to several friends, each of whom has reported a mediocre, overpriced experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Any recent recommendations? Fat Canary still worth a visit?

I liked Cities Grill fine and for being out in the back-country the wine attached wine shop (the de-facto wine list) was very nice. It ain't CiyZen, but it had good food well-prepared.

Some more suggestions here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Friends in the Williamsburg area took us to A Chef's Kitchen a few months ago. We'd never seen a restaurant being run this way before, and had a great time.

As the Chef explained, he and his wife happened upon an episode of Emeril on a bar tv when they were out one evening. (Strange, no?) He noticed that only the "special" people in the front got to sample what was being prepared during the show, and felt bad for the rest of the audience. Thus, he decided to create a resaurant where the cooking was done in front of the guests, similar to the live tv format, and everyone gets to eat.

Dinner consists of hors d'oeuvres & champaign when you walk in, followed by five courses with matching wine. There is only one seating per evening, Wednesday through Saturday. Guests walk away with recipes for everything that was served that night.

The food was consitently good, sometimes very good. The format of "dinner as a show" does lead to some limitations, but it's pretty unique for the area (if not unique overall), and may be just the break you need from the historic triangle & Busch Gardens.

Due to limited seating, this is definitely something to plan ahead if you want to go. The FAQ on the restaurant site suggests that parents use their best judgement about whether to include kids in the reservation. To paraphrase, dinners last about three hours, and might be a trial for many kids.

We liked it enough we've already been back for a second visit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stayed at Kingsmill a few weeks ago and must agree that The Fat Canary blew the Trellis out of the water. Nice atmosphere and well priced wines. I had a lobster pasta with lemon butter sauce that was bland at first but really tasty after a few hits from the salt shaker, and a nice, well-seasoned and tender lamb shank.

The meal at the Trellis was very unmemorable - cheapest stemware I've ever seen in a place with $20+ entrees, and they didn't let me know when they ran out of the sweet potato side (the main reason I ordered the pork tenderloin entree), they just slapped some regular mashed potatoes on the plate and hoped I wouldn't notice.

I'd be more likely to return to the clubhouse at the River Course on the Kingsmill resort for their cloyingly sweet (but very much to my personal taste) peach crepes with maple butter and crispy bacon...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My Williamsburg rotation

Cheese Shop: For the sammies. I usually get the VA Ham and turkey combo with cheddar and the house dressing.

Pierce's Pit BBQ

Green Leaf Cafe

Blue Talon Bistro: Went there for the first time my last time down there. It will be part of our rotation.

Whaling Company: Nothing great, but I haven't found any great seafood places.

Casa Maya: Again, nothing great, but I get in the mood for Mexican every once in a while.

Aromas: I've had some decent fondues there and it's one of the few places open on a Sunday night.

Those are my usuals. Haven't been to Captain George's or Trellis in a while. I'd love to try Fat Canary, but I keep forgetting to call far enough in advance to get a reservation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Recent highlights included:

A pulled pork dinner at Pierce's BBQ - the pork was tasty but the coleslaw was pale and meh. The hushpuppies are oblong and for an instant I thought there were corndogs made with cocktail weenies. This is the season for Brunswick Stew which improved greatly with the addition of a couple shots of BBQ sauce. Definitely drive past the Sonic and the Great Wolf Lodge and hit this place if you need to get out of the car.

If you get symptoms of acute Yankee withdrawl, the Ukrop's grocery cafe/grill [not as nice as Wegman's] has the NYTimes in their newspaper rack.

Lowlight: Christiana Campbell dinner - the food was passable, but during this winter season it was the only historic restaurant open for dinner. I'll just say it was historically accurate. Who knew the Sir Walter Raleigh Inns dotting suburbia actually resemble the authentic exterior?

post-226-1200159451_thumb.jpg

post-226-1200159675_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My wife grew up in Richmond and on special Episcopalian days would get to put on special Episcopalian clothes for reenactments of the first sacrament in the new world. The only thing that could make her frantic childhood self sit still through hours of pageantry in the hot sun was if her mother would stop in colonial Williamsburg on the way to Jamestown to pick up a sack (they come in real sacks!) of ginger cakes from the reeanactor bakery.

