Tucked away within the architecture school is a hidden gem: The Fine Arts Café. With all that the dining hall seems to get wrong, the Fine Arts Café just seems to get everything right. As a third year at U.Va., I have only just recently discovered this oasis and want to share so that others don’t have to go two years without visiting.
The Fine Arts Café is a small, split level room with seating in the lower portion. The front wall is made entirely of glass, allowing for lots of warm, natural sunlight. Overall, the café has a light and airy feeling with ash and metal furnishings. Chalkboards highlighting the local foods used in the recipes line the walls. For someone who enjoys healthy, local, sustainable foods, I always feel at ease whenever I walk in.
My favorite thing on the menu is the quesadilla. Granted it is the only thing I have tried on the menu; however, many of my friends who are more adventurous eaters agree the quesadilla is one of the best options. Ah, the Fine Arts Café quesadilla – truly a masterpiece within itself. Composed of cheddar and feta cheeses, beans, rice, corn, and tomatoes, the quesadilla comes with sour cream and either medium or hot salsa and makes for an exquisite lunch. There is also the option to add in either chicken or tofu. I decided to dig a little deeper into the Fine Arts Café’s local foods and learned that the delicious salsa for the quesadilla comes from a local farm just eight miles south of Charlottesville. The café also strives to get as many of its fruit and vegetables from local vendors as possible. Additionally, the Fine Arts Café offers many refreshing organic tea drinks that you won’t find anywhere else on Grounds.
As a non-architecture student, I will try my best to describe the location of the Fine Arts Café. If you walk down Rugby Road from Grounds, the Fralin Museum of Art will be on your right. Walk up the stair case to the museum and walk around the right side of the museum and through the small parking lot to reach the Architecture School. On your left, there will be a staircase going down. Take this staircase, go in the door, and take a right to the Fine Arts Café. The café takes plus dollars, cash, and major credit cards.