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22 Great Breakfast Spots in Virginia

by Casey | Posted on July 18th, 2013

You’re traveling through or vacationing in Virginia and you’re looking for the best breakfast in town. Who might know where to find it? The Locals. When we decided to create a list of the best breakfasts in Virginia we asked none other than … the locals. With that, we present to you 22 favorite breakfast hangouts across Virginia.

 

Shenandoah Valley

Little Grill Collective is a 1940s Harrisonburg mainstay that has been worker-owned since 2003. Their menu is diverse with the usual breakfast options plus vegan and vegetarian delights, too. Little Grill has been voted the best breakfast in Harrisonburg six times over. One local suggests, “Try their breakfast burrito or their made from scratch pancakes. They have a new seasonal pancake flavor every month!” Another local said, “Best pancakes – especially the chai.”

The Roanoker Restaurant's famed biscuits.

The Roanoker Restaurant’s famed biscuits.

How well-known is Roanoke’s The Roanoker Restaurant? Both Southern Living and The Today Show have recognized The Roanoker for making some of the best biscuits in America. Our insider said, “The ham biscuits and biscuits & gravy are two very popular dishes among locals.”

We’re creatures of habit and like to hold onto our great finds. This is true for a Front Royal local who loves L’Dee’s Pancake House. He wrote, “I have tried their omelets, pancakes and waffles (both w/pecans) and have become a regular visitor. Since 1988 L’Dee’s has been a staple in the community and they treat their patrons like an extended family.”

Stauntonians love Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery - a certified gluten-free restaurant that uses locally-sourced ingredients. Of note on the menu is the waffle delight, which one local described as “topped with fresh fruit and real whipped cream, it is delicious and nutritious!”

Additional Recommendations:

Harvest Table Restaurant, Meadowview, VA

Harvest Table Restaurant

 

Blue Ridge Highlands

Some of our local insiders refuse to dance around the subject of favorite breakfast destination. Rather, they come right out and challenge you to challenge them. An example is the local who suggested Harvest Table Restaurant in Meadowview. Of this restaurant he said, “The Harvest Table has the most fresh brunch menu in Southwest Virginia. They have a small menu, but everything is great! One of their best creations is the Quiche of the Day, usually featuring mushrooms, sweet onions, goat cheese and meat from a local farm.”

The Blue Ridge Restaurant in Floyd offers a traditional country breakfast with homemade biscuits and gravy.  The biscuits are so phenomenal, in fact, that one local insists The Blue Ridge Restaurant has “the best biscuits in the state!”

Abingdon’s Babycakes Cupcakery and Dunk and Deli received nods for their breakfast wares. The waffles at Babycakes are made with cupcake batter and you can choose whichever flavor you like. Donuts are an art and well made homemade donuts simply can’t be overlooked. Head to Dunk and Deli where one local says their donuts “are the best around!”

Mabry Mill Restaurant's buckwheat pancakes.

Mabry Mill Restaurant’s buckwheat pancakes.

If you’ve ever traveled the Blue Ridge Parkway (and probably, even if you haven’t), you’ve heard of Mabry Mill. It is, after all, the most photographed site on the Parkway. That aside, the Mabry Mill Restaurant has an appeal all its own, and one local shared her favorite breakfast: “Buckwheat pancakes with maple syrup, country ham and all the fixings.”

Additional Recommendations:

 

Central Virginia

Millie’s Diner is a locally owned restaurant in Richmond. One dedicate patron gave us a great commercial for Millie’s stating, “It has built a long-standing reputation on the goodness and variety of its menu.” So what’s good to eat at Millie’s? “What’s not?” might be the better question. Their brunch is renowned. Go for an open-face omelet smothered with goodness. They call it Devil’s Mess and you can even get it veggie style.

Another diner Richmonders flock to is Perly’s. Plain and simple, our local said, “Awesome breakfast. From Grandma’s hearty oatmeal with raisins, nuts, cinnamon and brown sugar to create-your-own three-egg omelet, you can’t go wrong.”

Additional recommemdations:

 

Coastal Virginia

If you love breakfast all day, any time of the day, d’Egg Diner in Norfolk is for you. The local we heard from weighed her favorite menu items, stating, “As far as a favorite dish, there are just too many to choose from. The traditional eggs cooked to order with all the sides or a grand omelet” are her picks.

