One of the driving forces why people are traveling to Virginia is its culinary scene. The Commonwealth’s restaurants that opened in 2015 serve up a wide range of tastes.
While there were many restaurants* that opened in 2015, here are some of the offerings that satisfied our appetites:
Blue Toad Hard Cider Tasting Room & Grill – Afton, VA
Blue Toad Hard Cider has positioned itself to create incredible hard cider products within productive agricultural hubs of the east coast. Its northern location on Rt. 151 – Blue Toad Hard Cider Tasting Room & Grill provides sampling of our hard cider varieties, as well as items from our grill to enjoy along with it. Casual atmosphere & food / Grill Menu items include: Mix & Match Signature Sliders, Poutine, Basket of Fries, Harvest Apple Pecan Salad with spiced cider vinaigrette, and a hard cider float for dessert.
Birch Kitchen & Bar – Bristow, VA
The setting of the eatery is based on the raw and warm texture of the farmhouse contrasted with a sense of urban modernity and flair. Outdoor seating under the trellis is akin to customers’ backyards with the high touch service of trained and friendly staff. Herbs and vegetables growing in containers are scattered around the eatery to create a sense of presence in the garden and the wholesomeness of sourcing real food from the soil. The menu is seasonal and changes regularly.
Brink of the James Bistro (Photo: Botetourt County Office of Tourism)
Brink of the James Bistro – Buchanan, VA
The Brink of the James Bistro is a retro themed American bistro, featuring fresh contemporary and throwback local favorites. Located on Main Street (Rt 11), the Bistro has a full-service dining room, outdoor deck and Grab-n-Go retail counter. Offering classics and local craft beer, local wines, and mixed drinks. Don’t forget to check out that view of the Upper James River from the outdoor dining area.
The Swinging Bridge Café – Buchanan, VA
The Swinging Bridge Cafe is a family-owned restaurant that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, with breakfast being served all day. The restaurant serves American-style cuisine such as burgers, hot dogs, pizza, and sandwiches.
Tizzone Wood Fired Kitchen and Wine Bar – Daleville, VA
Tizzone Wood Fired Kitchen and Wine Bar is a mixture of casual atmosphere and upscale dining with a place for wine tastings. The restaurant’s signature is its wood-fired oven and its use of farm-to-table foods that are locally grown. About a dozen types of pizzas and creative entrees that can’t be found in other nearby restaurants are part of their menu. They have an extensive wine and beer list, with a number of Virginia-made options, amazing wood-fired pizza, and nightly dinner specials.
Mercantile – Fredericksburg, VA
Mercantile is the newest culinary venture by “Top Chef” Season 12 alum, Joy Crump. Located in the city’s original Mercantile, Joy’s new restaurant puts a refined spin on traditional southern cuisine, and features locally-sourced and seasonal breakfast and lunch foods. The menu changes seasonally, but its staples include The Bluebird (coarse-ground creamy organic grits topped with housemade rustic sauce, braised beef brisket and a poached egg), the Pork Chop Pan Skillet (thick-cut chop with pan-fried apples and pepper-infused maple syrup over a housemade dutch baby), and a Fork & Knife Egg Sandwich featuring Virginia Ham.
Pure Eats Burgers & Fries (Photo: Visit Harrisonburg)
Pure Eats Harrisonburg – Harrisonburg, VA
Pure Eats is dedicated to providing the highest quality, locally sourced food in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere. They serve fresh doughnuts, Buffalo Creek Burgers, wraps, salads, fries, Homestead Creamery milkshakes, and a variety of local craft beer.
South Fork BBQ – Harrisonburg, VA
South Fork BBQ create brilliantly executed barbecue and southern cuisine that honors the tradition, technique, and craft of the American South. The menu is very simple….brisket, pulled pork, and ribs.
The Golden Pony – Harrisonburg, VA
Specializing in scratch-made American cuisine, The Golden Pony offers high quality pizza, burgers, salads, subs and an inspired children’s menu. They have pinball machines, an art gallery, an outdoor patio, two full bars and a professional sound stage for live music Sunday-Thursday and DJs on the weekends.
CJ Finz Raw Bar & Grille – Manassas, VA
Located in the heart of Historic Downtown Manassas, CJ Finz Raw Bar & Grille is a family-owned and -operated surf and turf restaurant offering coastal dining with a hometown feel. Boasting the only second-level deck in the area, CJ Finz offers an overlook to the Harris Pavilion and its seasonal festivals and activities, and is just a few steps away from the VRE and Manassas Museum. From the freshly shucked oysters to the blackened beef tips, the unique atmosphere and fresh menu offer a satisfying dining experience.
Chopstix – Martinsville, VA
This restaurant offers Asian-fusion cuisine in a modern atmosphere. Chinese, Japanese and Thai style dishes are served in addition to sushi. This venue is good for dining parties of all sizes, groups welcome.
