May 2010 117_RSZ

Shields Tavern

Imagine candlelight flickering and music by balladeers filling the air as you dine on savory cuisine.   At restaurants in Colonial Williamsburg you can experience 18th century taverns with historic settings, complete with servers dressed in fashions from the 1700s and meals designed from actual tavern receipts.  Pull up a chair to any of the dinner tables found at Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Taverns to enjoy dishes enjoyed by patriots like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry.

The historic dining taverns found at Colonial Williamsburg are enchanting and immersive experiences.  Visitors to these taverns are able to connect with the 18th century as the atmosphere, entertainment and food bring this revolutionary era to life. 
Chowning’s Tavern
This family-friendly tavern offers lunch and dinner. Originally opened by Josiah Chowning in 1766, he wanted to appeal to the ordinary folk of Williamsburg.  From Welsh rarebit to southern favorites like Brunswick stew and Virginia pulled pork sandwiches, this menu aims to please. Patrons can enjoy the feast in front of you as well as the entertainment that fiddlers and servers in 18th-century costume provide.  Weather permitting, enjoy garden seating and tasty sandwiches and salads. Strong beer and porter are featured on the late-night Gambols menu. Raise your glass for a toast or your voice during sing-alongs.

Christiana Campbells Tavern Flickr

Christiana Campbells Tavern/Flickr:

Christiana Campbell’s Tavern
America’s first commander in chief – George Washington – loved the seafood at Christiana Campbell’s Tavern, and you will, too. Drop by and try delicious dishes based on Mrs. Campbell’s original “receipts.” Christiana Campbell’s Tavern is decorated with the aesthetics of the 18th century. From the pewter candlesticks, brass sconces, and framed prints to the reproduction chairs patrons are seated in, it’s easy to see why the local gentry chose this tavern as a place of conversation and political discussion. 

King’s Arms Tavern
Dine like a king, or at least pretend to. This genteel establishment offers present-day diners meals from 18th-century recipes—with adaptations for 21st-century tastes.  After opening in 1772  King’s Arms Tavern became one of the most genteel establishments in Williamsburg and this remains true today. Customers can choose from a menu featuring tantalizing southern fare and sumptuous desserts. Colonial game pie and a chop of shoat have become house favorites. Be sure to save room for the tavern’s decadent desserts and specialty drinks, such as Chocolate Fudge Torte, Williamsburg ice cream, a glass of Kir, or Chardonnay and creme de cassis served over ice.

Chownings Tavern Flickr

Chownings Tavern/Flickr: Ken Lund

Shields Tavern
Taste southern comfort food in the charm of Shields Tavern. This reconstructed tavern has a history all its own.  Inside the tavern guests will find candlelit tables, fiddlers serenading tables and delicious menu items like ale-potted beef (a dish similar to pot roast).  Be sure to place an order for one of their house favorite drinks.  The Rummer, made with dark rum and apricot and peach brandies, and the “Pimm’s cup,” a spiced gin and ginger ale, are two popular sections.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Williamsburg to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

When you visit Williamsburg, you’re sure to get hungry while enjoying the charming, colonial sites and attractions. The historic town has a variety of places to eat, but these are the best Williamsburg restaurants for lunch. Stop by these eateries for food you’ll love.

The Sicilian Photo Credit: Jamestown Pie Shop/Facebook

Jamestown Pie Shop/Facebook

Jamestown Pie Company
Who doesn’t love pizza? It is an all-around crowd-pleaser, and the pies at Jamestown Pie Company are creative and delicious. A signature are the Deep Dish Pot Pies, ranging from classic chicken to seafood au gratin.  Gourmet pizzas like the River Crab Pie, topped with jumbo lump crab and white sauce, The Artichoke, layered with spinach, artichokes and garlic; and The Sicilian, loaded with pepperoni, sausage and salami are a few favorites. Even better? They excel at dessert pies, too. The wafting aroma of blueberry, peach and chocolate pecan pies will have you ordering a slice.

Paul's Deli Food

Paul’s Deli/Facebook

Paul’s Deli
Located across from the William and Mary Campus, students can be found at Paul’s Deli at all hours. And for good reason. The Italian and Greek inspired menu covers all the classics – pizza, subs, sandwiches, pasta and salads – and is fairly large. For my money, the Combination Deluxe Stromboli, Chicken Gyro, Crab Cake Sandwich and Greek Salad are lunch favorites. You also can’t go wrong with a pizza. The menu is so big, though, I come back for dinner to really sink my teeth into it.



