Mel's Cafe

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Street view of Mel's Cafe. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Mel's Cafe serves southern food at its location on 719 West Main Street. The restaurant is located on the same site as Rufus W. Holsinger's University Studio building in the early 1900's.[1]

Melvin Eugene Walker opened the restaurant in 1984, but after five years he closed the restaurant because of a lack of business. In 1995, he rented the building and reopened the business. Walker is still the owner and chef at the restaurant. [2] [3]

In 2013, the building was granted protected status by the Charlottesville City Council due to the structure contributing to the West Main Street Architectural Design Control District's sense of time, place, and historical development. With this new status, any future owner of the building would have to request permission from city officials in order to demolish the structure.[4]

Randy Jones worked at the restaurant prior to his passing in the summer of 2022.

As of May 29, 2024, the restaurant's owner and head chef, Melvin Eugene Walker, has passed away.[5]

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Coordinates:Erioll world.svg.png 38°03′12″N 78°29′01″W / 38.053252°N 78.483654°W / 38.053252; -78.483654


  1. Web. Rufus W. Holsinger, Jefferson’s University—Early Life Project
  2. Web. A Charlottesville Original, Forward / Adelante, retrieved June 5, 2014.
  3. Web. Living history: Charlottesville restaurants we miss (and those we’ll go on loving forever), C-VILLE Writers, Knife & Work, C-Ville Weekly, April 7, 2016, retrieved October 3, 2020.
  4. Web. Divided council adds demolition protection to several W. Main buildings, Charlottesville Tomorrow, 12/14/2013
  5. Web. Legendary Melvin Walker, Mel's Cafe entrepreneur, passes away, News Article, Cville Right Now, May 29, 2024, retrieved May 30, 2024.