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 Weekend in Virginia

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  • Total Posts: 3778
  • Joined: 6/17/2004
  • Location: Columbia, SC
Re:Weekend in Virginia Mon, 03/7/11 2:39 PM (permalink)
Cliff you should let yourself off the hook--I can't imagine too many kinder people in such a situation.  :)

    Re:Weekend in Virginia Mon, 03/7/11 2:52 PM (permalink)
    As we drove towards Roanoke, Mariton and I discussed which restaurant to hit in town for dinner.  The two places I had in mind were either Pitt Boss BBQ or Thelma's Chicken and Waffles.  After the last place, she wasn't showing much desire to eat again.  But since I know she loves bbq, I chose Pitt Boss.  As we were driving through the city, I saw the sign for Thelma's and pulled in.  Unfortunately, the place was completely dark.  Not sure if they are out of business, but it seemed strange that there was no one there at 7:00pm on a Saturday night, when the website says they should be open.
    Pitt Boss

    was out in the suburbs and the parking lot was mostly full.  We were led to a table in the main dining room, which had a faux log cabin look to it. 

    There were plenty of tvs tuned in to college basketball, but what really caught my eye was the fine looking red velvet cake sitting on the server's table.
    To drink, Mariton, as always just gets water, but when I am in the South, I prefer sweet tea.  What they brought me here

    was awful.  With a strong bitter taste, it was maybe the worst tea I ever remember trying.  After two sips, I quickly asked for a glass of water, too.
    We decided to share the pulled pork platter, which is a 1/2 lb. of meat, plus two sides.  She chose the collard greens and the baked beans and I asked for an extra side of the mac & cheese.

    Of the three sides, the mac and cheese was the best and even that was ordinary.  Mariton did not like the pulled pork, saying that it was really dry.  Although I wouldn't call it moist, I thought it was still pretty good.  What really made eating the pork better was that there were five different types of bbq sauce on our table. 

    From left to right, that is sweet yellow, east carolina, original, deep sweet and hot.  I really enjoyed trying a different sauce with each bite, many times mixing sauces to find that perfect combination.  The hot wasn't really hot and the sweet wasn't really sweet, but being a big fan of South Carolina bbq, the sweet yellow was the clear winner for me.
    I reluctantly passed on the red velvet cake, because I spotted an interesting looking ice cream parlor right down the road.  This was a mistake.
    Pitt Boss BBQ
    4301 Brambleton Avenue
    Roanoke, VA
    We pulled in to the parking lot of Katie's Ice Cream Parlor & Chocolates,

    which was located in a large strip mall.  You know it had been a long day when I misread the sign that said peach

    and at first thought it said perch.  They use Hershey's ice cream here, which really isn't very good ice cream.  I got a scoop of red velvet and a scoop of peanut butter cookie, which they added hot fudge sauce, whipped cream and several cherries. 

    They must of been at the very bottom of the can of whipped cream, because it was flat.  The ice cream was not good and at times I wasn't sure which flavor I was biting into, which isn't a good sign.  Mariton only took one bite and that was enough for her.  We threw over half of it away.  Despite how friendly the girls working here were, I don't recommend this place.  Who knows, maybe the chocolates are better.
    Katie's Ice Cream & Chocolates
    3530 Electric Road
    Roanoke, VA
    For a day that started off with a bang, we sure did end it with a whimper.  But we knew better meals were ahead the next day.  We settled into our hotel, the Hyatt Place near the airport, for the night.
    More to come.....
    <message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 03/7/11 2:54 PM>

      • Total Posts: 713
      • Joined: 4/28/2003
      • Location: Henderson, KY
      Re:Weekend in Virginia Mon, 03/7/11 9:34 PM (permalink)
      Well Cliff, you can't win 'em all.  I've had some dogfood-like meals, too.  Can you say Dobber's Pasties in Iron Mountain, Michigan?  I can!  (And I'm sure you can think of a few other candidates.)
        mr chips

        • Total Posts: 4715
        • Joined: 2/19/2003
        • Location: portland, OR
        Re:Weekend in Virginia Tue, 03/8/11 12:49 AM (permalink)
        Wow! You have such wonderful experiences and i know it is because you allow yourself to be open to them. And it appears that mariton has become an outstanding roadfood trouper.
          mr chips

          • Total Posts: 4715
          • Joined: 2/19/2003
          • Location: portland, OR
          Re:Weekend in Virginia Tue, 03/8/11 12:50 AM (permalink)
          Also, i had peanut soup that i really liked at the cafe at Mt. Vernon, George Washington's home.

