Ben & Jerry's has double-handedly transformed ice cream from a dreary and dreaded after-dinner chore into a dazzling treat that can be easily stored in pants pockets. The shops offer a variety of frozen confections, from milkshakes ($5.05) to large ice-cream cups and cones ($2.75-$4.82), hot-fudge sundaes ($5.05), and signature pints ($4.19). Spoon the cuddly depths of Ben & Jerry's famous original flavors, such as Cake Batter, Cherry Garcia, Imagine Whirled Peace, Triple Caramel Chunk, Peanut Brittle, Chunky Monkey, Half Baked, Coffee Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz!, New York Super Fudge Chunk, and more.
The frozen creamery is also a proficient cakery with a proud stock of frozen cakes to help spoil supper (starting at $16.99 for a small round). For social ice creaming, ready a band of spoon-armed eaters and dive into the Vermonster Sundae ($42), a heaping pail of 20 scoops, hot fudge, bananas, cookies, brownies, and toppings of your choice.
While there are no reviews for the Charlottesville location, Ben & Jerry's is a popular national brand with more than 2,400,000 Facebook fans, and has been featured on the Food Network series Unwrapped.
Donut dignitaries Matt Rohdie and his wife, Jen Downey, craft their delicious morsels from scratch using high-quality organic ingredients and sell them out of their Allied Lane location as well as Gypsy, their red donut wagon. Fried to order in less than five minutes, each donut sates ravenous sweet teeth with a sumptuous mixture of organic eggs, apple cider, and spices deep-fried in pure soybean oil and dusted with cinnamon sugar ($10/dozen or redeem the Groupon for a prepaid $10 punch card). The nirvana-inducing circles are devoid of hydrogenation, trans-fats, and performance-enhancing sprinkles. Carpe Donut's organic coffee, Italian cioccolata, and freshly mulled hot cider ($2 each) blend ideally with their succulent donuts ($1 each). Matt and his family proudly display the Arbor Day cards that Mother Nature sends them for converting all of the used oil into green biofuel.
If the round, pastel-colored tables at Lynchburg’s Sundae Grill could speak, they might regale listeners with stories of their earlier life, spent at a Disney World café frequented by the park’s most animated characters. Given the same chance, the pink and baby-blue booths would not speak but rather sing; though they now host a continual stream of diners come to sample the restaurant’s famous burgers and sundaes, they once belonged to pop sensation Celine Dion. With more than 101 choices of ice cream and desserts—including a staggering 56 sundae options—Sundae Grill lives up to and continues to build on the legacies of its own furnishings. Though the diner’s marinated, seasoned, and charbroiled burgers have won local awards throughout the years, owners BH and Mrs. K insist on rounding out their menu with recipes culled from across America—BH personally traveled the country looking for the most interesting hot-dog recipes from each region. This same dedication to variety informs Mrs. K’s lengthy list of so-called super sundaes. Local favorites include a caramel-pecan combination topped with whipped cream and a Death by Chocolate selection served with a napkin that doubles as a last will and testament.
Balkan Bistro & Bar has the exposed beams and wood-and-khaki palette of a tudor cabin, but it's also filled with plush booths, cloth-swaddled tables, and bouquets of fresh-cut flowers. This contrast of quaint and contemporary also marks the upscale Mediterranean cuisine, which chef-owner Anja describes as "food from the heart, with an accent." Balkan Bistro & Bar started as a stand at the Charlottesville City Market; but within two years, it expanded into a restaurant where the aromas are universally welcoming, even if portions of the menu seem exotic. A Croatian spice called vegeta, for example, lends to Istrian- and Dalmatian-style mussels, and the more familiar local lamb chops topped with housemade pesto simmer near cabbage stew with organic beef medallions. Chalkboard menus list cocktails at the bar, where rows upon rows of uniquely displayed wine bottles climb so high they require a ladder or a tall stack of books about ladders.
Rapture's gourmet variations on soul-food themes put the spotlight on organic and locally sourced ingredients. The lunch menu's specialty sandwiches elevate noontime dining to an edible art, with combinations such as country ham and gruyere cheese with apples ($8) and the portobello and choice of cheese in the quasi-burger ($8). The dinner menu embellishes classics with creative flashes of gustatory genius, such as the shrimp and grits gussied up with goat cheese and thyme ($11) and a hearty, bourbon-marinated pork loin garnished with frosty sugared blackberries and andouille-sweet-potato hash ($15). Brunch your way into the weekend with classic eggs benedict, served over a buttermilk biscuit or english muffin alongside fresh fruit and choice of grits or homefries ($8).
Splendora's Gelato Cafe specializes in authentic, artisanal Italian gelato and sorbetto. Each house-made batch of gelato emerges from a combination of simple ingredients including skim-milk powder, sugar, and hormone-free, locally sourced whole milk and heavy cream. Splendora’s feeds fresh, frosty mounds with ground nuts, cocoa powder, pure vanilla, and fruit purées to create the variety of flavor options available each day. Harken back to the treat’s European origins with hazelnut and dulce de leche, or let pistachio and salted caramel press tongues firmly into the winter season. A selection of dairy-free sorbetto such as mango caters to tropical longings and lactose-less needs. Available flavors vary daily.