The Mill Room

A Charlottesville classic reimagined

The hulking 19th-century heartwood pine beams framing The Mill Room at Charlottesville’s Boar’s Head Resort are more than fixtures — they're baked into the memories of the Virginia denizens who’ve dined at the restaurant since 1965.

Following a multi-million-dollar refresh in 2018, the former Old Mill Room’s gristmill lumber still holds the restaurant’s secrets, but the dark colonial-style décor and special occasion vibes have been shelved for an open, urban aesthetic. Set in the middle of farm country close to the University of Virginia, the venue’s majestic timbers crown a sleek new bar, which mixes up a mean Kopper Kettle bourbon mint julep.

Executive chef Dale Ford has done some repurposing of his own. The newly refurbished Trout House — a vintage cabin that once stored live fish — is now the kitchen’s hydroponic garden growing buttery lettuces and micro greens for salads and dishes like Southern-fried lobster lightened with shaved vegetables.
Our Inspector's Highlights

  • While his food has classic French leanings, Ford embraces Southern cuisine, as seen through his shrimp and grits as well as fried green tomatoes and pimento cheese.
  • Buttery leather booths and uncovered tables serve up a relaxed aesthetic, and the Central Virginia fare is sourced primarily from a 45-mile radius. Check your menu for a map highlighting exactly where almost every ingredient on your plate originated.
  • Service is warm yet polished. Outfitted in sharply styled blue jeans, dining room attendants wear name tags denoting their birthplace and length of tenure at the Charlottesville restaurant.
  • Sustainability isn’t just a mantra at The Mill Room. The Virginia restaurant is home to North America’s largest hydroponic indoor garden, and all its oyster shells are donated to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, where they are recycled into oyster reefs to help repopulate the waterway’s native bivalve population.
  • After a day of golf, hiking the Shenandoah or visiting Edgar Allan Poe’s dorm room at the University of Virginia, linger over a glass of Monticello-grown wine in a rocking chair on the patio as the sun sets.

Things to Know

  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner are indulgences at The Mill Room, but menus also net healthier options. Energize your morning meal with a bowl of coconut granola, Greek yogurt and Boar’s Head honey.
  • Reserve a table with the concierge or through the resort’s online reservations system. Winter holiday revelers, fall foliage peepers and spring bridal parties often fill the mid-size dining room.
  • The Porch is an octagonal room with bucolic views. Ask for table 45, a window seat facing the duck pond.
  • The reimagined restaurant is composed of three parts: an airy bar and main dining room at its heart; the Porch and Terrace, which face sculpted greenery and a walking trail; and the intimate, business-ready 1834 Room with optional big screens.
  • The Mill House dress code skews resort casual during the day, and smart casual at night.

The Food

  • Best sourcing is Ford’s ethos. This principle is displayed in dishes like heirloom tomato toast topped with aged, raw goat cheese from regional chef and Caromont Farm cheesemaker Gail Hobbs Page, who cooked professionally with James Beard Award-wining Southern toque Edna Lewis.
  • Ford keeps 30,000 bees from which he collects honey. Combs of it bejewel the Southern ham and jam board alongside smoked duck ham, local prosciutto and garlic herb biscuits.
  • Thanks to the Charlottesville restaurant’s regional sourcing practices, you’ll be able to enjoy a menu spotlighting seasonal bounty whenever you visit. Summer is peak season for fresh salads and housemade fettuccine with arugula pesto, zucchini and Sharondale mushrooms.
  • Though the dining room rests in the Blue Ridge Mountains, seafood isn’t neglected on the menu. Start your day with smoked salmon with pressed eggs, lunch on Chesapeake crab cakes, and sup on sea scallops over local corn puree at dinner.

The Drinks

  • At the bar, nosh on fried oysters and pimento cheese washed down with a classic sidecar. The tipple is given an extra fruity kick with Laird’s Old Apple Brandy from the nation’s oldest distillery.
  • Several cocktails are sweetened with honey from Boar’s Head Resort’s own hives. Brown spirits lovers should try The Huntsman (bourbon, house honey and grapefruit juice) for a taste of a Virginia staple, while tequila tipplers can savor a Honey Thyme Margarita (tequila, Cointreau, honey, grapefruit and lime juices) for a twist on a classic.
  • With roughly 40 Virginia wines supplemented by ample options from California and Oregon, The Mill Room has a strong concentration of American wines.
  • Barboursville Vineyards’ Malvaxia Passito (a honeyed, late-harvest Virginia wine) elevates Ford’s lavender crème brûlée with caramelized rock sugar to a toe-curling experience.

Business casual
Gluten-free options
Kid friendly
Outdoor seating
Private dining
Reservations recommended
Vegetarian options
Getting There
200 Ednam Drive, Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
The Mill Room
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