Behind the eight ball with regard to Thanksgiving dinner? Never fear. Here are seven places serving hot, traditional Thanksgiving meals for you and your family to enjoy. Reservations may be required; call in advance of your trip.
Bedford – Peaks of Otter Thanksgiving Buffet - The Thanksgiving Day buffet will include fresh salad and homemade salads, turkey, honey glazed ham, hand-carved prime rib, seafood scampi medley, and herb roasted pork tenderloin. Traditional sides, desserts and bread included. $28.95/adult; $15.95 for children 12 and under. Menu
Glen Allen – Thanksgiving at Wyndham Virginia Crossings – Treat your family to a special Thanksgiving of pine nut crusted pork cutlets, turkey, seared salmon, pomegranate and brown sugar glazed ham, roasted acorn squash soup, surry sausage cornbread stuffing, steamed prawns, and the “Holiday Beverage Extravaganza.” $42/adult; $21 for children 6-12. Menu
Luray – Thanksgiving Day Buffet in Shenandoah National Park – Celebrate with a bountiful buffet. More than 12 relishes, soups, salads, starters and sides are available for five entree selections and seven dessert selections, plus bread and beverages. $29.95/adult; $14 for children 6-12. Menu
Natural Bridge – Natural Bridge Thanksgiving Buffet – Give yourself a break this year. Make the afternoon with friends & family a relaxing, easy, memorable get together. Enjoy a scrumptious meal and live entertainment at the Natural Bridge Hotel. $25.95/adult; $12.98 for children 5-12
Newport News – Thanksgiving at the Boxwood Inn – This historic inn is the perfect place to gather and enjoy a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal. Come for the oven roasted turkey, beef tenderloin, sliced ham, traditional stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, corn pudding, and so much more! $28.95/adult; $14.95 for children under 10. Menu
Have you ever loved a specific dish so much that you drove well out of your way just to enjoy it? My parents did that for a cup of coffee once, and my mother-in-law drove across the Commonwealth to get a hot, fresh Smithfield ham biscuit once, too. I’m convinced a renowned slice of pie will garner the same craving and willingness to go. Let’s try it out!
Old Chickahominy House
Our trusted source of “locals” have filled us in on their favorite places for pie, and we’d love to hear about yours, too. Let your mouth water and then leave a comment.
The Old Chickahominy House in Williamsburg has been serving southern breakfast and lunch specialties since 1955, but it’s the homemade chocolate pie that Terri raves about. She says it’s “the creamiest, chocolatiest filling in a flaky crust that’s the most delicious pie you’ll ever put into your mouth.”
Visit to try a slice. If you love it, place an order for Thanksgiving. Choose from coconut, buttermilk, chocolate, apple crumb, “no sugar added” apple, cherry crumb, pecan, and sweet potato.
If you find yourself in Abingdon (which I hope you do), put JJ’s Restaurant and Sports Bar on your list of “musts.” They call themselves “Abingdon’s classiest little dive,” but Tenille’s note really says it all. “They serve chocolate, coconut, butterscotch, and peanut butter. Their pies are homemade by a 70 year old lady, who makes them everyday fresh and ready to eat. These are the pies that your grandmother made but never gave you the recipe.”
Tenille didn’t stop there. She has another pie hot-spot in Abingdon, Chick-N-Little. She says this family-owned restaurant offers great food at a cheap price, plus “they have the BEST homemade pies.”
Mom’s Apple Pie
“This was the best sour cherry pie that I’ve ever had,” proclaims Jane in regard to Mom’s Apple Pie in Leesburg. Jane learned that the owner grows her own fruits for the purpose of crafting amazing pies. With Thanksgiving in mind, Jane assures, “You can buy about 15 flavors daily, either by the slice or whole. I recommend buying the whole pie … or even five!!!”
River City Grill in Radford offers breakfast all day, plus lunch and dinner. Deb promises they’ll serve you the “most amazing chocolate chess pie ever, rich and decadent.”
Meringue lovers, Betsy has found your heaven. Pat’s Kountry Diner in Lebanon is named for, well, Pat. She makes a mean coconut pie with “piled high meringue,” according to Betsy, that’s pure “melt in your mouth goodness!”
The Cabin Point Mercantile in Spring Grove specializes in the sweet stuff. They’re a bakery creating homemade brownies, cakes, fudge, cookies, and of course, pie! Kimberly is a fan of the cheesecake pies, writing, “cheesecake pies are amazing, pie crust with a layer of cheesecake topped with all types of flavors – pineapple, cherry, peach, strawberry, blueberry, blackberry! Amazing!”
