The Ridley

4.2
139 Reviews
$30 and under
Southern
The Ridley is THE destination for upscale-casual dining and fresh seafood offerings in Charlottesville, Virginia. Located within The Draftsmen boutique hotel, The Ridley combines convenience and accessibility with an unparalleled dining experience. As one of Charlottesville’s Black-owned restaurants, the concept pays homage to Dr. Walter N. Ridley, the first Black student to graduate from The University of Virginia and receive a graduate degree from any major, historically white public university in the South.

Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
Physical Distancing
  • Limited number of seated diners
Protective Equipment
  • Waitstaff wear masks
  • Diners must wear masks unless eating or drinking
What 139 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.2based on recent ratings
4.2
food
4.2
service
4.2
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
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EA
vipElisabethA
Washington DC
24 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Wish I could say 4.5 - good food, great service - just a somewhat limited menu. Would def recommend without hesitation.

b
burritoman
Richmond
8 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My boyfriend and I came here for brunch during our Charlottesville trip. The food was great and perfect for a simple brunch!

FG
vipFoodieGirl
Raleigh
17 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food, excellent service.

I
Icerain911
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 14, 2022
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The Ridley's atmosphere was elegant and classy. The food was amazing and I highly recommend the shrimp and grits and oysters rockefeller, which paired nicely with the ridley old fashion.

Will definitely visit again!

J
vipJennifer
Washington DC
79 reviews
Dined on January 14, 2022
Overall4food4service3ambience4

Hostess was great! Food was very good.

C
Cullen
1 review
Dined on January 10, 2022
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This place is awesome! I really like the ambiance and the good food!

TB
ThelmaB
1 review
Dined on January 10, 2022
Overall2food2service3ambience3

The food was very salty and not what I am use to when I dine at Ridley's.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2022
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We stayed at the Draftsman Hotel for a few days after a snowstorm knocked out power to all of central Virginia. Despite being inundated with customers looking for somewhere to stay while their power was being restored, and despite being very short staffed, the staff at the Ridley was immensely kind, running around accommodating all their customers. The 3 people working were attentive, kind, and took phenomenal care of us. We ate breakfast there on 1/4/2022 and the food was outstanding. Thank you for all your care!!

TK
TamishaK
1 review
Dined on January 2, 2022
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food, the ambience, the service, the amazing story behind this amazing restaurant makes it a must visit when you’re in Charlottesville.

S
vipSkip
Philadelphia
9 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Good food overall. Gumbo was lukewarm and cold in spots. Salmon and fried chicken sandwich were excellent

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on December 24, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Beautiful place we loved the corn bread the staff was great

h
viphomechef
Kansas City
59 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2021
Overall3food2service4ambience2

We dined here on a Monday evening, the start of the Christmas week, and so the fact that the place was quiet, with only a few tables occupied, is likely due to the university's holiday closure. In any case, I'd imagine that a Friday or Saturday night at The Ridley would be very lively, and probably much louder than it was when we stopped in. Our server, Brooke, was experienced and assured, was welcoming, and responded promptly through the evening. Our meals were good but not great, the cuisine not quite living up to the restaurant's online promotions. A dozen Chesapeake oysters were $30, on the high side, and unfortunately pretty bland and tasteless. There was some kind of mignonette sprinkled on them, but not enough to pick up the vinegar flavor. Followed that with scallops - they were fine, the plate presentation was appealing, but they didn't measure up to the price at which they were offered. Standard fare, I'd say. The Negroni I started with was excellent, grateful for that. We passed on dessert as nothing appealed. I wanted to like this place more, but it just didn't shine.

E
Ellen
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on December 12, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Gumbo was delicious! Also the salmon over a bed of perfectly cooked vegetables, just the right amount of spice to get you attention, but not overwhelm. Our server was friendly, meals delivered quickly. Restaurant was not crowded, therefore quiet, possibly because it was a Sunday night.
Thanks for asking.

s
vipsteviaman321
Washington DC
26 reviews
Dined on December 12, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience3

The Food was delicious, hot, and fresh. Portions were small for the prices. Value to the menu is questionable. The coffee was hot and fresh but a bit acidic. Also, the creamer pitcher was impossible to use without spilling. Live music was fantastic and festive.

