A Taste of Williamsburg: A Law Student’s Guide to Food


A good time at Amber Ox

Williamsburg might not seem like a foodie’s mecca, but for a typical college town, it packs a punch when it comes to culinary options! Vegan or vegetarian? Hankering for Thai or Vietnamese? Best places for a quick bite and local brew? This list will have you covered!

Williamsburg Musts

Here for a quick trip? These are my go-to recommendations for when I have friends or family visiting for a short time.

The Cheese Shop – This is the hot spot in town for our alums and visiting students. Great sandwiches, great price, and great vibes! The Cheese Shop is a favorite for Williamsburg tourists (and locals!). The House Dressing they serve with their food is amazing and tastes good on just about everything. Fair warning – on a nice Spring day there is always a line out the door. I am telling you, they have the best sandwiches in town. Downstairs is also the Wine Cellar; their experts will give you a great option for a glass if you’re so inclined, or you can take a bottle upstairs to the cheese counter, and the cheese mongers will make you a custom cheese plate based on the wine you bought!

Aromas – A cute coffee shop in Merchant’s Square (the downtown shopping center of Colonial Williamsburg) with many yummy lunch items. It is only a 10 minute walk from the law school. They also have great vegetarian options! My recommendation for coffee is the William’s White – a white mocha! For lunch, I like the Thai Vegetarian Wrap. There’s also an Aroma’s in Swem Library on Main Campus in case you need a different studying atmosphere!

Blue Talon – Best brunch in town is Blue Talon! If you are looking for a place a bit more “colonial”… they even joke that they have the best colonial water. The French Toast is my favorite choice! Again, it gets busy so schedule a reservation ahead of time. Brunch aside, on Thursday nights, they do “Tribe” Thursday, which for William & Mary students is a dinner entree for $10 and wine for $3 a glass. I did not find this out until my 2L year… so giving you all the heads up now. They also have a special menu for W&M students on their birthdays!

Law Student Favorites

We polled, and these are our favorite places to hangout, grab food, a drink and relax outside of the classroom. And they’re all super close to the Law School!

Precarious Beer Hall – Tacos, beer, a five minute walk from the law school. What else could you ask for? Precarious is a new spot that just opened this summer, and the law students already love it. Inside is Electric Circus Taco Bar; have a ton of different taco options, nachos, and churros! I personally think the Korean Pork is delicious – the perfect amount of spicy. Also, highly recommend the chips and dips (yes, you get multiple dips)! Precarious was built to be a barcade, so aside from the great food and local brews, there are also classic games like skeeball, basketball, Street Fighter, pinball, and air hockey!!

Amber Ox – Hands down my favorite food in Williamsburg. Their food is made fresh everyday and they are always changing their menu items. The AO burger is a classic and the pimento cheese is one of my favorite go-to appetizers. The Virginia Apple salad is my go-to choice here. They have great outdoor seating. Come on a Thursday night, and you will be sure to catch a group of law students outside hanging out. Fun fact: Precarious Beer Project started out of Amber Ox very soon after they opened; while the barcade is not connected to Amber Ox, they’re still a part of the same family and so you can find a lot of the same beers at each location. If one doesn’t have your favorite on tap, try the other!

New Pauls – As my Dad found out earlier this semester, the name of the bar is not actually “New Pauls”. It the NewTown location of Paul’s Deli, a Williamsburg staple for the last few decades. The original Paul’s Deli is on the corner of Scotland and Richmond, just across from the Sadler Center, and is a frequent haunt of most undergrads. Aside from their delicious cheesy fries, New Paul’s has a great outdoor space with fire pits (noticing a trend here?). They have good entrees, good happy hour deals and live music. Did I mention they give away free cannolis at closing time?


Breakfast at the Blue Talon

Fine Dining

For when the family is in town and you want to go somewhere nice. For each of these restaurants you’ll need to make a reservation ahead of time!

Opus 9 – A steakhouse with a number of delicious land and sea options. It’s located in NewTown, so about 10 minutes from the law school. They also have very great happy hour and brunch! The desserts are incredible. Chocolate cake – yes please!

Le Yaca – The most classic French restaurant in town (Blue Talon has a French flair, too). The french onion soup is a must! Le Yaca is a favorite among the law school professors.

