600 Concord Ave., Charlottesville Virginia
Pandemic travel, which we did in the form of a road trip from Michigan to the Outer Banks and up to Virginia, was both stressful and relaxing. Truly both. Moments of anxiety ended up being knocked out by the liberation I felt being “away.” By the time we hit Charlottesville Virginia on the back half of our trip, I felt like an expert in all things “dining out during COVID” and cannot tell you how much Ace BBQ epitomized everything that could go right. I imagine that without the need for masks and once the dining room is fully open, the place is just as stellar in service and customer care.
As you head into town off 64, it’s easy to get caught up in the history of where you are. This was once the western reaches of colonization, home to Monticello and the “new” University of Virginia. The red brick buildings have a stillness and a charm to them. And in the midst of the history you literally can feel, off a small side street in the Rose Hill neighborhood, is Ace Biscuit and Barbecue, bringing modern food with scratch-made biscuits filled and covered with quality ingredients, to the old city. The motto on their website’s homepage is “where downtown meets downhome” and I agree. From the food to the service, Ace hits the motto.
Walking in, the place was sparkling clean and two things were abundantly clear, art is as important as food. Before you get to the huge chalkboard menu, you pass really cool stuff on the walls including a sketch of Bill Murray. Why? I am not sure, and Google didn’t help so if you know the reason, feel free to put it into the comments box!
The idea of settling on what to order was seriously daunting. Anyone that knows me, understands how important it is for me to choose the right thing! Especially on the road and with limited access to the restaurant I’m checking out.
We landed on ordering up two appetizers/sides. These were the deep-fried pickles (done to perfection) and an order of pimento cheese (one of the tastiest versions I’ve tried!). I have to note that the pickles are made in-house and they are salty, vinegary deliciousness.
For our scratch-made Ace biscuits, perfect “sandwich” vessels, soft on the inside and crisp on the outside, I got the Brisket Biscuit. This thing was literally one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Tender flavorful brisket and an egg. Of course I added some of the pimento cheese. Sublime. My significant other got a country ham biscuit and was more than happy with the choice. And for sure, we tried each other’s food (we always split or mix and match of course!).
You can build your own biscuit off the menu board, which lists all your ingredient options, however Ace has done an outstanding job creating unique recipes in addition to their Brisket Biscuit. To name a few possible future meals for us: the Ol’ Dirty which includes fried chicken smothered in sausage gravy and topped with those homemade pickles, the Tommy Pastrami (yes- they make their own pastrami in-house!) and the Ace Dip with pulled pork and caramelized onions.
Hungry? Make sure if you’re taking in the architecture and history of (or a football game at) UVA, that you put Ace Biscuit and Barbecue into your GPS. Somehow this place has been around since 2012 and we never found it on our trips to Virginia. But I am so glad we did this time. Setting up a picnic on the back of our car, soaking up the Virginia sun in the parking lot on Concord Ave., we were completely content.