            • Total Posts: 6068
            • Joined: 8/16/2007
            • Location: brick, NJ
            Re:Weekend in Virginia Tue, 03/8/11 7:25 AM (permalink)
            Well...not your  best day...Hershey's(no connection to the candy co.)isn't very good ice cream.Looking forward to the continuation of your trip.

              • Total Posts: 3778
              • Joined: 6/17/2004
              • Location: Columbia, SC
              Re:Weekend in Virginia Tue, 03/8/11 10:43 AM (permalink)
              Bad ice cream is about the saddest thing there is.  Up there with three legged puppies and tiny babies with bows stapled to their heads.  And I don't understand it because you can get really great commercial ice cream and it seems that most ice cream joints just don't bother to do their homework.  Around here it was Sealtest and now there's something else, and really . . REALLY PEOPLE . . it's not that hard.  Blue Bell you can get in the friggin grocery store for pete's sake.

                Re:Weekend in Virginia Tue, 03/8/11 2:26 PM (permalink)
                The last time I was in Roanoke, one of my stops was the Texas Tavern, located right in the middle of downtown.  I came here after reading how good their chili dogs were and they lived up to expectations.  Just before leaving, I spotted a copy of George Motz's Hamburger America on the counter and I asked if they were in book.  After an affirmative reply, I sat back down and ordered a cheeseburger.  It wasn't until I got home and looked at my own copy of the book that I saw that a specific burger, the Cheesy Western was what the book recommended.  Let's call that poor planning on my part.  So, here I was back in Roanoke, headed for Texas Tavern to get a Cheesy Western.
                One of the great things about Texas Tavern is that it is open 24 hours.  Mariton and I talked about maybe getting up at 3:00AM to come down here to see what it is like at that time of the morning.  But, of course, we didn't even get out of bed until 7:00AM and arrived here at almost 8:00AM.  Still, even at that hour, the place looks great! 

                Built in 1930 and dwarfed by the nearby buildings, a place doesn't look any more Roadfoodish than this.  In the miniscule interior, there are ten counter seats. 

                A sign in the back proudly exclaims, "We Seat 1000 People.....  10 at a Time".

                Another sign says, "We don't cash checks or play with bumblebees!"
                The menu board for sandwiches and such hangs high on the wall, while another board carries the breakfast items, mostly egg dishes and pork meats.  All the other customers were eating breakfast, but Mariton and I ordered two chili (they spell it the New Mexico way, chile) dogs and a Cheesy Western.  Since we were sitting close to the door, we had a nice view of the counterman fixing our food, as the grill

                is right inside the front window.
                The preferred toppings for the hot dogs here is with onions, mustard and two homemade products, the chili and the relish.  Here is what the dogs look like:

                Both the chili and relish are mild, but add good flavor to these fine hot dogs.  Mariton only had one bite of the dogs, since the debacle the day before was still fresh in her mind.  She was much happier to share in the Cheesy Western.

                This is a smallish burger with egg, relish, onion, pickle and cheese on a slim beef patty.  That is a lot going on for one small burger, but it works.
                Mariton surprised me by asking for a bowl of chili

                and said we should try it since they are famous for it.  A good call on her part.  The chili is very thin and I have heard it referred to as "pinto bean soup", but topped off with onions, it made a fine chaser for our meal here.  By the way, the chili has been on the menu since the beginning and original owner Nick Bullington is said to have gotten the recipe from a hotel in San Antonio.
                Besides the Texas Tavern name, this place is also known as Roanoke's Millionaires Club.  The saying goes, no matter who you are, you will be treated like a millionaire at Texas Tavern!
                Texas Tavern
                114 Church Avenue SW
                Roanoke, VA
                Now having had our morning snack, we were now ready to go out for breakfast!
                More to come..... 
                <message edited by buffetbuster on Tue, 03/8/11 2:31 PM>

                  Re:Weekend in Virginia Wed, 03/9/11 10:10 AM (permalink)
                  When we arrived at The Roanoker Restaurant,

                  their very big parking lot was mostly full, which made me concerned that there would be a wait.  But the multi-roomed inside is equally as big and we were seated right away.  Even though the restaurant goes back to 1941, it feels more modern than that as it is obvious they have added on.  The walls are decorated with large vintage signs, mostly related to railroads, but this one

                  is my favorite.  I like the simplicity of the "Home of Good Food" slogan.
                  After everything she had eaten in the last couple of days, Mariton was pushing her limit.  So she tried to go light this morning by getting the oatmeal, which came with brown sugar, milk and for a small charge, bananas.