Aromas it the perfect little coffee and sandwich shop. Its atmosphere is charmingly cool, food tasty and service quick. What more could you want from a lunch stop? Sandwiches like the Mediterranean Melt, Aroma Club, Southwest Chicken Wrap, and Muffaletta are excellent menu options. Order a coffee pick-me-up from the Aroma “Therapy” menu to start the afternoon off right. A Snickers Latte, Tribe Mocha, Chai Latte, and Aromaccino are caffeine-fueled favorites.  Fresh smoothies are avaialable, too, and you can even order one spiked with your favorite alcohol.

Have a glass of wine at Gabriel Archers Tavern Photo Credit: Williamsburg Winery/Facebook

Williamsburg Winery/Facebook

Gabriel Archer Tavern
For a memorable Williamsburg lunch, dine at Gabriel Archer Tavern. Located at The Williamsburg Winery you can add a tour of the winery to your agenda, or simply choose a seat at one of the outside tables for a light-yet-filling lunch. The vibe is more California than Virginia, providing a wine and dine experience that is truly transformative. The Gabriel Archer Tavern Salad, with toasted pecans and dried cranberries; Pear, Bacon and Gouda Grilled Cheese; Turkey and Brie Sandwich; and Shrimp Linguini are a few menu items I can’t get enough of. Add a red or white wine flight to any order for a relaxing lunch away from the tourist corridor of Williamsburg.

Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que
Craving something a little heartier? Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que fits the bill. This place is ideal for take-out, as there aren’t many tables. Lines can be long at times. The succulent barbeque is cooked out back, so the smell wafting through the air will make your stomach rumble as your wait. This local’s favorite serves the best pulled pork sandwich. Order a side of onion rings, and you’ve got a good picnic to take to a nearby park like Waller Mill.

Second Street BurgerPhoto Credit: Second Street Bistro/Facebook

Second Street Bistro/Facebook

Second Street Bistro
Sometimes nothing satisfies like a burger. For the best in own, go to Second Street Bistro. Upscale in nature, the bistro has a casual vibe at lunch and a lower price point. The Wall Street Burger and Second Street Burger are choice burger options. If you’re not in the mood for a burger, though, the rest of the menu is sure to please. The Carolinian Grecian and Portofino salads are favorites, as are the Thai Poppin’ Shrimp Wrap, Second Street Reuben and World’s Best Grilled Cheese. Make plans to come back to Second Street for dinner.  It’s an entirely different experience, with fresh, seasonal and inspired dishes rounding out an eclectic menu.

Gourmet Cheese Plate

The Cheese Shop/Facebook

The Cheese Shop
Don’t worry – there’ more to the menu than cheese. The Cheese Shop is a Williamsburg tradition, serving some of the best sandwiches in town. Located in Merchants Square, it’s the ideal place to take a break from colonial sightseeing. Fresh baked bread, high quality meats and cheese, and fresh salads (the house dressing is legendary!) form a large menu, making it hard to choose your order. A favorite snack is bread ends and dressing, but these full orders get raves: Virginia Ham Sandwich, Shrimp Salad Sandwich, and Prosciutto Focaccia. Gourmet cheese plates are worthy accompaniments to the wine available, too. Be prepared for a wait as this place is both a local and tourist favorite.

Try one of the best Williamsburg restaurants for lunch on your next vacation. From quaint sandwich shops to Italian deli’s and winery cafes, there’s little bit for everyone. You’re sure to find a place ideal for a midday break.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Williamsburg to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

When you vacation in Williamsburg, Virginia be sure to stop by New Town.  The 365-acrea community is a place where people play, work and live.  There are more than 170 shops and restaurants for locals and visitors alike to enjoy.  Plus, there is a 12-screen movie theater, parks and walking trails, concerts and special events.

There are a variety of New Town restaurants to dine at during your stay in Williamsburg.  Choose from:
Opus 9 Steakhouse
  • artcafe26
  • Bonefish Grill
  • Buffalo Wild Wings
  • Buon Amici
  • Center Street Grill
  • Cogan’s Deli & Sports Pub
  • Corner Pocket
  • Dudley’s Bistro
  • El Tapatio Mexican Grill & Bar
  • Ichiban
  • Opus 9 Steakhouse
  • Panera Bread
  • Zpizza
Stop by New Town to explore a vibrant place to shop, dine and play in Williamsburg.

