I'm a published wedding and portrait photographer located in a small town outside of Charlottesville. In addition to capturing beautiful images, I love spending time with my family, am freakishly good at word games (Hey Wheelmobile!), love an ice cold can of Coke or Dr. Pepper, know every line to Hocus Pocus and can never pass up a Chick-fil-A waffle fry or a trip to HomeGoods.
So tonight, for the first time in weeks, my husband and I went out to dinner at a new (to us) restaurant. With the warm weather and our close proximity to Charlottesville, we decided to try Citizen Burger Bar, which is located in the Downtown Mall area.
Citizen Burger Bar is just what it sounds like–a place to get a burger and a beer, but it’s really more than that. Yes, there’s a large bar with numerous offerings and multiple big screen televisions to watch sports games, a plus for March Madness fans, and yes, there are tons of burger options, but the restaurant also has a strong focus on fresh, local food, which I love. The beef is locally sourced, humanely raised and grass fed with no antibiotics; the cheese is locally sourced; the chicken is free range, vegetable fed; and the bread is locally sourced. You know where everything came from, and with a little research, how it’s made, what it’s fed and more. There’s something to be said about knowing where your food came from.
My husband and I both ordered the chicken sandwich, mine bunless (they do offer gluten free buns as an option) and his with a bun, bacon and an onion ring to boot. Both were good and were paired with an abundance of fries (mine were included in the price, his were an additional $3 or vice versa). With both sandwiches, fries, two specialty beers and a coke, the meal was right around $49 with tip, so a little more than the usual sandwich prices, but to be fair I think one of the beers was $9. I wouldn’t visit all the time, mostly because I’m a cheap date, but it could become an occasional go-to. It was also packed in there tonight, likely because of the March Madness games playing on every screen, so we waited about an hour before being sat and then service was a little lagging from there on. The good thing is they’ll take a number and text you when ready so you can kill some time walking around the mall.
Bottom line, if you’re in Charlottesville (or Clarendon or soon enough Carytown) and you’re looking for a locally sourced burger, it’s worth a visit.