The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Downtown Fredericksburg streets offer cheap eats

3 min read
By AUGUSTUS GROHMANN Staff Writer Despite UMW’s proximity to downtown Fredericksburg, some students rarely visit the area. Most students give one of two explanations: It is too much of a hassle to go into town or it is too expensive to eat there.

Augustus Grohmann / The Blue & Gray Press


Staff Writer

Despite UMW’s proximity to downtown Fredericksburg, some students rarely visit the area.  Most students give one of two explanations:  It is too much of a hassle to go into town or it is too expensive to eat there. 

Although college students tend to not have a lot of extra cash, they can still eat out without burning through their hard-earned money.  For example, it is no secret that many students enjoy a slice of pizza from Benny Vitali’s every once in a while, due to the astonishingly large portions and comparatively low prices offered there.  Benny’s, however, is not the only affordable restaurant off campus.  Many other locations offer good, decently proportioned food for less than ten dollars.  

Soup and Taco

When asked about inexpensive food, many students will point you towards Soup and Taco or its nearer counterpart, The Soup and Taco 2.  These two restaurants also are known for serving massive quantities of food for relatively inexpensive prices.  For example, a plate of Pupusas at Soup and Taco is less than six dollars and, speaking from personal experience, is more food than any one person could reasonably ask for.  

Soup and Taco and Soup and Taco II are some of the best places to get inexpensive food for UMW students. | Augustus Grohmann / The Blue and Gray Press


Unfortunately, these restaurants suffer from an obvious downside. Pupusas and pizzas sound great to many of us, but for vegans or people with gluten free diets, they seem less viable.  However, downtown Fredericksburg has options for these people as well.  The clearest example of this is Mercantile.  Between its wide varieties of seasonal options for dining, there is almost always an option for everyone and the menu explicitly advertises vegan-friendly options.  


Of course, there are also options for people who are only out for a good old fashioned American hamburger.  Vivify, a delightful little burger joint midway down William Street, also sells hot dogs and chili dogs at comparatively low prices.  

Vivify is a great place to get classic American food. | Augustus Grohmann / The Blue and Gray Press


Another possible option for those looking to relive their childhood a little is Sprelly, a gourmet peanut butter and jelly sandwich shop housed in the same building as the Made in Virginia store.  Although the concept of a “gourmet peanut butter and jelly sandwich” seems a little absurd, the results are no laughing matter and delivers with a tasty variety of customizable sandwiches and crepes.  Each features its own unique take on the classic recipe and includes homemade peanut butter.  Ranging from the iconic to the absurd, (who has ever heard of a spicy peanut butter and jelly sandwich),  the restaurant has something for nearly everyone.

Goolrick’s Pharmacy

After sorting through all these options, one is naturally inclined to finish their day with a little dessert.  Downtown Fredericksburg, as always, delivers with a wide variety of different places to grab some sweet treats.  One of the most notable of these places is Goolrick’s Pharmacy.  Famously, the store is one of the oldest soda fountains in America, and perhaps more notoriously, advertises itself as having “Sandwiches, shakes, malts and drugs.”  Because of this old-timey combination, this is the perfect option for anyone looking to have something to eat while they go to pick up their prescriptions.

Downtown Fredericksburg has a variety of places to visit for a great meal.  Maybe next time family or friends come to visit, instead of burning through those precious few guest swipes, you may want to consider taking them into town instead.  You might just want to go on your own.  Downtown Fredericksburg is fun, lively, and  has no end of potential options for great, cheap food.