Our trip to Williamsburg and Virginia Beach -Part One Smyrna and Williamsburg

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brookquarry
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2009/06/28 14:04:19 (permalink)

Our trip to Williamsburg and Virginia Beach -Part One Smyrna and Williamsburg

On our way down we stopped for Lunch at Helen's Famous Sausages in Smyrna Delaware reviewed on this site.
 
First, a warning about hours. We knew Helen's closed at 12 Noon on Saturday, but since we arrived at 11:40 AM we assumed we were safe. Unfortunately we were told the grill shuts down a half hour before closing, thus limitining menu options (No hamburgers or fries). Fortunately sausages were still available, having been cooked and kept warm.
 
My wife and I both ordered sausage sandwiches, with peppers and onions, and split an order of homefries (also still available).
 
We were mildly disappointed. The sausages were good,but not great-certainly not the 'explosion of taste" described in the Stern's review. I've had just as good sausage and pepper sandwiches at local fairs and carnivals back home- including my own church's (now defunct)summer festival (we used fresh italian sausage  made by Ruggierios Market in Roseto Pa- highly recconmended if you're in the area).
 
Perhaps the sausages suffered from being held for 10 or 15 minutes before they were served to us. The place is popular- when we left at Noon there was still a line of 5 people waiting to order
 
All in all I would stop again if traveling South through Smyrna on Route 1 or 13, but would not make a special trip.
 
In Williamsburg, we went to two restaurants worthy of report. Pierces Pit Barbecue and Five Forks Cafe.
Pierces Pit is North of town on the Rochmbeau Highway. Both my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our meals.
I had the Barbecue dinner, which comes with chopped Pork Barbecue, fries and hush puppies. The barbecue had a vinegary-tomatoey taste which I gather is North Carolina style. I enjoyed it as much as any barbecue I have had up north . The fries and hushpuppys were fine.
 
My wife is not a barbecue fan so she ordered the Chicken tenders meal which I sampled. The tenders were perhaps the best either of us ever had , the meat was moist and flavorful, rather than dried out and tasteless, as is often
 the case. The breading was superb with a peppery aftertaste,
 
Pierces Pit is not a place with any rustic charm. The decor is late '70s fast food- hard orange plastic booths. The order takers and kitchen are efficent, with the meals delivered within minutes of you placing your order at the front counter. Frankly, the ambience and organization reminded me most of the Hot Grill in Clifton New Jersey, famous for their Texas Wieners, but with similar decor and assembly line effiecency.The restaurant is spotlessy clean.
 
I am far from an expert on Barbecue, having not traveled much in the South, so my reccomendation of Pierces should carry less weight than that of other more Knowlegable posters. It is however clearly popular with locals(the parking lot, on the Tuesday night we were there was about 75% Virginia license plates and the place was between 80% an 90% full, with many take out orders while we were dining).
I think if you are in Williamsburfg you should plan to try it.
 
The Five forks Cafe is a small diner type establishment In the
crossroads of Five Forks several miles west of Williamsburg on Route 5. This is not a tourist area, and we were the only non-virginia plate in the parking lot when were arrived. (when we left there was one Maryland plate)
 
We went to Fiveforks for breakfast based on some reccomendations on Trip Advisor, and were not disappointed. It was our best breakfast on our vacation. Service was fast and efficent, My coffee cup was refilled without me need ing to ask. My wife's hot tea came in a pot large enough for two cups, which meant she did not have to 'ration' her tea through the meal.
 
My french toast- made to my surprise, with challah bread, was excellant, as was the sausage(better than Helen's) the homefries were truly superb- well browned red bliss potatoes fried with the skin on. My wifes western omelet was very good as well- full of ham peppers and onions. The prices were quite reasonable.
 
Is this a Roadfood establishment? No, not in the sense that it serves a unique regional specialty. It is just a very well run diner tye place. If I lived in Wiliamsburg, we would be frequent visitors.
 
Perhaps not coincidenbtally, Five Forks and Pierces were the ony places we ate in Williamsburg which were more than half full, despite the fact that we ate in both places in the Middle of the week (Tuesday night at Pierces; Wed  morning at Five Forks) (I am not counting the colonial williamsburg restaurants such as Kings Arms Tavern since I think most people are there for the ambiance, not the food)
 
 finally two places I do not reccomend, which I mention because they have been reccomended on earlier threads.
 
We tried the Old Chickahomminy House for Breakfast. My plantation breakfast was ordinary with only the ham being better than average. My wifes pancakes were dense rather than fluffy and tasted unpleasantly of the oil they had been cooked in.
 
Sals by Victors was the worst meal we had on the trip. The low prices should have warned us- $6.59 for lasagna  is just too good to be true. My Lasagna wa lacking in cheese and the sauce tasted no better than (And could have been for all I know) Ragu. My wifes fettucine alfredo, was, litterally tasteless, although she was able to salvage it a little by liberally topping it with  grated parmesan from the container on the table. Perhaps we were naive to expect good Italian in Williamsburg.
 
Coming next-Norfolk and Virginia Beach. 
  
  
  
  
 
post edited by brookquarry - 2009/06/28 14:11:29
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9 Replies Related Threads

    douginvirginia
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    Re:Our trip to Williamsburg and Virginia Beach -Part One Smyrna and Williamsburg 2009/06/29 06:50:24 (permalink)
    Nice report, thanks for writing.
     