                  This may not have been a Roanoker specialty, but is was what she needed that morning and she was happy with it.
                  After having had country ham three times already on this trip, I was wondering if it wouldn't be a good idea to get something else.  But, once I saw they referenced Roadfood and the Sterns right in the description,

                  how could I possibly not order it?  Oh, and that is the first time I have ever seen Michael Stern referred to as Mike.  I hope this won't get Roanoker dropped from the next Roadfood book!
                  As you saw in the description, they call the country ham here "wafer thin". 

                  And they aren't kidding!  This is some of the thinnest ham I have seen.

                  (Sorry for the out of focus shot, but at least you can see just how slim the ham is)
                  Despite this, it is still plenty chewy and packs a wallop of flavor.  This was my second favorite country ham of the weekend.  For those of you scoring at home, here are the final standings in the contest for best country ham of the trip:
                  1. Calhoun's Country Hams
                  2. The Roanoker Restaurant
                  3. Wayside Inn
                  4. Southern Kitchen
                  You will be asked if you want toast or biscuits and biscuits

                  are clearly the way to go.  You get two, with a crunchy top and a pillowy soft, warm interior.  Excellent!  My only (minor) complaint is that they just had butter and jelly on the table to put on the biscuits.  These scream out for apple butter or even more so, some honey.  A couple of fried eggs and some grits, which were then dipped in the wonderful left over red-eye gravy, complete the breakfast.
                  Well, actually, breakfast can't be complete until you have some pie.  Choices were limited since most of the pies were still in the oven.  So, once again, chocolate pie

                  makes an appearance.  Updated current standings:
                  1. Country ham 4
                  2. Chocolate pie 3
                  3. Peanut soup 2
                  The filling wasn't as deep and chocolatey as I like and meringue over a cream top is always preferred, but still a perfectly acceptable slice of pie.    After this we were both quite full and were looking forward to walking off some of breakfast as we drove north to Charlottesville.
                  The Roanoker Restaurant
                  2522 Colonial Avenue SW
                  Roanoke, VA
                  More to come.....
                  <message edited by buffetbuster on Wed, 03/9/11 10:12 AM>

                    • Total Posts: 3778
                    • Joined: 6/17/2004
                    • Location: Columbia, SC
                    Re:Weekend in Virginia Wed, 03/9/11 11:07 AM (permalink)
                    We're eating what Mariton had most days for breakfast, and it will cure what ails ya.  Maybe not like a big plate of country ham, but good all the same.
                      ann peeples

                      • Total Posts: 8317
                      • Joined: 5/21/2006
                      • Location: West Allis, Wisconsin
                      Re:Weekend in Virginia Wed, 03/9/11 11:07 AM (permalink)
                      You hit some true roadfood places on this trip, BB. This is the stuff I have missed!! I m greatly enjoying both the good and bad...

                        Re:Weekend in Virginia Wed, 03/9/11 11:26 AM (permalink)
                        Well Ann, I sure don't like writing about the bad.  There is no pleasure is ripping a place.  But the bad places are inevitable.  And without them, we wouldn't truly appreciate the good ones!
                        I think it would get boring to have that for breakfast most days. But, you undoubtedly feel better for it.  And after the kielbasa and sauerkraut grinder I ate at the hockey game last night, it may be time for me to start it. 
                        And I echo your comments about ice cream parlors using crappy ice cream.  Do the customers not know the difference because they have never had the good stuff?  I wonder.
                        mr chips-
                        Thanks for the info on the peanut soup at Mt. Vernon.  Mariton has really enjoyed the presidential houses we have visited and asked if we could see more.  Mt. Vernon will most likely be next, so the tip is timely indeed. 
                        And thanks to leethebard for the nice comments.  They are much appreciated!

