Tavern & Grocery serves provisions and repose for locals and wanderers. Classic tavern dishes in a classic tavern environment. Each dish was selected because of its significance in the area or time period that it’s from. The types of dishes that are missed when gone from home for too long, each item done in a way that makes it stand out as an excellent example of that classic dish. Sunday brunch is a must see with French themed dishes and amazing bloody marys (open at 11am). Our bar focuses on wine, serving the best examples of many varieties and most of the time offering them by the glass. We also offer classic cocktails and beers that even the most discerning will love.
Tavern & Grocery resides in the Inge building at 333 West Main Street in Charlottesville, Virginia. This protected landmark was erected in 1820 and is one of the oldest commercial structures in the city, located in what was historically known as an African-American part of town. The Inge family ran the main portion of the building as a grocery store, while the upstairs housed the family. Under the guidance of patriarch George P. Inge the store became a hub of Charlottesville commerce, supplying nearby businesses and homes with the freshest seafood around and functioning as a social center of town. Many local residents still recall coming to Inge’s store as children to buy candy and listen to stories from the shopkeeper, who was commonly found in a rocking chair on the front porch. The Inge family often had famous guests staying at their home – notably including Booker T. Washington, a classmate of Mr. Inge.
By the late 20th century, the building had transformed from residence/grocery store/gathering place into full-service restaurant and bar. Tavern and Grocery is designed to bring back what many people found so special about this historic building, while still maintaining a modern and fun style.
Tavern and Grocery belongs to a restaurant group called The Virginian Restaurant Company (The VRC) that is currently composed of The Virginian Restaurant, The Biltmore Grill, Citizen Burger Bar Charlottesville, Citizen Burger Bar Clarendon (Arlington), Citizen Burger Bar Carytown (Richmond) along with Tavern & Grocery and Lost Saint. All of these restaurants (with the exception of Citizen Clarendon and Citizen Carytown) are in Charlottesville and are owned by Andy McClure. The VRC is heavily focused on its employees being the driving force behind all of its success. There is a strong focus on training, management, and building loyalty. Through perks and rewards unique to the restaurant industry, like establishing a company minimum wage or shutting down and taking all of the employees on annual trips to places like Atlantic City, The VRC has maintained an extremely low level of turnover and high level of employee loyalty.
I grew up in Alexandria and went to the University of Virginia and studied finance at the McIntire School of Commerce (graduating in 2001). While in school, I waited tables at local college restaurants to help support myself. I was an ok server, but I was a better debater, and after months of hearing how I would do things differently and joking about buying the restaurant, the owners of the tiny but venerable Virginian started to take me seriously. In August of 2001, at the ripe old age of 22, I became a restaurant owner. A consummate optimist and a burgeoning pragmatist, I actually spent the first year of ownership thinking I could work my finance job in New York and absentee own the Virginian at the same time. For any restaurateurs out there, they know how ridiculous that is. I wasn’t gone long, but when I came back restaurants became my life. The struggles of a small business owner are almost impossible to properly convey, but one could argue the more you’ve had to struggle, and the more you’ve had to sacrifice, the more you appreciate coming out on the other side, and I am not short on appreciation. The Virginian did take a long time to get on the right path, but eventually it allowed me to open a second restaurant, and once that became stable I began work on purchasing and renovating the Biltmore (another restaurant I worked at in college), building the largest outdoor bar and patio area in town. After buying and selling another restaurant on the UVA Corner, all of this led to Citizen Burger Bar, a restaurant and concept I had wanted to try forever, and a place whose success and reception has been profoundly humbling. Tavern and Grocery and Lost Saint, the newest concepts, are a continuation of us trying to build stylish and fun experiences in historic settings. Overall, my company is employee focused. I believe the best restaurant and business owners realize that their employees are more important than they are. Finding and guiding good people makes this company what it is. I can’t thank all of my employees and all of my guests enough.
I am so grateful for all of those people who have helped me along the way, but particularly my family. My younger brother and sister who are always willing to lend a hand, and especially my older brother, who was the first GM this company ever had, my mother who never stops thinking of new ideas, and my father, whose wisdom and support and guidance are the only reasons I am even remotely successful.
–Andy McClure (Owner – The Virginian, The Biltmore, Citizen Burger Bar, Tavern & Grocery, Lost Saint)