Learn about Colonial Williamsburg restaurants.
Read More »
Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Williamsburg to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know. Before you pack your bags, get the latest scoop on Williamsburg vacations from Ashley.

Merchants SquareVisit Merchants Square, a shopping and dining district adjacent to Colonial Williamsburg, to explore more than 40 shops and restaurants.  Specialty stores feature products ranging from apparel to art to fine jewelry. 

  • Talbots
  • Chicos
  • Williamsburg At Home
  • Williamsburg Craft House
  • Williamsburg Celebration
  • Everything Williamsburg
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Williams-Sonoma
You can also enjoy a nice meal at several restaurants including:
  • Trellis Restaurant and Café
  • Cheese Shop and Fat Canary
  • Berret’s Seafood Restaurant and Taphouse Grill
  • Seasons Restaurant
  • Stephanos Pizza and Subs
  • Blue Talon Bistro
  • Aromas Coffee and Café
Entertainment can be enjoyed at Merchants Square as well.  Kimball Theatre feature arts and educational programs daily, a full schedule of classical concerts by the Williamsburg Symphonia, as well as many other special programs.
Merchants Square is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Want to learn more about visiting Colonial Williamsburg?
Read More »
Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Williamsburg to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know. Before you pack your bags, get the latest scoop on Williamsburg vacations from Ashley.

Special restaurant events at Colonial Williamsburg transport guests to revolutionary times.  Music, authentic cuisine and social events are celebrated during these dining events.  Reserve a seat to add a memorable experience to your Williamsburg vacation.  Restaurant events include:

Tea with Mrs. Campbell
Join Mrs. Campbell and other revolutionaries for tea and lively discourse.  During tea you’ll learn of revolutionary teas parties through story and song.  Reservations required. 
Cost: $23.95/adult, $12.95/child
Time: 2:00pm-3:00pm

Mr. Shield’s 18th Century Pig Roast
You are cordially invited to attend an 18th Century pig roast.  Mr. Shield’s hosts a lively celebration feature live music and the “Pimm’s Cup.”  Dine on great food from a mouth-watering buffet while you take part in interesting conversation at the picnic tables in the covered garden area of Mr. Shield’s Tavern.  
Cost: $49.95/adult, $23.95/child
Time: 7:00pm-8:30pm

High Life Below Stairs
A London mansion master believes his servants re eating and drinking all of his supplies.  Bring your family to Shields Tavern to experience the “High Life” of the serving class.  Songs of the 18-th century and engaging character actors create an evening full of laughter and cheer.  A three-course meal is served, with signature ales available too.  Reservations required.
Cost: $49.95/adult, $23.95/child
Time: 5:00pm-7:00pm

Revolutionary Breakfast
Williamsburg hotels guests have exclusive access to this special event.  Assemble with patriots and townsfolk to hear the latest news of the day while getting a delicious head start on your day.  Reservations required.
Cost: $24.95/adult, $15.95/child
Time: 8:30am-9:30am

For any event requiring reservations call 1-800-828-3767.


Craving a Williamsburg restaurant tip?  I’ve got one for you.  Huzzah BBQ Grille is known for its slow-roasted barbeque, special barbeque sauce and tempting southern-style side dishes.  It’s a place where every member of the family can get something satisfying and delicious. 

Located along the Visitor Center Promenade, Huzzah BBQ Grille is in a convenient location.  Go into the nearby visitor center to pick up maps or any brochures you may want, and then stop in for lunch or dinner.  Barbeque is the Grille’s specialty but they also serve brick-fired pizza popular with customers.  You can order it by the slice too.  A few of my favorite dishes at Huzzah include pulled pork sandwich, bbq pork ribs, and shrimp and grits.  Nine ready-made pizza combinations are available, but you can customize your own as well.  There’s a lot of items on the menu, though, ranging from full platters to sandwiches.  A children’s menu is available.  Kids can order a junior pizza and have it spun tableside – a neat bonus. 

Huzzah BBQ Grille Williamsburg can quench your thirst too.  Assortments of unique beers from local and regional breweries are on tap.  Try a Beer Flight to sample a variety of beers.  The Huzzah Soda Experience serves up concoctions like sparling strawberry soda, root beer floats and blue raspberry soda – made like traditional soda fountain drinks.

Dine at Huzzah if you want something a bit more relaxed than the taverns of Colonial Williamsburg.  Reasonable prices, a convenient location and great service made my experience at Huzzah BBQ Grille won I was pleased with.  Stop by on your next Williamsburg vacation.