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on December 4, 2021
Overall3food4service2ambience4

Food was great, service was fair, tables didn’t have salt and pepper, had to ask the server for a spoon to stir the coffee she offered no refill on the coffee, seemed like she didn’t want to be there. Have had much better service in the past.

M
vipMaracaibo
Richmond
94 reviews
Dined on December 3, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Service was excellent - food was very good but a bit expensive….

LP
LauraP
Richmond
8 reviews
Dined on November 27, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience5

Went after the UVA/VT game (had reservations, but it was still super busy) - food was really good (had the burger and hot chicken sandwich). Servers were struggling since they were understaffed and really busy but our waitress did a great job and really went above and beyond.

SD
vipSlantedDoor
Philadelphia
4 reviews
Dined on November 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Awesome food!!!!

AV
vipAVBAMG
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

First time dining here and were quite impressed!

CH
CathyH
1 review
Dined on November 20, 2021
Overall3food2service3ambience2

Average food and service. Place I would only go to for apps and drinks. TV in the dining room. Lacked ambiance.

MS
MoniqueS
1 review
Dined on November 19, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Service couldn’t have been more gracious and helpful with the menu.
The Cava was fresh and bubbly. Will definitely be back for the shrimp and grits
and the kale and beets salad, which we shared.
The Valet parking made the experience so relaxing.

C
Catoctin
Richmond
1 review
Dined on November 18, 2021
Overall3food5service1ambience2

Food was excellent - all four dishes were superbly prepared. Delicious!

Service was totally deficient though. Our waiter was clearly inexperienced: didn’t know to check on us after serving, didn’t pour the wine for one person to sample before pouring all the glasses, had to hunt him down fir water, and had to ask another wait staff to bring the check (our guy was AWOL).

Ambiance was just OK: table wobbled (we fixed it ourselves), very cold, urban feel to the place (black and white color scheme). Background music was excellent.

Given the $200 tab for 4, I would not go back since it was not a terrific experience.

E
Erica
1 review
Dined on November 14, 2021
Overall4food5service4ambience5

We stopped in for an early dinner (4:00 pm) before heading to an event downtown and thoroughly enjoyed our visit. We had made reservations and were seated right away upon arrival. The restaurant wasn’t overly busy, but did pick up as we dined. We received our meals pretty quickly after placing our orders. The shrimp and grits and scallop dishes were outstanding. We also enjoyed the gumbo, and the brussel sprouts were perfection. The staff was super friendly and attentive, and the vibe of the restaurant was welcoming and relaxing. We found the pricing of dishes fair for the quality of the food served. We highly recommend The Ridley!

DC
vipDCFoodies
Washington DC
21 reviews
Dined on November 6, 2021
Overall1food3service1ambience3

Horrible management and service. There were 4 of us and we ordered two tomahawk ribeyes to share. After 45+ minutes, the food was still not out. The manager said they were trying to get the steaks to the right temp and it would be a few minutes. After yet another 15 minutes, we asked again and were told the steaks had to be thawed!

When the food finally arrived, the steaks were the smallest tomahawks we've seen and more for one person than two. Pricing them at $90 each is rediculous! Finally, neither the manager nor server ever offered an extra side, glass of wine, cornbread to go, appetizer while we waited, free dessert to share, etc. to compensate for the delay. They simply dropped the expensive check and we way overspent on the meal. Save your dollars and try another place in town.

TB
vipThomasB
Philadelphia
32 reviews
Dined on November 5, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience2

This was our first visit to the Ridley. The service was excellent. Food was very good. However the noise level was excessive. It was nearly impossible to carry on a conversation. Because of the noise level, it is unlikely we would return on a future visit to Charlottesville.

DC
vipDCBoxtera
Richmond
16 reviews
Dined on October 31, 2021
Overall3food3service3ambience4

Pretty good food, but lacking the extras that make a great meal. Waitress was so new she never opened a wine bottle before. Her helpful answer to everything was “of course” though many of the questions shouldn’t have needed asking.

