Just got back from a R/T vacation from DC to Dandridge, TN so we had several choices in Virginia. Thanks to the group - again - for your suggestions. Here is our report from 6/2005.
Our first stop was the Roanoker for lunch on the way down. Unfortunately we were pretty disappointed with this restaurant. The lunch menu was pretty limited and my wife and I both thought our menu's were missing something. Saw some dishes like Taco Salad that I wouldn't expect to see in classic southern restaurant. Ultimately I went with the open-faced turkey sandwich and my wife had the chicken salad. I would rate the food as pretty mediocre. I took a look at the dinner menu and it didn't rate much better in my opinion. In re-reading some posts, I see people here like it for breafast. Might be worth it for that, but I would skip it for lunch/dinner next time I drive through town. You should also know that it's a good 15 minutes or so off of I-81, so if you are looking for a quick on and off, this isn't your place.
As an alert to others, right near the Roanoker is a strip mall of sorts (CVS, Grocery store, etc). On the back side across the street is a new BBQ place serving Memphis style BBQ. Be curious if that place was any good.
We stopped for the night in Wytheville and tried the 1776 Loghouse. We absolutely loved it. What a great old funky place. The food was delicous. I had the General Lee Beef Stew and my wife had the fruit stuffed pork loin. Her dish had a sweet glaze on it and crispy skin that was terrific. On the picky side, the blue cheese appetizer as processed blue cheese and the bottle of wine we ordered was at room temp. Great place for kids as they have a courtyard with rabbits which was a good diversion for our son.
On the way home we just had to stop at Mrs. Rowes. Overall a good meal - though I do see where it probobably doesn't live up to its heydey that people speak of a few years ago. Even though the menu says to allow extra time for fried chicken, it came out very fast. Too fast to have been freshly prepared. I will say that we arrived at 2pm on a Saturday so maybe that had something to do with it. Fried Chicken was good, but it (and the sides) could have been hotter. Wife had the roast beef sandwhich which was tasty but a bit overcooked. Sweet tea was delicious - a reminder of the days when I lived in Atlanta. I will also add that it is quite convenient, just off the highway. I would stop here again and give them another shot. Also enjoyed the "Made in Virginia" shop which is right next door.