                          • Total Posts: 6068
                          • Joined: 8/16/2007
                          • Location: brick, NJ
                          Re:Weekend in Virginia Wed, 03/9/11 1:03 PM (permalink)
                          Buffetbuster, ir you ever go to the mountains of western NC(Yancey County), try the country breakfast at the Nu-Wray country smoked ham I ever had. I was told it was locally smoked.....and this little Mayberry-type town(Burnsville NC) is a scenic paradise. Enjoying this tour very much!!

                            • Total Posts: 6093
                            • Joined: 11/22/2007
                            • Location: Emmitsburg, Md.
                            Re:Weekend in Virginia Wed, 03/9/11 5:29 PM (permalink)
                            Great Pics and dialogue, looking forwad to more!

                              • Total Posts: 8
                              • Joined: 12/19/2007
                              • Location: McLean, VA
                              Re:Weekend in Virginia Wed, 03/9/11 10:31 PM (permalink)
                              I don't post here often, but glad to see that you dropped by the good old Virginia! I wish you had time to make a couple of stops in Charlottesville. I've lived here the past three years, it's gorgeous and there's a lot to do for a small town - not to mention great restaurants. If you come to Virginia again (and I hope you do), here's a recommendation. "Thai Siam Take Out" is located halfway between Charlottesville and Lynchburg. It's just one restaurant in the middle of nowhere - it's on a seldom traveled local road in the middle of the mountains. The food's great though, better than Thai I've had in San Francisco and D.C. It's got such a roadfood quality to it, and the owner is an entertaining lady to say the least!


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                                • Location: Toronto, On/Huntsville, AL
                                Re:Weekend in Virginia Thu, 03/10/11 11:06 AM (permalink)
                                Glad to see you enjoyed your trips to Texas Tavern. We had a fantastic visit last summer.
                                For people who aren't familiar with it, as was said it's small. So small I took a picutre of the interior from the outside.
                                It's almost all regulars too. People will walk in and not even say anything. Sit down and two dogs (or whatever) are immediately plunked down in front of them.

                                  • Total Posts: 105
                                  • Joined: 10/22/2007
                                  • Location: Catawba, VA
                                  Re:Weekend in Virginia Thu, 03/10/11 11:27 AM (permalink)
                                  It's nice to see TEXAS TAVERN on a trip report. I love that place.
                                  THELMA'S  might have moved to the Market area in downtown Roanoke.

                                    Re:Weekend in Virginia Tue, 03/15/11 1:32 PM (permalink)
                                    Sorry for the delay in finishing this up.....
                                    On the drive down to Virginia, I told Mariton that we would be visiting Thomas Jefferson's home, the Monticello.  When I showed her the image of it on the back on the nickel, this really piqued her interest.
                                    They have a brand new visitor's center here,

                                    where we had time to watch a 20 minute movie before our 12:15 tour started.  After the movie, we walked up the steps to the shuttle bus, where they have a statue

                                    of Jefferson to greet people.  The bus drops you off right in front of the famous building.

                                    After about a 15 minute wait, in which we able to walk around and take photos, we were assembled and taken inside.
                                    Our group was approximately 20 people and had guests from as far away as Russia and Brazil.  The tour guide was an older gentleman in a bow tie and he really knew his stuff.  He did a wonderful job of providing plenty of information, while still keeping us moving.  Because there was a tour just 15 minutes ahead and another 15 minutes behind, we couldn't get bogged down for too long in any one room.  Sure wish he could have been our guide at Luray Caverns, too.
                                    Unfortunately, there is no picture taking inside the house, which is common.  But there is so much to look at, such as Native American weapons and animal antlers in the foyer, books, paintings, skylights, the unusual bed he passed away in and lots and lots of maps.  This was my fourth time here and again it struck me that the house isn't really all that big.  Maybe that is because you only get to see the first floor. 
                                    You are led back outside and told to take your time wandering the grounds.  A side view

                                    and a rear view of the house.