Shrimp and grits excellent. Very course grits with almost a beef brown gravy. But no shrimp shell plate. Burger ok, was well done though ordered medium rare.

All the diners (on a Sunday night) were packed in to adjacent tables…..during a pandemic when there was plenty of space to distance,

Still, good eats.

W
Wispel
Richmond
5 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Easy to reserve. Attentive and excellent staff and great food.

M
vipMelinda
New York Area
37 reviews
Dined on October 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The Ridley specializes in Southern cuisine so we had gumbo and shrimp and grits with corn bread. Everything was delicious. If you were to compare the grits to others, you may find that they were a little thicker in texture. They were delicious with the rich roux and the jumbo shrimp.
The gumbo was spicy with sausage and shrimp, reminding me of a gumbo my Aunt would serve.
The corn bread was served in a small cast iron skillet keeping a crispy outside and a crumbly interior.
The extra pleasure of eating there was reading the back story of the restaurant name posted around the dining room. The Ridley is new to Charlottesville but a place to put on my recommended list.

S
vipSkip
Philadelphia
9 reviews
Dined on October 24, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing food. Amazing service. Kind of pricy options like tomahawk steak for $90

OT
OpenTable Diner
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on October 24, 2021
Overall2food2service2ambience4

We went for brunch and were seated and got water and menus quickly and our orders were taken quickly. We waited 45 min for appetizers and our server who was sweet and attentive in the beginning, didn’t stop to refill waters or explain the delay. 2 tables who were seated after us received food before we did and ours came almost an hour after ordering and was not super appealing as it look as if it sat under heating lamps for some time. Fairly pricey and really disappointing service. It wasn’t super crowded so not sure where the breakdown was.

HB
HeidiB
1 review
Dined on October 23, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Shrimp and grits was fantastic, mac and cheese superb, and old fashioned was the best in C’ville! Service was impeccable!

SV
vipScottV
New England
2 reviews
Dined on October 21, 2021
Overall3food2service2ambience5

Didn’t have Prok chop, everything is overpriced (Miller Light $9), foot fast me and quality (chicken and shrimp and grits) was nothing special. Service was not attentive.

AC
vipAnnetteC
Raleigh
5 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Brandon was wonderful server. Knowledgable, kind and interactive.
The food was great especially the cornbread and butter

VA
VAFoodies
Orlando
5 reviews
Dined on October 17, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Loved the live entertainment. Food was worth the money for the quality and taste. We had oysters and deviled eggs for appetizers. We had salad with shrimp, salmon, and burgers with Mac and cheese.

CH
vipCHARLENEW
Richmond
3 reviews
Dined on October 17, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food and service was excellent. We even got an extra treat with live music during brunch.

SE
SandyE
Charlotte
8 reviews
Dined on October 15, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience3

I was drawn to Ridley's because of its menu and history: black owned, named after the first African American to graduate from UVA. When we arrived I was taken aback by it's lack of diversity in its servers, bartenders and hosts. Having said that the food and drinks were wonderful. We shared the raw oysters and Brussel sprouts to start, then I had the scallops, our daughter had the chicken and my husband had the shrimp and grits. All the plates were plentiful and really good. Service was also attentive, although the bar seemed to be backed up as the drinks took a while to get to us.

F
vipFrank
Philadelphia
91 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience3

Second dinner at Ridley we split a burger very good. Oysters also good.

CP
CleoP
Richmond
2 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Enjoyed the outdoor seating. The food was good.

F
vipFrank
Philadelphia
91 reviews
Dined on October 10, 2021
Overall3food3service3ambience4

Dinner at the bar with my wife. My cocktail was very small, the wine list was very expensive, the salmon was very good and my shrimp as grits were average.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on October 10, 2021
Overall3food3service2ambience2

Food was good service was slow. African American male was over worked. There were times he had to actually work all tables.

FAQs

The Ridley offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (434) 984-8010.

The Ridley is rated 4.2 stars by 139 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.