Colonial Williamsburg Taverns
If visiting Colonial Williamsburg, it’s perfectly appropriate – if not absolutely necessary – that you try some foods similar to what Colonial Americans ate. It’s easy to do so here, as there are several restaurants and/or taverns in and around Colonial Williamsburg that provide Colonial-style fare.
Below is our list of our favorites. Be warned: these also tend to be everyone’s favorites, so it’s a good idea to call ahead to see about making a reservation.
The Shields Tavern
This restaurant offers typical Southern food such as Carolina-style BBQ sandwiches, bangers and mash (as a reflection of Colonial Williamsburg’s English ancestry), and other Southern go-tos. You also can enjoy a Colonial-style repast of ale-potted beef with mushrooms, pearl onions and carrots over mashed potatoes.
Colonial Williamsburg is located in an area of the country that was one of the first to be settled by Europeans (in the 1600s). The region’s history is old by U.S. standards and it’s therefore not surprising that Colonial Williamsburg is said to be full of ghosts. If you love hearing about ghosts, then consider taking the guided walking tour that starts right outside the Shields Tavern.
Shields Tavern; 800-447-8679
King’s Arms Tavern
The King’s Arms has been in business since 1772, when it was opened by Jane Vobe, who described it as an establishment “where the best people resorted.”
You’ll be tended to by servers and wait staff clad in fashions of the 18th century. You can choose from the King’s Arms’ menu that features Colonial game pie and a chop of shoat (which is maple–and-whiskey braised pork chop with mashed potatoes and red cabbage). If you’ve a big appetite, Mrs. Vobe’s Tavern Dinner is a multi-course meal.
As for dessert, the restaurant’s Chocolate Fudge Torte is known throughout Williamsburg and is not to be missed. You also might want to try a glass of Kir, or Chardonnay and crème de cassis served over ice. The young ones will enjoy Williamsburg ice cream, created the way they used to in Colonial times.
King’s Arms Tavern; 800-447-8679
Care for some fiddle music while you dine? Chowning’s Tavern offers Colonial-era fiddlers who will play while you eat. If you’re visiting the tavern during the evening, the restaurant transforms into an alehouse of the 18th century after dinner, full of costumed Colonial re-enactors, with Colonial board games, regional wines and ales, and even sing-alongs!
As for the food, you can enjoy Brunswick stew or Virginia pulled pork sandwiches. Welsh rarebit also is patron favorite.
Chowning’s Tavern; 757-229-2141
Christina Campbell’s Tavern
If you love seafood as much as George Washington did, then you’ll love Christina Campbell’s Tavern. (Washington ate here; the tavern was his favorite in Williamsburg for fresh seafood.) Looking for some crab cakes? Christina has them! What about filet beef with crab-stuffed shrimp? Or Gloucester chicken, fried chicken, clam chowder, and Chesapeake Bay jambalaya? If you eat here, you must try the tavern’s house specialty, sweet potato muffins.
As for the “Colonial mood,” balladeers will entertain you as you eat as they sing ditties and songs from the Colonial era.
Christina Campbell’s Tavern; 800-447-8679