                                    Like in Jefferson's day, this is still very much a working farm,

                                    but we were here the wrong time of year to see everything in full bloom.
                                    We spent a good 45 minutes walking around and taking photos.  A sign led us to the gated grave

                                    of Jefferson, where there was a plaque

                                    giving the history of this small graveyard.  From there, we caught the shuttle back to the visitor's center.
                                    This was only the second President's house that Mariton has visited, but she absolutely loved her visit here.  Enough so, that she asked if we could go see other President's homes.  We will probably be doing a lot of that this Summer!
                                    It was time to start heading home.  But we did stop for food one last time and since it was so convenient, we picked Wright's Dairy Rite

                                    in Staunton.  This place is a classic drive-in that makes you feel like you stepped back in time to the 1950's.  To order your food, you could stay in your vehicle and have a car hop wait on you. 

                                    You could go inside and order from the register. 

                                    But the coolest way to order is to sit at one of the tables and use their phones

                                    to talk directly to the kitchen.  Of course, that's what we did and Mariton got an action shot of me dialing it in.

                                    The menu, which has a nifty retro cover,

                                    has everything you would expect from a drive-in.  Even though I have been here a few times before, my memory is more about the atmsophere than the food.  And when our food was delivered, I have to admit that it wasn't very impressive looking.  Luckily, everything tasted much better than it looked.
                                    The signature burger here is the monsterburger, but since we are both mushroom lovers, the mushroom swiss burger

                                    made more sense for us.  Even though you can't see them, there were plenty of mushrooms on this misshapen 1/3 lb. patty.  Very good!  The pork bbq sandwich,

                                    with slaw on top, was moist and tender and we both thought it was the best thing on the tray.  They say right on the menu that they make their onion rings

                                    fresh daily and they tasted like it.  The sweet potato fries

                                    looked poor, but still provided plenty of nice yammy flavor.  To finish it off, a couple of thick shakes,

                                    pineapple for her and banana for me.  This was easily the best meal I have had here at Wright's.
                                    While we were eating, entertainment was provided by a couple of youngsters dancing to the jukebox.

                                    Another cool feature is that they have sample menus from yesteryear on display.

                                    Wright's Dairy Rite
                                    346 Greenville Avenue
                                    Staunton, VA
                                    From there, it was straight home to Pittsburgh!
                                    <message edited by buffetbuster on Tue, 03/15/11 1:36 PM>
                                      ann peeples

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                                      • Location: West Allis, Wisconsin
                                      Re:Weekend in Virginia Tue, 03/15/11 5:49 PM (permalink)
                                      What a wonderful end to your trip! I went to Monticello as a young girl, and the trip is embedded in my head.
                                      I love history like that, and I feel my visit there influenced my choice of furniture to this day! My dad recalled that I ordered fried shrimp every where we went, so I have no Roadfood memories. But I enjoyed yours and Maritons eating adventures!

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                                        • Joined: 12/14/2003
                                        • Location: Newport News, VA
                                        Re:Weekend in Virginia Tue, 03/15/11 6:38 PM (permalink)
                                        BB, glad you all made a trip to the Old Dominion!  I know exactly how Mariton felt after my first visit to Moore's Country Store.  The hot dog was definately way too hot and odd tasting  for me and although I managed to down it, I was a little leery of any after effects.  Everytime my boyfriend and I pass by it, he always asks if I'd like a Moore's and I decline gracefully.  We go regularly to visit his kids as he is a former citizen of Lynchburg.  We have also visited the Texas Tearoom (or Tavern)  in Lynchburg many times and I really do enjoy a cheesy western with their special homemade relish and a chili dog.  Monticello is also a favorite place to visit.  We, too, plan on visiting Mt Vernon and  James Madison's home (which I can't remember now).  I love the Culpepper area and esp. the Calhoon Ham Shop - and I was lucky to have brought home a couple of country hams for Christmas one year.  I believe Mr. Calhoon's ham is some of the best I have eaten!  Thanks for bringing all those memories back to us!  You definately hit the right places  and I am planning on a trip that way soon!  Thanks for such a good report!  Judy
                                          Ahi Mpls.

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                                          • Location: Minneapolis, MN
                                          Re:Weekend in Virginia Tue, 03/15/11 7:21 PM (permalink)
                                           Yay! Happy ending!
                                           I love the ordering on the phone pic... it made me think of what the kitchen would think if a certain someone Called in and just said "Left side of the menu please"  
                                            So, is Monticello just RIDDLED with dumbwaiters? or is that just another crazy urban legend? 


