Threepenny Cafe

Address: 420 West Main Street
Charlottesville, VA  22903

Click to view hours

Phone: (434) 995-5277
Rating: Best
Categories: Dinner, Weekend Brunch

REAL FOOD LOYALTY: 10% off, alcohol excluded.


Threepenny Cafe, known as 3P for short, has been owned and operated by Merope Pavlides since 2014. She and Executive Chef Jeff Deloff are a powerful duo, both showing a deep knowledge of and passion for real food. While there are many businesses in Charlottesville with a strong commitment to local food, 3P stands out for its comprehension of the importance of real food to the health of humans and the planet, particularly meat raised using regenerative livestock practices. Indeed, we are confident that this restaurant ranks among the best efforts nationwide, on par with the top restaurant pioneers in the real/organic food movement.

Despite this acclamation, the restaurant tends to fly a bit under the radar screen, so we hope our BEST rating and words of praise are enough to convince people to make this a top-choice for dinner or brunch on the weekends. We also must note that the price points at 3P are outstanding for the quality of the food you are getting. This is vital because there are so many restaurants that over-inflate their prices, and to advance the real food movement, we need to make sure authenticity is recognized. Dollar for dollar, 3P has to be one of the best restaurants in the entire country.


Healthful Vibe: The attention to quality ingredients and overall presentation make for a very healthful experience at Threepenny, consistent with a BEST-rated restaurant. This is a place where most people are likely going to go as a treat… to celebrate a special occasion or otherwise enjoy a high-quality meal for one reason or another. You can indulge a bit knowing that the foundation of the food is about as good as it gets at a restaurant.

Menu: It is very concise, fitting our mantra that less is better. There is a nice balance between meat, fish, and vegetarian options, and it is authentically seasonal. 

Produce: The owner is a member of the CSA at Bellair Farm, which is featured on Foodwaze for its organic, regenerative practices. The restaurant uses their produce as well as other pesticide-free local purveyors. They also source from the Local Food Hub, paying attention to source farms as much as possible. They also have in their vision a desire to develop an urban garden nearby.

Meat: There’s a total commitment to meat raised locally at some of the best farms using pasture-based, regenerative systems. This is the upper echelon of meat sourcing at a restaurant. Beef is 100% grass-fed. Pork and duck are authentic pasture-raised. Cured pork is made on-site with local, pastured meat.

Eggs: Eggs, both chicken and duck, are sourced locally from farms using real pastured practices. 

Fish: Nicely contained, focusing on limited wild caught selections and sustainable harvesting. In fact, all seafood served has been approved by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program for sustainability.

Grains: Once again the knowledge of real food shines through. Grains come from a combination of a local stone mill sourcing from ecological farms, as well as organically grown grains from Anson Mills in South Carolina. The Carolina grains are used for their pizza crust, which is hand-made and slow-fermented.  Pasta is made with pastured duck eggs. Bread comes from a local bakery using traditional artisan methods.

Dairy: Cheese is minimally used. Goat cheese comes from a nearby pasture-based farm and milk/dairy is sourced locally from a small, family owned, pasture based dairy that Foodwaze has visited and verified.

Dietary Info: 3P is a place where sensitivity to dietary needs is well-understood and appreciated. They are open and receptive to special requests. Due to the owner’s personal experience with gluten-intolerance, there are plenty of gluten-free options and alternatives. While healthful meat is a forte at this restaurants, vegetarian options are available. 

Other Health Factors: The restaurant rates highly for these qualities:

- Philosophy against GMO products as well as artificial ingredients, corn syrup, food coloring, and food additives

- Use of rendered animal fat for cooking and animal parts to make stocks and soups. They usually order whole/half animals and make use of them nose-to-tail.

- They also have a spotless health inspection report for the past two years.

- The attention to detail is seemingly endless, including use of local honey and syrup.


As with all our BEST-rated businesses, Threepenny Cafe excels not only for the food it serves, but for the authenticity of its mission. Our discussions with Pavlides show a deep and genuine knowledge of the real food movement, driven by personal and professional experience with chronic disease and immune system disorders.

You can read a Foodwaze blog post about Threepenny and Pavlides by clicking here.


The restaurant is in a building that dates back to the 1940s and served as a automotive service station. It still retains the look… and the signage, so just look for the Whiting Oil Company. Inside it bears little resemblance to a garage. It is clean and classy. They also have great outdoor seating. 

Threepenny also frequently has live music… check their website.

There is some parking right behind the building or you can park in the Main Street Market parking lot a short distance up the street.

Threepenny is a place where you can feel comfortable in casual attire or dressed up for a special event.


This listing was compiled using the following processes:

• Several lengthy meetings with the owner and the staff at 3P.

• Eating at the establishment on numerous occasions.

• Visiting most of the regenerative farms they use as sources. 

• Conducting other research about the business.

Farm Supplies
Autumn Olive Farms Pork
Bellair Farm Fruits, Vegetables or Herbs
Caromont Farm Cheese
Free Union Grass Farm Duck
Mt. Crawford Creamery Dairy
Schuyler Greens Fruits, Vegetables or Herbs
Wayside Produce Farm Fruits, Vegetables or Herbs
Wolf Creek Farm Beef
Woodson's Mill Grains
Threepenny Cafe specializes in preparing food for the following dietary needs:
  • Vegetarian
  • Paleo
  • Gluten-free
Other information about Threepenny Cafe:
  • Mid-cost meal: $11-$25
  • Outdoor Seating
  • On-site parking
  • Accepts Reservations
  • Wellness Education
  • Entertainment
  • Accepts Credit Cards
  • Full Bar
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Family Friendly
  • Business Meeting Friendly
  • Romantic