Willamsburg Travel Guide: Food & Beverage Edition
Eat & Drink like a local in Williamsburg, VA
The bar is set very high for food in Pittsburgh. In my opinion, we have one of the best food scenes on the East Coast. Easily. Which is exactly why you should trust me when I tell you where to eat when you’re out of town in Williamsburg, VA. I will tell you right away that good food is much more expensive in Williamsburg than in Pittsburgh. I’m not sure why, but here are some options that are some of my all time favorites that do not break the bank.
Pierce’s Pitt BBQ is easily my favorite place to eat of all time, and it is most assuredly the best barbecue I have ever tasted. Having been behind the scenes to have a tour of the operation from one of the pitmasters, I have a full appreciation for the craft poured into each batch of meat. Pierce’s sits on a back road just a few miles from Colonial Williamsburg. To most city slickers, like myself, it seems quite tucked away. However, locals pile in at lunch time to stand in line for their pulled pork sandwich (though I have to say the whole operation moves rather rapidly.) I’ve been to Pierce’s when they were calling order number three hundred fifty. Even at peak times, however, I’ve never spent over an hour total at Pierce’s. Furthermore, I’ve always been able to find a seat after ordering and receiving my meal. The JC Special is my favorite thing on the menu. It includes a pulled pork sandwich, cole slaw (ask for it on the sandwich, I’m telling you), fries, and a soft drink. The pulled pork is prepared Carolina style and comes on unassuming, plain sandwich bun, but simplicity is key at Pierce’s. The sauce is slightly tart, slightly sweet, and slightly smoky. The cole slaw isn’t overly rich or creamy, so it goes perfectly on top of the sandwich. The crinkle cut fries are slightly crispy on the outside, perfectly soft on the inside. The hush puppies are also a hit for me if you’re not a big french fry person. If you do order the fries, be warned the portion is huge and enough for at least three people to share. The sweet tea is utterly to die for, and not overly sweet. Okay, have I described the perfect meal? Thought so, now go to Pierce’s and get in line.
If you’re looking for a good Italian meal in Williamsburg, head to Maurizio’s. Located in a strip mall, it’s definitely another place where the locals head. Each meal comes with a salad, and they bring garlic knots right to the table. Please and thank you!!! I’ve had the clams (white sauce, duh), the gnocchi, and the veal picatta here, and I have never went wrong. Once again, a simple and delicious meal.
The Cheese Shop is easily one of my favorite places on Earth. I’m only kidding a little. The Cheese Shop includes a cheese counter and sandwich bar, and also retails wine, beer, and specialty foods. Their sandwiches are sooo good, but I’ve waited over a full hour to get my order here at peak times. I always advise calling ahead if you’re looking for lunch. However, my favorite way to enjoy The Cheese Shop is at the cheese counter. I usually order a cheese plate. It includes three cheeses, and you let them know how many people will be enjoying it, so they know how to portion it. I usually get a gouda, brie, and sheep’s milk cheese, but they have tons of options. The staff is also super friendly and will advise you on good pairings and even let you try a taste before committing! I often order a little bit of prosciutto on the plate as well as honey and dried fruit. Then, I order some olives, and have them slice a baguette. I always order the lager they have on draft, but you can also pick out a wine! The selection is top-knotch and fits all price ranges. You would think an order like I’ve described would be insanely expensive, but generally it comes to $40 for three people partaking. They offer the most affordable cheese plate I’ve ever had! I generally sit outdoors, but snagging a seat inside is nice too!
I’ve been going to Aroma’s Cafe since I can remember, and this is where I fell in love with “the coffee shop.” They make so many delicious specialty drinks, have good light roast coffee, and loose leaf tea. Not to mention a full breakfast/lunch/dinner menu! I highly recommend the following: order a curried chicken salad sandwich, a pot of earl grey or large latte (for here!), a slice of apple pie, and park your self outside at the corner table. Even if the weather is precipitating or cold, sitting outside is worth it. I’ve spent hours upon hours here, people watching, doing work, reading and enjoying.
If you’re there in a chillier part of the year, visit the Williamsburg Lodge. Make a reservation by the fireplace and order a hot, spiked drink. Never had anything to eat here, but I have enjoyed the atmosphere countless times!
Oh, and they have a Duck Donuts in Williamsburg. I don’t think I need to explain the hot, fluffy goodness that goes on here.
If you have any questions about places to eat, places to stay, or things to do, please leave me a comment below! I’ll be happy to help in any way I can. I’ve been going to Williamsburg for 15 years now, and I know it very well! Keep an eye out for another guide for things to do in the Colonial City.