With a name like Pie Gourmet, one would expect top-of-the-line pie. Fortunately, Pie Gourmet in Vienna delivers just that. In fact, The Washington Post calls it “a gem among local bakeries.” Enjoy a range of fruit pies, cream pies, cheesecake, dessert pies, and even dinner pies, like lasagna.
Relatively new to Richmond’s food scene is Proper Pie Co., serving New Zealand-style savory pie as well as sweet pies. Think Mince & Cheese finished with a slice of Blueberry Apple.
Hill High Country Store in Round Hill has a lot to offer, including more than 30 fresh-baked pies daily. You’ll find local foods, produce, wine, and an all-day deli with chef specialties. Take the trip for lunch and top it off with a great slice of pie.
Share your favorite pie! Leave a comment and spread the love.
You’re right on time for fall flavors. Taste your way from the mountains to the shore this fall in Virginia.
Graves Mountain Apples
The Apple Butter Celebration in Shenandoah National Park is Saturday, September 21 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Skyland Resort. Take the ride up the mountain to see the early turners and get your fill of fresh-from-the-kettle apple butter, apple smoked BBQ, apple salsa, granny apple cole slaw, caramel apples, apple cobbler, and apple cider. Various entertainers will keep the day lively. The Celebration is free; admission to Shenandoah National Park is $15 per car.
The Apple Harvest & Apple Butter Festival at Drumheller’s Orchard occurs Saturday and Sunday, September 28-29 and October 19-20. Come out anytime from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for tasty fresh-picked apples, apple butter, cider, honey, and plenty of family fun. Apple sling shot, anyone? Free parking and entertainment.
Head to Syria for the Graves’ Mountain Apple Harvest FestivalSaturdays and Sundays from October 5 through October 20, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 2013 marks the festival’s 44th year. Don’t miss out on the kettle-cooked apple butter, applesauce, apple cider, apple butter donuts, and apple pies. Feel free to pick your own apples, too! Entertainment includes Bluegrass musicians, cloggers, a hay maze, hay mountain, hayrides, and horseback rides. A taste of southwest Virginia is available here, too … Brunswick Stew! Free parking and entertainment.
Bluegrass, Barbeque & Brew Festival
A brand new event in Norfolk is Ribtoberfest! Held at Town Point Park this Saturday, September 21 from noon to 8 p.m., Ribtoberfest brings beer and BBQ into one delicious waterside feast. Blues musicians will keep the day hoppin’ while restaurants pull out the stops to serve up their best ribs, pulled pork and other barbecue creations. More than 20 breweries will be on hand with 40+ Autumn-style beers. Admission is free.
Bands, Brews and Barbecue will be held Saturday, September 28 from noon to 7 p.m. on the Manassas Museum Lawn in Manassas. Purchase tickets to sample the brews (with a valid ID) and some great Virginia barbecue while the bands play away the day. Free admission.
Patrick Henry’s Red Hill will host the Bluegrass, Barbecue and Brew Festival on Saturday, November 2 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Local grillmasters includes Drug Store Grill from Brookneal, True Q BBQ from Lynchburg, and Tater Bugs Barbeque from South Boston. Four Virginia craft breweries and one cidery will be pouring while Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia bluegrass musicians entertain. Admission is $10 for music only and $15 for those who wish to sample the beverages. Buy Now
Chincoteague Island Oyster Festival
A beautiful view from Farley Vale Farm in King George is the icing on the Rappahanock Riverfest happening this Saturday, September 21 from 3 to 8 p.m. Riverfest is an all-you-can-eat Blue Crab and barbecue event with open bar, live entertainment and auctions. Tickets are $85 and available in advance only. Buy Now
Historic Stratford Hall hosts the Stratford Hall Wine and Oyster Festival this weekend, September 21-22 beginning at 11 a.m. each day. A variety of oysters will be available, as will shrimp, clams, and the fine vintages of 13 Virginia wineries. Admission for oyster and wine tasting is $45 (in advance) and includes three oysters from each of the seven oyster growers, and a wine tasting from each of the wineries. A ticket for wine tasting only is $25 in advance; Non-tasting is $10 in advance; Children 6-12 are $5 in advance. Buy Now
Head to the Shore for the Chincoteague Island Oyster Festival, Saturday October 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of oysters (half shell, steamed, fried, fritters …), crabs, hush puppies, clam chowder, and more. Admission is $40. Buy Now
You don’t want to miss the Official Oyster Festival of the Commonwealth, the Urbanna Oyster Festival. The entire town of Urbanna turns into festival grounds Friday and Saturday, November 1 and 2, with oyster shucking competitions, a parade, oysters served anyway you like, and the crowning of the Oyster Festival Queen and Little Miss Spat. The festival is free and pay-as-you-go.