Fat Canary – The go-to “parents came to visit me” Williamsburg restaurant for most William & Mary students. Very much a treat for special occasions! Their menu items change frequently, but if they have it, I highly recommend the Sea Bass — it is out of this world. I also like to sit at the bar and enjoy a glass of wine. It’s conveniently connected to the Cheese Shop as well, so you can always snag an after dinner drink at the Wine Cellar downstairs!

Have a dietary restriction?

Great vegan options in town include Food for Thought, Culture Cafe, and LOKAL – guaranteed to find something delicious, and you may not even know it’s vegan! If you’re gluten-free, most places in town have a ton of gluten-free options, including Mellow Mushroom and Blaze Pizza. Williamsburg is pretty well known for being the breakfast capital of Virginia, and if the best pancakes in town can be gluten-free, you know you’re in the right place!

If you’ve made it this far, we appreciate your dedication! By no means is this list exhaustive, but it’s a good example of the MANY places to eat, relax, and hang out with friends in town. We’ll be back with more foodie haunts on our Instagram in the next few weeks, so make sure to check it out!

10 Questions with Emily O’Hara

Get to know this year’s student bloggers! And make sure you’re following us on Instagram for an inside look into William & Mary Law!  

3L Emily O'Hara sits with George Wythe and John Marshall

1. Who are you?
Hi! I’m Emily, and I’m a 3L at W&M law! I live in Williamsburg with my fiancé, but I am originally from central New York. I graduated from Syracuse University in 2017 with my BA in English and Political Science. In law school, I am a member of the Honor Council and the Senior Articles Editor of the William & Mary Law Review.

2. What are you reading right now?
Sometimes, I try to read “for fun.” Right now, I am reading All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I take half an hour to read before sleeping each night. Fun Fact: you can use your public library card on the OverDrive App to download books to your Kindle/ Tablet for free!

3. What is your cheese shop order?
Turkey on Focaccia Bread with House Dressing. You can also buy bread ends for $1.00 and a container of house dressing to dip them in. It is a great snack (but not super healthy)!

4. Favorite study spot in the law school?
My carrel is on the second floor of the library near the front of the building by the windows. It is quiet, gets great natural light, and is close to the drinking fountain. I also like to sit outside on the patio when the whether is nice, and I often work at my desk in the Law Review Office.

5. Who is your legal idol?
Sandra Day O’Connor was the first woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court and the first woman in the legal profession I was exposed to when I was young. As someone who always attempts to see an issue from all perspectives, I have always appreciated her moderate opinions where she appears to be looking at an issue from all sides.

6. What is your go-to at Aromas?
Aromas has a mint latte that tastes great with grasshopper biscotti. I also enjoy their raspberry iced tea when it is warmer outside.

7. Favorite arbitrary law?
You may know that the President traditionally pardons a turkey every Thanksgiving. But Governors have also been known to pardon dogs!

8. Favorite spot to eat in town?
Craft 31. It has a nice covered patio with live entertainment on the weekends. The food is good, and there are a lot of local craft beers on tap.

9. One thing you wish you would have known before applying to law school?
At the end of your three years, you may still not know 100% what law you want to practice. You do not have to know. You still have time to figure it out, whether it be in law school, during a summer internship, or on the job after graduation. You will grow so much during law school; you will develop so many personal and professional relationships, and you will build all the skills necessary to succeed in the legal world.

Additionally – people always told me to “take a year off.” I graduated from college and started law school that next fall. That decision was right for me. When thinking about law school, it is important to stay true to who you are and do what is best for you. That mentality will serve you well during the next three years.

10. Your motivation for law school?
I always knew that I wanted to help people. Growing up, when I would see something unjust happen to another person, I would get frustrated and angry. I have always loved reading, writing, and making creative arguments. I am also a detail-focused person. I figured I could use these skills and my passion to enter the legal profession to enact changes that can benefit people’s lives.

What’s getting me though law school are my parents. They always stressed that getting a college degree was important. They did not graduate from college, making me the first person in my family to get a bachelor’s degree. They worked extremely hard so that my brother and I had opportunities to learn and develop skills needed to achieve our goals. I always knew that one of my goals was to have a career where I could help make a difference. My parents have always been supportive in my desire to keep learning. I could not get through law school without their support.