A classic Virginia destination, Williamsburg and Colonial Williamsburg have plenty to offer in terms of history and entertainment. Home to the first representative legislature in the Americas, the second oldest university in the nation, The College of William & Mary, and the largest living history museum in the United States, Williamsburg offers everything a history buff could want.
Not to be overlooked, though, this city also boasts several attractive points of interest for foodies, as well. If you’re planning to travel to Virginia’s colonial capital anytime soon, you’ll want to keep reading to find out where to eat in Williamsburg.
The Cheese Shop and Fat Canary Restaurant
Located in the heart of Merchant’s Square, The Cheese Shop is somewhere you have to go at least once during any visit to Williamsburg. Named for their expansive cheese selection, The Cheese Shop is also famous for its sandwiches that come with a five-star rating from Frommer’s Travel Guide.
Hand crafted with freshly baked bread and the highest quality meats and cheeses, these made to order beauties can’t be beat, just ask any William & Mary alum! Here are our favorites:
- The Combo Sandwich (Turkey & Virginia Ham)
- Prosciutto with Provolone & Roasted Tomatoes
- Bread Ends and House Dressing (you can even order the famous House Dressing online!)
- Choose your own favorite among their generous selection of craft beer, craft sodas, and wine!
If you’re looking for a fine dining experience, don’t forget the adjoining Fat Canary restaurant. Having received AAA’s Four Diamond award every year since it opened in 2003, the seasonal menu with fresh ingredients is a favorite to locals and tourists alike. Even better, both places sit above a huge wine cellar!
Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que
No one meal defines the South better than barbecue, and the area isn’t short on delicious barbecue options. If you’re wondering where to eat in Williamsburg, the choice is clear: Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que. First opened in 1971 as a roadside barbecue stand, Pierce’s has been serving Virginians for over 45 years.
If you find yourself at Pierce’s and you’re not sure what to order, here are a few of our favorites:
- The J.C. Special – A classic barbecue sandwich with coleslaw, their delicious crinkle fries, and the famous Pierce’s yellow cup for a drink.
- The Saloon Special – A burger at a BBQ joint? Trust me, it’ll be one of the best burgers you’ve ever had.
- Hush Puppies – These little oblong blobs of doughy goodness are a treat unto themselves, especially when eaten with butter.
- Christie’s Chocolate Chip Cookie – A fantastic cookie. Need I say more?
Featured in National Geographic, Garden and Gun, Southern Living Magazine, Travel Channel’s Food Paradise, you’ll be sitting down at one of Virginia’s most acclaimed barbecue joints when you bite into a sandwich at Pierce’s.
Food for Thought
Located near several different restaurants on Williamsburg’s main tourist thoroughfare, Richmond Road, Food for Thought stands out from the rest — and not just because of the winking Benjamin Franklin on their sign. Their tagline reads “Eat. Drink. Think.” and you’ll understand why as soon as you walk through the door. The eatery’s walls are adorned with thought-provoking quotes as well as portraits of famous inventors, scientists, and social leaders.
This decor, combined with the discussion cards on each table, is meant to inspire diners to enlightened conversation — fitting for a town that has been home to the House of Burgesses as well as Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Tyler. Here are a few favorites:
- “Stick to Your Ribs” – A large helping of pork ribs served with a house-made, sweet and smoky barbecue sauce. They only use antibiotic and hormone free beef and pork, too!
- “Thai One On” – A delicious Pad Thai with organic Cilantro Lime chicken. (Also available with sauteed shrimp, vegan chicken, or tofu)
- “Oink Oink” Omelet – A pig lover’s dream of bacon, sausage, and ham in delicious omelet with perfect house breakfast potatoes.
The creative atmosphere, combined with a diverse menu, has been bringing people back to (and winning awards for) Food for Thought since opening in 2006.
When you’re thinking about where to eat in Williamsburg, or any city for that matter, you might normally avoid some of the more college-bar type places. When it comes to Paul’s Deli, however, you’ll need to make an exception. Located on a corner directly across from Zable Stadium (where William & Mary plays football), Paul’s is situated alongside a few other college dives, but is our personal favorite of the bunch.
To go with the traditional bar fare (pizza, wings, and nachos) you’ll find Greek and Italian specialties as well as a large selection of uniquely named subs and sandwiches. Here’s what we like best:
- The “Florida” – A ham and turkey sub, oven baked to perfection.
- Greek Gyro on Pita – Perfectly grilled lamb and a delicious tzatziki sauce with onions and tomato.
- Loaded Fries – Tasty fries smothered in mozzarella, cheddar, and bacon.
Whether you’re grabbing a meal before a Tribe football game, taking a break from checking out the nearby Colonial Williamsburg historic area, or just looking for a bite to eat, you’ll find something delicious on their menu.
King’s Arms Tavern
What is a trip to a colonial city without eating in a traditional, colonial-style pub? Although there are several unique, historical dining experiences offered by Colonial Williamsburg, King’s Arms Tavern is the one you won’t want to miss.
Feast on 18th century recipes with 21st century flair while being treated to musicians that might drop by to play period tunes. Thomas Jefferson has been known to stop by once in a while, too! Our favorites here include:
- Peanut Soupe – Start with this Southern favorite and King’s Arms specialty before any meal!
- Norfolk Pottage Pye – A colonial chicken pot pie with tender chicken, vegetables, and a creamy stew under a flaky pastry.
- Mrs. Vobe’s Tavern Dinner – Three courses with soup, half a Cornish Game Hen, Blended Wild Rice, Scuppernong-Raisin Sauce, Cook’s Vegetables, and pie for dessert.
An authentic reproduction of the original, King’s Arms Tavern opened in the same building in 1772. So if you’re wondering where to eat in Williamsburg, stop by the tavern. You’ll feel like you stepped back in time!
Williamsburg — a Fun Destination for Foodies!
Featuring its own unique blend of colonial and college-town culture, along with the things you’d come to expect from any other city, Williamsburg truly is a one-of-a-kind place. That means one-of-a-kind meals, too! Yes, it’s known for having the most pancake houses per capita than any other place in the United States, but it’s so much more than that.
While we’ve highlighted a few places to help you get started, but here are some other great restaurants for you to try in Williamsburg, Virginia:
- Blue Talon Bistro
- Shorty’s Diner
- Second Street American Bistro
- Kephi Greek Kitchen
- Old Chickahominy House
We hope you enjoy your time in Virginia. We definitely miss all of the eats some days now that we’re out in Idaho. The next time you’re wondering where to eat in Williamsburg, consider giving one of these delicious places a try. Leave us a comment and let us know if you enjoyed it!
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These are several of my favorite places to eat. Pierce’s is fantastic and anywhere in the historic district is always a treat! Love your suggestions!
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