Serendipity Coffee House & Bistro – Martinsville, VA
Serendipity offers breakfast, lunch and dinner in a cozy coffee house atmosphere. Tables are available in the dining room, a patio and in the atrium and cozy couches and arm chairs are also available for comfortable conversation over coffee. This is the first restaurant in the area to offer Sunday Brunch. All of their sauces, dressings and side dishes are made from scratch. The coffee is locally milled at nearby Honduras Coffee Company in Stuart, VA.
Rockfish Baking Company – Nellysford, VA
Rockfish Baking Company specializes in cupcakes, pies, Danish pastries and fresh baked goods. Quaint, casual location. Sit-down tables and coffee to go with your pastries.
Joe’s Steak & Seafood – North Dinwiddie, VA
Sometimes you just want a really good steak and that is what you will get at the new Joe’s Steak & Seafood, which opened in North Dinwiddie in May 2015. You will also get crabcakes, fresh fish, and delicious Chicken Anna, which is a tribute to Joe’s wife. Guests rave about the shrimp tacos and the strawberry chicken salad is a lunch favorite. This is a comfortable, friendly restaurant but the décor provides the perfect backdrop for date nights and special occasions also.
Saucy’s Sit Down (Photo: Petersburg Area Regional Tourism)
Saucy’s Sit Down – Petersburg, VA
Pork lovers rejoiced at the opening of Saucy’s “hip” barbecue restaurant in January 2015. It is located in what many years ago was a Nash Rambler dealership, as well as a Coca-Cola bottling works in Old Towne Petersburg. Saucy’s Sit Down is down home fun and mouthwatering food in a somewhat dressed up industrial setting. You can order a barbecue sandwich that has the meat piled so high it’s falling off of the roll, barbecue chicken, or the amazing ribs, with homemade mac & cheese, coleslaw, spicy fries, mashed sweet potatoes among the sides available.
Family Meal – Richmond, VA
“Top Chef” Season 6 runner-up Bryan Voltaggio opened this new modern, all-day diner in March 2015. Serving up stone ground grits, seasoned fries kennebec potatoes, malt vinegar aioli, ketchup or macaroni and cheese tillamook cheddar, panko and Parmesan crumb.
The Tin Pan – Richmond, VA
This restaurant doubles as a live music venue that features live bands most nights of the week. The menu ranges from traditional American fare including burgers, sandwiches, salads and more.
Hutch Bar & Eatery – Richmond, VA
Hutch Bar & Eatery, located in the West End of Richmond prepares approachable southern favorites using fresh ingredients in a casual and comfortable atmosphere. Hutch offers many gluten free, vegetarian, and family friendly items.
Shoryuken Ramen – Richmond, VA
This former pop-up shop opened its brick and mortar location in April 2015. The restaurant provides Japanese style ramen to a Western audience.
Fortunato Restaurant (Photo: Brett Winter Lemon)
Fortunato Restaurant – Roanoke, VA
Opening in late 2015, Fortunato is the region’s only traditional Italian kitchen & Neapolitan style pizzeria from the unique Italian wine list and original cocktails to the housemade pastas and locally sourced vegetables and meats. It combines both modern and rustic architecture to create an atmosphere that encourages patrons to eat, share, and be family.
The Black Bear Café & Wine Bar – Wintergreen, VA
The Black Bear Cafe is located at Wintergreen Resort and features gourmet Bakery breakfast, sandwiches, salads, appetizer plates, delicious entrees and desserts. Offering local restaurant delivery to Wintergreen residents and guests and also wine tastings at the wine bar. Casual coffee-shop atmosphere on top of the mountain.
Ornery Beer Company – Woodbridge, VA
The Ornery Beer Company Public House is a casual but elevated pub serving meticulously crafted, house brewed ales & lagers paired with a creative menu. The menu is a variety of American classics with a twist. Serving up everything from Chicken & Waffle bites to a Lamburger with whipped feta and tzatziki sauce there is something for everyone.
CaraMELized Restaurant – Woodstock, VA
This Veteran owned restaurant offering daily Southern Home Cookin specials, personal service, and reasonably priced within a laid back, casual atmosphere. Lunch and dinner options include everything from sandwiches and salads to steak, salmon and shrimp.
Woodstock Brewhouse featuring 1752 BBQ – Woodstock, VA
This renovated historic denim factory offers at least eight home crafted beers on tap at any given time as well as homemade root beer, cream soda and ginger ale. Weekday menu includes flatbread pizzas, giant Bavarian pretzels, and Route 11 Potato Chips. Fridays and Saturdays customers can enjoy 1752 BBQ which is smoked in house. Options include beef brisket, pulled pork, sausage sliders and turkey as well as a number of traditional southern sides.
*The restaurants in this article were submitted for consideration by Virginia travel partners.
What was your favorite Virginia restaurant that opened in 2015? Let us know in the comments below.