Food is always a big part of our travels. We love checking out local spots everywhere we go to get a feel for what a place is all about. I usually don’t intend to write about individual restaurants on our trips, but inevitably there’s at least one place so captivating me that I can’t help it. This was the case with Southern Crescent Galley and Bar in Charlottesville.
We were walking through Charlottesville’s Belmont neighborhood one evening, and as soon as we caught sight of this charming restaurant set in a beautiful historic home, we knew we had to go in for a drink. We arrived shortly after opening, so the place was fairly empty, but we were enthusiastically greeted by the bartender as we pulled up a seat. She made us feel like old friends as we took in the scene around us.
Everything about Southern Crescent is cozy and adorable, from the rustic interior to the wraparound patio complete with twinkling lights to the idyllic tree swing in the front yard.
We ended up liking the place so much that we stopped in twice. On our first visit, we sat at the bar and chatted with locals about the Charlottesville food scene, and a very interesting local scandal. Any time the term “on the lam” comes up in casual conversation with strangers, you know you’re in good company.
We were planning a bit of a pub crawl around Belmont, so we kept our orders light that evening. Southern Crescent focuses on Cajun and creole cuisine, as influenced by one of the owner’s upbringing in New Orleans. Tom had a couple of fresh, local oysters and we shared a whole steamed artichoke, stuffed with cheesy goodness. I wish more places served whole artichokes. They’re so fun to eat. I didn’t take a photo because, as I said, I wasn’t intending to write about this place. But trust me when I say it was wonderful. I’m a little disappointed overall with the photos that I do have, but considering that Southern Crescent currently has no website or social media pages I felt like I had to share anyway.
Since we were so enamored with our first experience, we decided to return again the next day for lunch. This time, owner Ian Day took care of us with more of the southern hospitality we had come to expect from the restaurant staff. In the daylight, the space looked even cuter than it had the night before.
We’d somehow managed to resist our pimento cheese addiction on our first visit, but gave in this time around.
This was a delectable version, chunky and hearty and packed a kick from the addition of jalapeños.
For our entrees, we shared the gumbo with gulf shrimp, andouille sausage and okra along with a fried shrimp po’ boy. The shrimp in both cases was wild-caught in the U.S., like all of the seafood the restaurant sources. The gumbo was rich and complex and won out as the favorite of the day, but the po’ boy was excellent as well.
If you’re ever in the Charlottesville area, I highly recommend stopping by Southern Crescent. The food is amazing but the real draw is that within minutes, you’ll feel like an old family friend.
Stay tuned next week for more about our trip to Charlottesville!
Southern Crescent, located at 814 Hinton Ave, Charlottesville, VA 22902, is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday and serves lunch on weekends.