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Eating in Colonial Williamsburg with kids

The good news about eating in Colonial Williamsburg is there are tons of choices within walking distance. Basically you can eat in a pub or bakery on the main strip of the Colonial Town, or you can eat in the adjacent modern shopping area where restaurants abound.

Pub view of the Fife and Drum March

Shields Tavern view of the Fife and Drum march

No matter where you choose to eat, having a reservation is better than not. Even if it is during what you consider to be an “off” time, a reservation will help you avoid excessive waiting. However, there are usually shops and things to do nearby, should you have to wait.

Shields Tavern: This pub on the main drag of Colonial Williamsburg was our first attempt at eating pub style. The limited adult menu had typical pub food with beef, chicken and fish choices. I had the salmon, which was good, but the vegetables and dessert were my favorite parts. They had a kids menu and were not picky if my 13 year old wanted to order off of the kids menu that was labeled for kids 12 and under. We had dinner at 5:30pm in order to make a ghost tour later. It turned out to be a great decision, as we were seated in front of a 2nd story window with a perfect view of the Fife and Drum march as they stopped and played out front to light the Tavern Lamps.

Kings Arms Tavern:  Considered the most upscale pub of them all, we still felt comfortable in the clothes we’d walked around all day in. All of the pubs have roving musicians that play instruments from the period. We listened to a Pouchette (tiny hand held violin) and a windup bagpipe sounding guitar (that I cannot remember the name of for the life of me). They were very accommodating to the requests of my teen to take off sauces and change sides from veggies to potatoes. The atmosphere made even my pickiest eater want to try off of the adult menu for real revolutionary tavern food. For peanut butter lovers, the peanut souppe is a must try.

Pouchette (little pocket)

Pouchette (little pocket)

There are several other taverns in Colonial Williamsburg…I’d say dine in at least one for the experience. Your kids will love it, and you will too. The Hubby and I definitely enjoyed the interesting beer selections, made from old recipes of the period, and some even brewed just for Colonial Williamsburg that you can’t get anywhere else.

Just beside the colonial town, separated by a small street, is a modern shopping area with lots of restaurants. It is really tastefully done in red brick and doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb in the colonial community.  The establishments below were all within that modern area.

Retros: A good old fashioned burger joint with hand cut fries.  The variety and value were great. We had everything from fun bottled sodas, quesadillas, and grilled cheese with bacon. It’s counter service and find a seat. Fast, inexpensive and easy, I’d eat there again. No reservations required on this one.

The Trellis: One of several restaurants in the modern shopping area owned by the same people. A little more upscale for dinner, as I made sure the boys had on collared shirts instead of t-shirts. Since our hometown only has one restaurant with pate on the menu, that was my go to menu item. The food was great, but the service was just fair on a Sunday night that wasn’t very busy. Although we had a table of 8, so you be the judge.

Trellis pate selection

Trellis pate selection

The Cheese Shop: A local legend that certainly lives up to it’s hype. It is a gourmet food shop too. You order and pickup at one counter, and pay at another in case you pick up some gourmet goodies to take home. The counter help was so patient and helped talk me through a take home order, although they have tons of outdoor seating. Even suggesting to put the condiments (they have 4 different mustards to choose from) on the side was that personal helpful touch that makes this place so great. The sandwich menu looks like nothing special, but I’m telling you I haven’t had a more fresh and fantastic sandwich than that in a long time. It can best be summed up as simple and good! They take call in orders too, if you can get that organized on your trip.

The great news about eating in and around Colonial Williamsburg, is that there are LOTS of options.  I’d recommend making reservations for at least one meal a day, if not two.  All in one phone call you can book tours and restaurant reservations within Colonial Williamsburg. So we’d book the tour that we could all fit into first, and then choose the restaurant reservation time around that. For those in the modern section, I used open table online reservations when available, or made quick phone call.  It was an easier process than it sounds, I promise.  Good Luck and Happy Eating!



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