    I'll try the Five Forks for breakfast when I'm down there next.
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    wanderingjew
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    Re:Our trip to Williamsburg and Virginia Beach -Part One Smyrna and Williamsburg 2009/06/29 08:30:58 (permalink)
    Brookquarry,

    If I knew you were going to Pierce's Pitt BBQ, I would have told you to substitute the Sweet Potato Sticks for the French Fries, that what's I did on my visit back in 2003. I read somewhere (possibly from the Sterns)  that sweet potato fries were either invented or gained popularity somewhere in Virginia, and it spread from there .

    I enjoyed Pierce's Pitt, it's not North Carolina style, it's Virginia style and most North Carolina Style purists "hate" the place because of that. I personally agree with you, it is good Q.
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    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Our trip to Williamsburg and Virginia Beach -Part One Smyrna and Williamsburg 2009/06/29 09:22:08 (permalink)
    I tried making french toast with challah last year for Christmas and I will never make it with anything else--something about the way it holds up makes it extra delicious.  There's a Rochambeau Highway?  Awesome.
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    brookquarry
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    Re:Our trip to Williamsburg and Virginia Beach -Part One Smyrna and Williamsburg 2009/06/29 09:40:23 (permalink)
    Nancy,Rochambeau   highway pretty much parralels I-64,at least for the first several miles west of Williamsburg. Sorry Imissed out on thesweet potato sticks.
    How exactly does virginia style q differ from North Carolina barbecue?
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    wanderingjew
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    Re:Our trip to Williamsburg and Virginia Beach -Part One Smyrna and Williamsburg 2009/06/29 10:13:51 (permalink)
    brookquarry

    How exactly does virginia style q differ from North Carolina barbecue?


    Eastern NC Q sauce is strictly vinegar and pepper flakes- no tomato whatsoever
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    Buffalo Tarheel
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    Re:Our trip to Williamsburg and Virginia Beach -Part One Smyrna and Williamsburg 2009/06/29 12:19:07 (permalink)
    Very nice report - thanks for sharing this with us.  I have been to Pierce's when back in eastern NC, and I agree that Pierce's is not the same as eastern NC BBQ.  However, I would never say that I hate it. It's just different, but different can be good (so long as I can get both kinds of BBQ on the trip).
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    AllysonChains
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    Re:Our trip to Williamsburg and Virginia Beach -Part One Smyrna and Williamsburg 2009/07/03 16:23:06 (permalink)
    Nancypalooza

    I tried making french toast with challah last year for Christmas and I will never make it with anything else--something about the way it holds up makes it extra delicious.  There's a Rochambeau Highway?  Awesome.


    Hi Nancy,it's Rochambeau Drive.It's not a Highway.Just typing this makes me miss my old homestead...and I miss Pierce's.(heavy sigh)

    I'm gonna have to try the Five Forks Cafe next time I am in town.

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    Ahi Mpls.
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    Re:Our trip to Williamsburg and Virginia Beach -Part One Smyrna and Williamsburg 2009/07/03 17:37:51 (permalink)

      I forget, is that the " game " where Heavy metal guys drink Captain Morgan and then throw knives at each others feet?!  Ahh, High School, how I miss ya!! 
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    ardee
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    Re:Our trip to Williamsburg and Virginia Beach -Part One Smyrna and Williamsburg 2009/07/04 00:16:15 (permalink)
    I wish I had been aware of the Five Forks Cafe, since I spent last week at the Powhatan Resort a mile north of Five Forks on Ironbound Road.  During a week stay at Powhatan I will pass throught Five Forks at least 6 or 8 times, but I never travel southwest on John Tyler Highway (Virginia Route 5).  I am usually on my way to Jamestown Road (Virginia Route 31), where the Old Chickahominy House, the Polo Club, and the Jamestown Pie Company can be found.
     
    I even ate dinner (crab cakes and grits) in Five Forks Saturday night at the Cities Grille, in the shopping center on the southeast corner of Ironbound and John Tyler.
     
    The Old Chickahominy House, mentioned earlier in this thread, is located on Jamestown Road just southwest of Virginia Route 199, almost on the corner.  The Polo Club is a good local place for lunch or dinner, in the Colony Square Shopping Center on Jamestown Road just a tad further southwest of Virginia Route 199.  The Jamestown Pie Company is a couple of miles further southwest, and sells pies of all types - pizza, pot pies, and dessert pies.  One thing the Jamestown Pie Company does not have at this location is indoor seating, but there are picnic tables outdoors.
     
    When my wife and I are in Williamsburg, there are three restaurants that we are sure to visit at least once.  The Polo Club, Mama Steve's House of Pancakes, and Sal's by Victor.  I do have to say that when we ate at Sal's on Tuesday the lasagna did not meet my expectations - the sauce was definitely not as good as it has been in the past, but there was plenty of cheese on mine.
     
    This was not a good year for trying different foods and restaurants, since we had a pair of finicky 13-year-olds with us; a granddaughter and her friend.  At Sal's one of the girls had plain spaghetti, with no sauce of any kind, while the other one had a pizza.
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