The Ridley

4.3
123 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 123 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.2
food
4.2
service
4.3
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
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LP
LauraP
Richmond
8 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
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
3 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Awesome food!!!!

AV
vipAVBAMG
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
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
DCBoxtera
Richmond
14 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
7 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
90 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
90 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.

NP
vipNellP
Washington DC
32 reviews
Dined on October 9, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience2

We very much enjoyed dinner at The Ridley on October 9, 2021. The Southern-themed food was excellent. We started with a generous glass of quite good cava and a terrific martini with our first course of Chesapeake Bay oysters on the half shell, then moving on to the roast chicken and the shrimp & grits, both of which were excellent. The shrimp & grits were particularly noteworthy, with a rich, dark roux, creamy, flavorful grits and plump, meaty shrimp (take it from a North Carolinian born and bred). Our server Brooke was delightful. We would happily go back again the next time we're in town.

P
Pete
1 review
Dined on October 9, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was great and piping hot. The service was also very good. Never had to wait for anything.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Richmond
1 review
Dined on October 9, 2021
Overall1food1service1ambience2

Could not get the sink to work in the bathroom after my hands were soaped up so I asked if there was another sink. The owner or manager said I could not use any other available sink. He was a total jerk and the staff was scared of him.

JW
JaniceW
Greensboro
7 reviews
Dined on October 8, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience3

A little overpriced; but the food was good and service was excellent.

M
Melissa
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on October 8, 2021
Overall3food3service3ambience3

We were a little disappointed in the Ridley. Three of us were excited to get out and try a new restaurant-- we started off with the vodka cocktail and were all disappointed, it was like pink lemonade with vodka (yet the description had a lot of interesting flavors, including pea flower?!). Unfortunately, we were all disappointed with our entrees. I had the salmon over root veggies, the salmon was small and a little overcooked. My friend go the gumbo and said it was a lot of rice, not much shrimp or sausage. On the up side, the service was good and the ambiance was fun. But we won't be rushing back.

n
vipnina
New York Area
271 reviews
Dined on October 8, 2021
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Fine. Not amazing.

TF
TonyaF
Richmond
3 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2021
Overall3food2service4ambience3

This was my 3rd time at The Ridley and honestly I was disappointed. The appetizers and my food was lukewarm. It was as if they pretty much served food from the previous evening and just tried to warm it up. It definitely was not fresh. The staff was very friendly so the service itself was great, but very, very disappointed with the food. I will not be back anytime soon.

HM
HooMom23
E. Tennessee
1 review
Dined on October 3, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I love their food. They have an excellent chef and good quality ingredients. Also super convenient.

BC
vipBenC
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a great night. Impressive menu and venue together with Fantastic food and service.

LR
LeRoy
1 review
Dined on September 28, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Full bar at 8am in the morning, outstanding👍🏾👍🏾

SH
SheilaH
1 review
Dined on September 27, 2021
Overall4food4service3ambience3

Everything was great, except that our waiter kept his mask down around his chin. We were at an outdoor table and we are all vaccinated, so it wasn't a huge deal, but all the other servers we saw were properly masked. Four of us had different seafood dishes and were quite impressed with flavors, quality and quantity.

GS
GSF1
Richmond
2 reviews
Dined on September 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Skip never disappoints, brunch was absolutely fantastic!

TM
TrunkMob
1 review
Dined on September 25, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience5

Great restaurant, but like all restaurants in downtown Charlottesville, available parking is tricky.

KT
KarenT
Las Vegas
7 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Food was good. Pretty limited menu. Helen, our server was great Ridiculously small martinis for $17.00

RR
RReid
1 review
Dined on September 18, 2021
Overall2food3service1ambience3

I was excited to eat at The Ridley. I chose it as the place for breakfast off the internet. Coming from out of town it looked like a good place to eat. I liked the Brunch menu that was online and there were many choices to choose from.

Arrived at the Ridley on time for 12 noon reservation. Set at an outside table and had to ask for table to be cleaned twice. The menu was not the menu I had seen online. The choices were extremely limited. It took about 10 minutes before someone came to take our order. We ordered Omelets... it took about 40 minutes from the time we ordered to the time the meal was brought to the table. A little over 30 minutes after ordering, the waitress came by and stated that they were backed up and our order was next in line.

I casually looked inside the restaurant and noticed that the inside was pretty empty and patrons were sparse, and also observed that we were the only ones seated outside . And while the restaurant was pretty busy when I arrived by this time it was not.

Once the food arrived, the portion size was pretty small and the food was lukewarm at best.

It was not the best experience.

DB
DavidB
Dallas
2 reviews
Dined on September 17, 2021
Overall3food2service3ambience2

Food was marginal.

FAQs

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

The Ridley is rated 4.3 stars by 123 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.