 

Northern Virginia

Baby Jim’s Snack Bar in Culpeper has been serving breakfast and lunch since 1947, and they’re well known for their breakfast sandwiches. A cool addition to the food is the original red, white and blue steel neon sign that points the way.

Let YOUR voice be heard. Leave a comment to tell us (and the world!) about your favorite Virginia breakfast hangout.

Upcoming: Great Virginia B&B breakfasts!



Food, Locals | 25 Comments

Favorite Virginia Ice Cream

by Casey | Posted on June 26th, 2013

It’s summertime and that means, well, quite a few things, but today it means ICE CREAM! We asked our Virginia travel and tourism partners to name their favorite ice cream parlor (for the benefit of our readers, of course), and nearly 40 recommendations rolled in. To get you started on your summer brain freeze tour, we’ve compiled a list of the parlors most frequently mentioned by locals in the know.

Kline's Dairy Bar

Kline’s Dairy Bar

Kline’s Dairy Bar rose to the top with local ice cream lovers, and it doesn’t hurt that this homegrown establishment dating to 1943 has several locations:

Doumar’s Cones & Barbecue is located in Norfolk, and is the home of the world’s first ice cream cone (1904). Those traveling through Coastal Virginia will want to make a bee-line to 1919 Monticello Avenue for homemade ice cream and cones.

Carl's Frozen Custard

Carl’s Frozen Custard

Carl’s Frozen Custard is a Fredericksburg mainstay, serving fresh, made-today custard for more than 50 years. Food Network has acknowledged that Carl’s has some of America’s Best Ice Cream.

Island Creamery on Chincoteague Island handcrafts their small batches of ice cream daily to ensure the best products possible. The staff has been creating fresh waffle cones, ice cream, sorbet, frozen yogurt and more since 1975. A true labor of summertime love!

Muller’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor is also located on Chincoteague Island and serves Bassett’s ice cream, America’s oldest ice cream. Their claim to fame, however, is the fresh, homemade Belgian waffles with ice cream, fruit and homemade whipped cream.

Moo Thru in Remington offers ice cream that really doesn’t get any more fresh or homemade. The milk comes from their own grass-fed Holsteins and the rest of the ingredients are sourced as close to home as possible.

The Split Banana in Staunton is known for its homemade, fresh-daily ice cream, sorbet and gelato. Split prides itself on all natural ingredients – fruit, milk, sugar and cream. Why complicate what isn’t complicated?

Short Lane Ice Cream Company in Gloucester is celebrating their tenth anniversary this summer! Celebrate with them by enjoying homemade ice cream, cookies, gelato, custard, coffees, sundaes, floats, shakes …

Pop's Old Fashioned Ice Cream Company

Pop’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Company

Pop’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream in Alexandria boasts 63 homemade flavors of ice cream. Located in Old Town, it’s the perfect destination for lovers of cobblestones and nostalgia.

Additional shops and parlors receiving nods from the locals for their chilly treats:

Don’t see your favorite ice cream shop on this list? Chime in by commenting below!

 



Food, Locals | 16 Comments

17 Virginia BBQ Joints You’re Going to LOVE

by Casey | Posted on May 31st, 2013

We’re always on the hunt for the best of Virginia – everything from hikes and drives to wines and eats. The list that follows includes 17 20 great BBQ joints for those who travel with their taste buds. Note that these are not ranked, but numbered, and we invite you to leave a comment below to give a shout-out to your favorite.

The Checkered Pig

The Checkered Pig

1. In Virginia’s motorsports hotbed sits the family owned and operated Checkered Pig Barbecue. You might have seen this Martinsville gem on Food Network, the Travel Channel or Versus, or tasted their award-winning ribs and sauces at a festival. No? Consider this the drop of the green flag for you to put your pedal to the metal.