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                                            • Location: Columbia, SC
                                            Re:Weekend in Virginia Tue, 03/15/11 8:14 PM (permalink)
                                            Perhaps you would like to tell us the legend of the dumbwaiters?  I don't think I've ever heard it.  I love that picture of you on the phone too Cliff!  Great report!
                                              Ahi Mpls.

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                                              • Location: Minneapolis, MN
                                              Re:Weekend in Virginia Tue, 03/15/11 8:33 PM (permalink)
                                               Well, he invented the dumbwaiter and since they are so cool, I assume that he had LOTS of them.... 
                                                He also brought ice cream (?!) to America and then invented the pedometer. coincidence?  

                                                Re:Weekend in Virginia Tue, 03/15/11 9:10 PM (permalink)
                                                I love the phrase "riddled with dumbwaiters".  How cool of a band name would that be?  There was only the one dumbwaiter.  But, did you also know that he is credited with the invention (or at least improving upon) storm windows?  Very cool!
                                                And if "he who shall remain nameless" was phoning his order in, it would take less time if he just named what he didn't want to eat.
                                                Thanks for the compliment.  I went back and looked and I really like that photo, too. 
                                                So now we have multiple votes for and against Moore's Country Store.  I will definitely go back, but it would be hard to persuade Mariton to join me.  So glad that this report brought back good memories for you.  We may be back in the area later this Summer to visit James Madison's and James Monroe's homes.

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                                                  Re:Weekend in Virginia Wed, 03/16/11 9:36 AM (permalink)
                                                  Great report, BB!  I remember reading about Monticello when I was in grade school and I'd still like to visit it some day.  Hopefully Michael Hoffman will share some stories about how he watched it being built.

                                         that perhaps a late '50s DeSoto?

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                                                    • Location: Batavia, OH
                                                    Re:Weekend in Virginia Wed, 03/16/11 10:56 AM (permalink)
                                                    I have been to Monticello several times over an adult lifetime spent fascinated with him. The new visitors center is terrific. And all the tour guides are extremely knowledgeable.
                                                    There are now tours in the evening that allow you to go to the second and third floors. We're thinking of that sometime this fall.
                                                    In Lynchburg, you should visit Poplar Forest, Mr. Jefferson's "retreat" house. It's an octagonal shaped house, with four elongated octagonal rooms surrounding a large central cube room.
                                                    Wright's is a lot of fun, and the food is great.
                                                      mr chips

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                                                      • Location: portland, OR
                                                      Re:Weekend in Virginia Fri, 03/18/11 1:10 AM (permalink)
                                                      I remember my first visit to Montecello where the slaves were called servants and their lives ignored. the historical interpretation has improved and it remains the best of the Presidential sites i have visited. My last visit was 5 years ago. If you are in the area B.B. you might want to visit the historical museum in Orange, Virginia which has a lot of Madison memorabilia. The Madison home (Montpelier) was owned by the DuPont  family for many years and was remodeled only in the last couple decades to match the Madison era style. As alays it is a pleasure to read of your adventures.

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                                                        • Location: Sin City, VA
                                                        Re:Weekend in Virginia Tue, 05/24/11 11:56 AM (permalink)


                                                        Just revisited this longtime favorite and yesterday for a late lunch. Classic. Homemade egg and tuna salads, great BLTs, the aforementioned onion rings and, of course, delicious soft serve. THE place to hit in Staunton, Virginia!


                                                          Re:Weekend in Virginia Tue, 05/24/11 1:13 PM (permalink)
                                                          Thanks for the report!  This last visit to Wright's was the best food I have enjoyed there.  Did you eat inside or out? 

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                                                            • Location: Sin City, VA
                                                            Re:Weekend in Virginia Tue, 05/24/11 1:22 PM (permalink)
                                                            Inside. What was the number for using the "order phone" there? 71? Anyhoo, I always find it amusing here that not only do you order your food via a CHP (Car Hop Protocol) -- that being the aforementioned booth phone -- but that they also bring said food to your table car hop style meaning that unlike giving each person what they ordered, the wait staff simply puts down his or her tray of food on your table (mimicking your car's window) and you sort it all out. 
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