Best Out of Town Meals an Hour or Less Away 

Critics' Pick

click to enlarge Upper Shirley Vineyards’ restaurant and tasting room.

Scott Elmquist

Upper Shirley Vineyards’ restaurant and tasting room.

Who hasn't experienced the soul-sucking traffic jam that can be Interstate 95 North? When nothing's moving and your stress level is climbing, get off in Fredericksburg and head directly to Bistro Bethem for a refined take on seasonal Southern food in a charming dining room covered in local art. The lump crabmeat-stuffed avocado alone is worthy of a sonnet.

To the south is Petersburg's Saucy's Bar. B. Q., still serving what Southern Living called "the South's best butt" out of a shipping container, but now with a sit-down dining room as well.

Heading west? Gordonsville's Pomme delivers a charming French country vibe and tastefully restrained service, along with classic dishes such as fish terrine and filet de sole St. Germaine.

And Upper Shirley Vineyards makes for a worthwhile stop heading east, only 25 minutes from downtown. You can grab a Route 5 burger made of a combination of ground beef brisket, short rib and chuck that oozes gratifyingly all over your plate or get fancy with gnocchi that changes with the seasons along with the vineyard's cabernet franc or viognier.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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