2. Saucy’s Walk-Up BBQ is a deceptive delight. A converted shipping container sits on the corner of 5th and Bollingbrook Streets in Petersburg. It’s there that you’ll literally walk up and order some of the most delicious homemade barbecue pork, chicken and ribs in Virginia. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Southern Living found it to be noteworthy, so …

3. Hailed as the best pulled pork, chicken, ribs and brisket in the New River Valley, Due South BBQ in Christiansburg is indeed an award-winning establishment with quite a few first place claims to fame. Don’t miss out on their Tuesday night all-you-can-eat deal or their Wednesday night “kids eat free” opportunity.

The BBQ Exchange, Gordonsville

The BBQ Exchange, Gordonsville

4. The Northern Virginia and Washington, DC crowds LOVE Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company with their Alexandria and Arlington locations. Rocklands uses red oak and hickory to smoke their meats – a little cooking strategy that has garnered them “Best of DC” acknowledgements five years in a row.

5. If St. Louis style ribs and Memphis style BBQ are your weakness, The Galax Smokehouse in Galax is the place to be. In fact, everyone wants to be there. It didn’t take long after its 2003 opening for this BBQ joint to become a magnet for locals and tourists alike. When you’re good, you’re good.

6. Old-school, slow-cooked, open-flame barbecue-you’re-going-to-LOVE comes from BBQ Exchange in Gordonsville. The Hartman’s have spent more than 30 years perfecting their hickory-smoked pork and chicken. You’re in for an amazing treat when you look up this whitewashed gem in Orange County.

7. Dixie Restaurant - A 1920′s mainstay in Old Towne Petersburg and home of the Spiel Burger.

8. Smitty’s Better Burger - An authentic 1950′s drive-in and Hampton Landmark.

9. Dixie Bones - Named one of the Top 100 Restaurants by Washingtonian Magazine. Woodbridge

10. Log Cabin Barbecue - Enjoy your down-home barbecue in a 200 year old log cabin in Elkton.

11. Buz and Ned’s Real BBQ - Man v. Food and Throwdown with Bobby Flay have embraced Buz and Ned’s in Richmond.

12. Cuz’s Uptown Barbeque – An old dairy barn houses Cuz’s in Pounding Mill – perfect for rural Virginia and barbecue.

13. Monk’s BBQ - Have a little Corcoran craft brew or wine with your southern-style barbecue in Waterford.

14. Q Barbeque - “So good it won barbecue competitions across the country.” We’ll take that as good. Find it in Midlothian.

15. Pierce’s PITT Bar-B-Que   - Pierce’s hickory-smoked, Tennessee-style Bar-B-Que made with “Doc” Pierce’s Original Bar-B-Que Sauce brings you the flavor and taste that’s a true American original. Located in Williamsburg

16. Wood Chicks BBQ - Closed in July, 2013. Owner moved.

17. The Barbeque Grill - “Ribs must be served fresh from the smoker,” is the philosophy of this Vinton joint, so come get a fresh, hot rack Fridays after 5.

18. Allmans BBQ in Fredericksburg – Serving BBQ since 1954. Vicki says “I have never found any better than Mama’s pulled barbeque – as well as her slaw – yum! and the sauce – oh my!”

19. Alamo BBQ – Alamo specializes in authentic Texas style BBQ, including an award winning beef brisket. Southwest influenced. Try the jalapeno mac-n-cheese!

20. Extra Billy’s Smokehouse – Great barbecue and an on site brewery!

Go ahead and start your food tour this weekend.

LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
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Food, Locals | 23 Comments

Great Virginia Patio Dining

by Casey | Posted on May 17th, 2013

Warm Virginia evenings are perfect for a number of things, but patio dining is one of the best. Find a place that has just what you want to eat along with a good view, and you’ve got a pretty nice thing going. Check out these hot spots, then comment below with a few recommendations of your own.

Sunset at Bubba's

Sunset at Bubba’s

A favorite of my colleagues and myself is Bubba’s Marina and Seafood Restaurant on Shore Drive in Virginia Beach. It’s a 20-something-year mainstay that promises and delivers the freshest seafood in Virginia Beach. Besides that, you’ll love their double-decker on-the-water patios, and the sunsets are unreal.

If you’ve never been to Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm in Ashburn, you’re not only missing out on great dining, but a very interesting attraction, too. Clyde’s is an amazing collection of Americana housed in four 1700s-1800s buildings from Vermont and Virginia. After you’ve glanced around, head to the garden where your seat will be just as amazing. The pond and waterfall are super relaxing.

