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Jul 1, 2005 10:02 PM

where to eat along I-81?

  • t

Howdy all,

I'll be driving the I-81 corridor next week in northern virginia -- is there anywhere decent to stop around frederick (rt 70) or down into charles town, wva, winchester, va, etc? Farthest south will be new market, va.

i'm looking for anything good -- diner, bbq, whatever you got. Convenient to highway is ideal. anything other than cracker barrel or waffle house, please help me!


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  1. e

    We've been physically gone from WV for three years although still own property in Charles Town, so info not fully up to date. In Winchester, consider Violino (Italian) or Sofia (Bulgarian); near Martinsburg, try Yellow Brick Bank in Shepherdstown or Mezzaluna in Charles Town

    4 Replies
    1. re: etoiledunord

      A different topic -- my apologies -- but there are those of us who make periodic pilgrimages to Waffle House and Cracker Barrel, they are so superior to the other chains along the highways in these parts. I know what you mean, but perhaps those weren't the best examples? :-)

      1. re: BW

        CharlesTown WV is about 15 miles from 81, but as mentioned Mezzaluna is very good-eat there regularly. Yellow Brick Bank in Shepherdstown has become not all that-it's OK, but I think that whole Reagan era thing is quite over now. Violini in Winchester is most excellent Italian, go there for lunch once a month. It is a couple miles off 81 at the end (or beginning, depending on your perspective)of the Old Town Pedestrian Mall. Closer to 81 is Red Hot and Blue, a fairly good Q place.
        In Frederick Md, on Market St, is the Tasting Room. Gr8 wine list, excellent food. Also Zest has moved to the beginning of Market St. and they have some very innovative cuisine.

      2. re: etoiledunord

        I am (unfortunately) quite familiar with Charles Town cuisine. Most of it is not good. Mezzaluna is acceptable. But the most chowish, and in my opinion the only place worth eating, is the newish Cafe de Kabobs on the main street. The kabobs I've tried are good, and served with rice pilaf and chick peas. And they have Indian desserts, including a world-class ras malai. Who'd a thunk...? But they might be closed on Sundays

        132 West Washington Street 304-728-3875

        I second the recommendations for Violino and Yellow Brick Bank.

        1. re: etoiledunord

          Ugh, I live out there half the year - a dining wasteland. Sofia was closed last I heard. We had a decent pizza at Umberto's off I-81 in Winchester. The Irish Isle just off exit 302 on Route 11 in Middletown isn't bad and they have live music on weekends.

        2. If you can go as far as Harrisonburg, the Joshua Wilton House is absolutely great. They have a lovely wine list, too, with very reasonable prices, and a nice inn, aside from the excellent food. It is upscale, but by DC standards a bargain. I don't know if they serve lunch, but dinner and breakfast are wonderful, and it is worth an overnight. The owners and staff are very friendly and professional. We ate there several years ago and remembered it. We were back last week and were not disappointed. I couldn't believe they served zind Humbrecht Alsacian wines, my favorites.

          1. I second the opinion of the Joshua Wilton House in Harrisonburg. My wife and I had a wonderful dinner there in January 2007. Well prepared, fresh food and a nice wine list, including several excellent by-the-glass selections. We've also stayed at the Inn and can recommend it as a wonderful B&B experience.
            John Fugel

            1. Obviously a bit late for the OP, but no trip down I-81 is complete without a stop at the Route 11 potato chip factory in Middletown. You can stuff your face with free samples, and then waddle out with a few bags of chips.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Bob W

                I missed this one too... (new to the site) but just an FYI next time they are in the area, Rt 11 chips might not be right here in Middletown anymore.. :( It's moving (I THINK) to Mt. Jackson... SOO sad, but they have no where else to expand...

                1. re: pbjculley

                  The folks at Rt 11 chips told me last time I was there that while the factory would move to Mt Jackson, they would most likely keep the retail store in Middletown. Absolutely worth a stop.

              2. Oh YEAH! Route 11 chips! They are awesome. Whenever we visit my aunt in Woodstock, VA, we make a stop in Middletown.

                Also, in New Market, you can try the Southern Kitchen. It's definitely a "road food" kind of place, with linoleum tables and turquoise leatherette banquettes, and it serves decent home cooking. We go there as much for the atmosphere as the food. My family likes the fried chicken (if it's freshly cooked) and fresh trout. One of their specialties is peanut soup--a ye olde Virginia dish. We especially like to stop by on a Sunday afternoon when the clientele is varied. Guests range from well-dressed church ladies to weather beaten kayakers. It's comforting to know that there are still places like this around. However, beware of cigarette smoke. There is a non-smoking section, but you have to wait in the smoking section for your table. This is a part of the state that will be hard-pressed to give up smoking rights.