+1! Late Fall Bonus Event:
Sample the best of the bay at Taste by the Bay in Irvington on Saturday, November 23. Virginia wineries, breweries, and local restaurants will serve samples to ticket holders from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $30 in advance or $35 at the gate.
We’ve asked and received recommendations for the most amazing Virginia breakfasts, highly acclaimed BBQ, comfortable patio dining, best places to enjoy a craft beer and favorite ice cream spots. All of these recommendations came from locals in the know. Yet, there was one more thing we had to ask:
Where is the best place to eat like a local, regardless of the time of day or menu specialty?
It turns out that some familiar names popped up. In addition, local pride and loyalty made appearances. Read on.
By a wide margin, Millie’s Diner in Richmond was the most recommended place to eat like a local. What’s more, Millie’s was also one of the most recommended establishments for a great breakfast. Why so hot? “One word — scallops — the best in the U.S.” Or more words, if you’re not a fan of scallops:
- “The most delicious place to eat in all of Richmond, hands down. I have ordered things there that I never would have tried anywhere else, just because I know that there is NO WAY it wouldn’t be absolutely delicious coming from Millie’s kitchen.”
- “I live in Reston, VA and make it a point to eat at Millie’s EVERY time I am in Richmond.”
- “It was the place I chose to pop the question a couple years ago.”
- “I ate there every Sunday for two years … they saved a stool for me at the end of the counter. Now THAT is local.”
So what’s good to eat at Millie’s?
- “Thai Shrimp! I ordered it every Friday night the first year Millie’s was open, then decided the rest of the menu was probably good as well (and it is). We have been eating there for 25 years.”
- “Any one of the messes, though my favorite is Castro’s Mess.”
- “Devil’s Mess, Cajun Mess, or anything really. Especially the Bloody Mary.”
- “Love their vegetarian selections!”
Other great places to eat like a local in Central Virginia:
The Horseshoe Restaurant in South Hill is a classic diner operating since the 1930s. Southern eats like pimento cheese and fried pickles are daily offerings, as are stories of Roy Kelly (“Second Machine Gun Kelly”) and his arrest at the restaurant. The front page of the South Hill Enterprise dated December 31, 1938 stretches across one wall of the restaurant and features Kelly peering from behind bars. It’s just one of the cool pieces of this historic establishment that feeds the locals and travelers alike.
What to eat at The Horseshoe?
- “The Fried Green Tomato BLT is the best sandwich. Peanut Butter Pie and Chocolate Walnut are both out of this world.”
- “Everything on the menu is awesome.”
Blue Ridge Highlands
Wytheville loves their skeeterdogs. What’s a skeeterdog? A “World Famous Hot Dog” from Skeeter’s Restaurant, operating in historic downtown since 1920. Skeeter’s shares space in a building that was also the birthplace of First Lady Edith Bolling Wilson. Presidential hot dogs, perhaps?
Burger Bar is an authentic Bristol original. A mainstay since 1942, it’s been long-said that Hank Williams enjoyed his last meal here. Pair your country music history with a classic burger and you get menu items like “Hey Good Looking,” in honor of one-time devoted customer Ernie Ford. The locals love “Oh My Cheese!,” two grilled cheese sandwiches with a burger between them.
Other great places to eat like a local in the Blue Ridge Highlands:
Blue Ridge Restaurant, Floyd – “Breakfast, lunch or dinner, you will find the best in home-style cooking.”
Ham is a typical Virginia staple and you can enjoy a fresh ham biscuit on the front porch at Edwards Ham Shoppe in Surry. One local suggests you “wash it down with a cold, old-fashioned bottled soda” for a true local experience.
Smitty’s Better Burger has been a local favorite in Hampton since 1956. A true drive-in with car hops, Smitty’s is a classic Old School experience that one local says is used “to impress visitors from out of town.” We do like to show off the things that are quintessentially “ours,” don’t we? Recommended menu item is the Better Burger, of course, “with cheese, fries and a drink!”