The pastoral countryside of Neersville in Loudoun County is your scenic beauty for outdoor dining at Grandale Farm Restaurant. Twice this special place has been mentioned in Travel + Leisure, so there’s pretty much all you need to know. Just go.

Note: Nine more Loudoun County dining establishments with outdoor seating are included at VisitLoudounBlog.com.

Härth

Härth

Dine outside 365 days a year at Tysons Corner’s hottest new restaurant, Härth, which features cozy fireside dining. Traditional American comfort foods are prepared with the farm-to-table philosophy top-of-mind.

You’ll find Cafe Deluxe in McLean to be a charming neighborhood tavern atmosphere that bustles with the energy of a European bistro. Check out the eclectic menu that includes items like Grilled Meatloaf with Creole sauce.

The Local Chop & Grill House in Harrisonburg is a farm-to-table restaurant situated in the old City Produce Exchange building. You’ll find the covered patio a delightful place to dine on locally sourced foods.

Also in Harrisonburg is the Joshua Wilton House, an upscale experience in a beautiful Victorian. Dinner on the patio is quite fitting, given the in-season menu.

The Boathouse

The Boathouse

Waterfront view? Try oceanfront. Waterman’s Surfside Grille in Virginia Beach is a family owned restaurant with oceanfront patio dining and a boardwalk bar. Choose a nice lunch or dinner of seafood, salads, steak, ribs, chicken, burgers or pasta.

The Boathouse in Midlothian overlooks a 1,700-acre lake in a quiet residential community. Terraced decks provide ample seating and the sunset on the lake is something to see. The menu includes raw bar items, flame-kissed meats, Wood Stone fired pizzas and fresh seafood.

If you’re dining with kids and those kids happen to love railroads, head to Depot Grille in Lynchburg. The large patio overlooks the train track and the James River is just beyond that. The American menu will suit any eater and Amazement Square is just a block away – perfect for a family day out.

Rappahannock County’s own Chef Jim McCullough is at the helm at The Blue Rock Inn in Washington. You won’t be disappointed in his eclectic menu of farm-fresh entrees. Take to the patio at the restaurant’s Blue Horse Pub with the Blue Ridge Mountains serving as a fine backdrop.

Sine Irish Pub & Restaurant

Sine Irish Pub & Restaurant

In Downtown Richmond’s Shockoe Slip sitting perfectly on one-half block is Sine Irish Pub & Restaurant. The outdoor seating area is every bit as big as the first floor inside. Descend from the deck to market umbrella seating for some sunshine.

An incredibly extensive list of Richmond area patio dining can be found at Richmond.com.

A few seats are available in front of Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery in Staunton. Enjoy a world-class espresso or fresh-squeezed juice with your choice of entree off their very accommodating menu (vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and meats served here!).

The gang’s all here at The Luna in Callao! The covered veranda overlooking golf course vistas seats 70, so come one, come all. Enjoy the menu of steak and seafood served with an Italian flare.

Tell us your favorite patio dining location in the comments below or find more fantastic dining options at Virginia.org.

LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
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Food | 4 Comments

Mmm! Food Festivals!

by Casey | Posted on May 10th, 2013

If you’ve been looking for a tasty way to spend a Saturday, look no further. It’s strawberry season and that’s just the beginning of the deliciousness that awaits you in Virginia.

St. Stephen's Strawberry Festival

St. Stephen’s Strawberry Festival

Love to try various types of barbecue or do you already have a favorite? If you’re a taster at heart, be sure to add these events to your calendar.

Greek flavors are right at home in Virginia. Here’s where you can enjoy souvlaki, dolmades and spanakopita in a festival environment.

Sweet strawberries! It’s that time of year and here’s where you can get the fresh-picked goodness. Take some home, but definitely find a strawberry shortcake for immediate gratification.

Southern comfort foods abound in Virginia, and you can certainly expect to find some at a festival near you.

Festivals sure are a scrumptious way to spend your summer! Find more at Virginia.org.

LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
Request a free Travel Guide or sign up for our e-newsletter.



Festivals, Food | Comments Off