As much as I love a homemade meal or an elegant dinner, there are some days – or weeks – that don’t allow for leisurely dining. Though I’ve been known to knock back a couple Wendy’s junior cheeseburgers during a busy week, I decided to take a more local, and less greasy, approach to quick eats during this past week of moving and class-related chaos. Bellair Market, Tiger Fuel’s Ivy Road location, has always been my favorite sandwich stop in Charlottesville, but I’ve never loved it more than during a quick lunch break last Wednesday.
Though the shop consistently draws a large crowd from 12-2 on any given day of the week, the lines and service at Bellair Market never seem to stop moving. Even in the midst of lunch rush-hour, employees and cashiers always seem to enjoy your business. While the sandwich shop/gourmet grocery/Mudhouse bar combo has fairly plentiful seating, I decided to take my meal back home and was in and out of the place in less than 10 minutes – no more intimidating than your average drive-through.
Among my friends, everyone seems to have their favorite Market sandwich, which they order with utter devotion. Since moving to Charlottesville in 2008, I have ordered the Jefferson sandwich every time without fail, and with slightly embarrassing frequency. When I sat down on my couch to eat my lunch after this most recent visit, my I was not let down. The turkey was sliced thin, the cranberry relish perfectly sweet and piquant (thanks to the whole-grain mustard), the herb mayo dilled and delicious. The crusty exterior of the baguette and the welcome sharpness provided by salty white cheddar almost made me weep. If that’s not a perfect sandwich, I don’t know what is.
Of course, my meal was rounded out with a bag of Virginia’s finest Route 11 dill pickle-flavored potato chips, an ideal complement to the herb mayo in many of the Market’s sandwiches, and a Sprecher root beer. $9.81 was a small price to pay for what constitutes, in my opinion, one of the best quick eats in Charlottesville. And if the Ivy/250 location isn’t that convenient to your workplace, check out the other six locations.
Jed says: “The best sandwiches you’ll ever get in a gas station, Bellair Market still leaves me a little cold. Maybe I need to try the Jefferson next time…”
Rating: Casey: Jed:
Pros: Great price, good service, excellent food.
Cons: Long lines at mealtime.
Price: $10 and under for a meal of sandwich, chips, and a drink.
Parking: Plenty, if cramped, next to the shop and gas station.
Mon-Sat 6 AM- 11 PM
Sun 8 AM – 9 PM