Tim’s Rivershore Restaurant & Crabhouse
It’s a neat little historic tavern, but what you really want to know about Amy’s Cafe in Fredericksburg is what one local said: “The ribs are to die for!” Find Amy on West Cambridge Street and tell her someone really loves chef’s baby back ribs.
Waterside dining at Tim’s Rivershore Restaurant & Crabhouse is beautiful. Find Tim’s in Dumfries. The restaurant sits at one of the widest points of the Potomac River, offering sweeping views that are incredible from inside or out. The tiki bar is a great place to hang out and enjoy a beer with your seafood, burger or sandwich.
Don’t be deterred by the name. Old Town Caterers & Deli in Manassas offers a diverse menu with international flair. The local favorite is the shrimp bisque.
Have you ever heard of a Liars Table? I had not and so inquired with our local about his recommendation of Hi Neighbor Country Restaurant in Strasburg. He mentioned the Liars Table as one of the main draws and I had to know why. He wrote, “The Liars Table is one of those things that really make a small town local restaurant.” He elaborated, naming names, to tell me that groups of “local characters” keep one particular table full all day long from about 5:30 a.m. until closing. One group coming in after the next, shooting the breeze, talking “local politics, news, etc.”
I imagine that Hi Neighbor, a community staple since 1949, serves great food along with warm hospitality. What to eat? Our local says the “homemade biscuits with homemade sausage or chipped beef gravy are awesome,” but notes that the burgers and sandwiches are, too.
In Roanoke, the name Texas Tavern dates to 1930. This love-worn establishment has been in the same family for four generations and is acclaimed for “Best Chili,” “Best Hot Dogs,” “Best Local Hamburgers,” and “Best Late-Night Dinner” by readers of Roanoker magazine. Saunter up to the counter and enjoy home-cooked food 24 hours a day.
Sal’s Italian Bistro in Edinburg is best summed up by the local B&B owner who wrote, “Sal, the owner, is the ‘real deal’ from Naples, Italy. The food is authentic and fabulous. Huge portions. We send all our B&B guests there.”
Staunton’s Mill Street Grill offers a variety of menu items, but the one thing our local raved about was the ribs (look out Amy!). “Ribs are fall off the bone excellent. I’ve yet to have something that wasn’t excellent.”
Other great places to eat like a local in the Shenandoah Valley:
Saturday, August 10 is Microfestivus at Roanoke’s Elmwood Park. More than 100 beers from 40 Mid-Atlantic micro and craft breweries will be on tap for 4 oz. and 8 oz. tastings. The event is rain or shine and a valid ID must prove you’re 21. Admission is $5 plus the cost of tastings. Purchase tickets in advance for discounts. Virginia has 19 participating craft brewers for Microfestivus. Festival Map and Beer List
Virginia Craft Beer Week at Boar’s Head Inn
Monday through Friday, August 12-16 is Craft Beer Week at Boar’s Head Inn in Charlottesville. Burgers are the main menu item and a different craft beer or cider will be suggested as an optimal flavor enhancement for each.
Need an example? Ask for the Boar’s Head Sirloin Burger covered in aged cheddar, Applewood-smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle, and served with handcut fries. The suggested beverage is Starr Hill’s Jomo Lager, described by Starr Hill as “a crossover beer that appeals to the broadest spectrum of brew aficionados.” Burgers are $16 to $22 and beers are $5.75 per bottle. Available for lunch and dinner. Beer and Burger Week Menu
Saturday, August 24 is the Second Annual Virginia Craft Brewers Festival hosted by Devils Backbone Brewing Company in Roseland. The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday night camping is offered for a fee of $15 per person, $10 per car and $50 per RV.
The Virginia Craft Beer Cup presented by Virginia is for Lovers will be awarded to the best overall beer as selected by certified judges. Festival-goers will enjoy live music from five different bands, craft beer from 29 Virginia craft breweries and great local food. Admission is $10 for designated drivers and non-drinking attendees ages 13 and older (soft drinks and water included in admission). Purchase a $35 tasting package in advance to save $10, or a VIP tasting package for $45 that is available in advance only. Children 12 and under are free.
Looking for the lastest brew to be tapped? It just might be Exquisitely Evil Ale, a Double IPA that will be released Thursday, August 29 at Wild Wolf Brewing Company in Nellysford. Come out at 5 p.m. for a brewery tour prior to sampling Exquisitely Evil, and stay for paired food specials until 9 p.m.