They're fantastic, but are apparently made authentically enough that they go stale in a day. Tossed in the blender, they make excellent pie crust crumbs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were in Williamsburg over the weekend. Our first (and best) meal of the trip was at Pierce's BBQ. The pulled pork was excellent, and definitely the way to go. The hushpuppies and coleslaw were OK, at best. I really liked their BBQ sauce, which had just the right amount of tang from the vinegar.

Our other meals included lunch at Cracker Barrel, which was adequate. My wife's roast beef dinner was surprisingly good.

We also got take-out from Sal's By Victor(?). The pizzas (both regular and sicilian) were a step up from Domino's. The chicken fingers were horrific, as they were 90% breading and 10% chicken. They came with a side of fries which were in desperate need of Viagra.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I grew up in Virginia Beach, and would whenever we would trek over to Williamsburg a stop at Pierce's Pit BBQ was always in order. It is delicious BBQ and am positive that you will enjoy yourself when you stop by.

This review made me decide to make a detour to Pierce's last night before we headed home from Williamsburg. I'm not sure if the place has changed ownership, or there was a revolt in the kitchen last night, or they ran out of all of the good stuff by the time we got there, but the food I had at Pierce's last night was TERRIBLE. It tasted like fast food that you would get in your typical airline terminal, except this had sweet BBQ sauce on it. They were out of the ribs, so I didn't get to give them a run, but the BBQ Platter that I got should have been a pretty good judge as to how this place would be in general. My pulled pork tasted either like oil or lighter fluid, I couldn't quite place it, but I don't think I should have to. It was quite simply the worst version of a really easy BBQ dish that I have ever had. Rocklands and Capitol Q are award-winning recipes compared to this. The accompanying fries were the frozen krinkle cut variety and the hushpuppies were overcooked and had a strong onion flavor to them, which I found very odd. My wife's BBQ Chicken Platter was, if you can believe it, worse than mine. She had a breast of chicken that was identical to the ones you get in the frozen food section at Costco. You know the ones that kind of look like chicken breasts, but when you cut into them, the texture inside resembles in no way what a real breast looks like. So for $8.99, she got one of those with a watery, vinegary sweet sauce and the aforementioned fries and hushpuppies. Abominable.

I wouldn't usually get on here and blast a place like this, but after reading this thread, my takeaways were Blue Talon, Cheese Shop, and Pierce's. Pierce's, at this point, is absolutely not a place to go out of your way to, and I would recommend going there only if every other restaurant is closed at that time and you're starving. And a bit of a masochist.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have to spend the day at W&M tomorrow-any suggestions on where to grab quick bite without a long walk from the campus? I'm hoping to avoid eating cafeteria food. It's been more than a decade since I last spent time on campus but I seem to remember the Cheese Shop being a bit far for a 30 minute lunch break in heels. I'll be with a vegan so any suggestions that will appease her are welcome.

Also, any other recent opinions on Pierce's? I was thinking of grabbing some take away to eat when I get home.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Have to spend the day at W&M tomorrow-any suggestions on where to grab quick bite without a long walk from the campus? I'm hoping to avoid eating cafeteria food. It's been more than a decade since I last spent time on campus but I seem to remember the Cheese Shop being a bit far for a 30 minute lunch break in heels. I'll be with a vegan so any suggestions that will appease her are welcome.

Also, any other recent opinions on Pierce's? I was thinking of grabbing some take away to eat when I get home.

With only 30 minutes, I guess it depends where you are on campus. The Cheese Shop is easily accessible from the east end of campus. If you're closer to the football field (NW part of campus), the Green Leaf Cafe at Scotland St and Richmond Rd is good. I'm not sure what the vegetarian options are, though, so I can't help with that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now