Where to eat along Interstates 81 and 64, and Route 501 in VA?
We will be driving from NJ to a wedding in NC on Sept. 16.
Winchester, Harrisonburg, Staunton, Charlotteville, Waynesboro, Lynchburg, South Boston are towns along the way.
Looking for good/local/Chowhoundish places to eat.
We would rather starve to death than eat at Cracker Barrel.
I've driven it dozens of times in the last few years but never found much. If funky is a substitute for chowish then there's the Pink Cadillac Diner near Natural Bridge. Maybe Exit 181 not sure. There's also a decent Five Guys at the Woodstock exit, I think it's about 282. I like Bojangles Chicken and there's one at Exit 150; in the same strip center there's a Three Pigs BBQ, but I've never tried it.
It sounds like you will be cruising the I-81 South, I-64 East route toward Ch'ville, then heading south to Carolina. If so, you'll only see chain offerings from the highway. If you don't have much time and can't get very far off the beaten path, try stopping in Waynesboro at the South River Grill. It is right off the interstate near Home Depot. It is locally owned and operated. The food is decent, the people are friendly, and you won't be rushed through your meal.
Well, if you have plenty of time, you might try the Joshua Wilton House in downtown Harrisonburg, The Dining Room in downtown Staunton, Duner's in Ivy, or Hamilton's on Main on the downtown mall in Charlottesville. I hope you have an enjoyable trip through Virginia.
Hugh, do a search for each of those towns and you should find lots of places to eat. I live in Richmond and it has been so long since I have eaten in any of those towns that I would hesitate to recommend. I can tell you that if you are near Charlottesville for breakfast, you should eat at the Tavern (corner of Rt. 29 and Barracks Rd.) - tacky, delicious country b'fast! If you are going from Lynchburg to S. Boston, you might be going through Danville. There is a Short Sugar's BBQ in Danville which is pretty good, if you get a sandwich - the Short Sugars in Reidsville is the home restaurant - that is where the really good stuff is, but the Danville location is very good - just not quite as fresh. The sauce is amazing and different from any sauce you will find anywhere else! Have a great trip and please report back!
In Woodstock, right on Main St. there is an older type little house on the left side if you are heading south on Rt. 11. Can't remember the name, but it has a great atmosphere and food is good.
Staunton has the old Train Depot - one is the Depot Grill and next door is the Pullman. Top of hill in the historic district. The grill has a huge bar that came out of an old hotel in Albany NY. Food is inexpensive and quite good. There is another good restaurant, so I've heard, Mill St. Grill.
Charlottesville, my home base - South Street Brewery, near the downtown mall - reasonable, great microbrewed beer, great atmosphere and if the jerk pork is on the menu, get it! One block away is Mono Loco, super seafood paella, different atmosphere and you can eat outside on the patio. On Main St., not too far from the university are two - Continental Divide, excellent southwestern food, and nearby is Starr Hill, very good microbrewed ale, food not too bad as well.
re: Linda VA1
In Charlottesville, I agree with Continental Divide and Starr Hill; also Mas in the Belmont neighborhood has great tapas. The City (i.e., farmer's) Market on Saturday morning off the downtown mall is fun - look for the hot, fresh-made donuts. Christian's Pizza for a quick slice of pizza, Mudhouse for coffee, and Splendora's for gelato are all on the Downtown Mall.
For breakfast, I would choose the Tip Top Diner (basic diner food on Pantops Mt, very close to I-64) or Bluegrass Bakery and Grill (less a diner with some gourmet ingredients, located close to the Downtown Mall) before the Tavern, but there certainly is a certain tacky appeal to the Tavern.
Tourist trap warning - we did a whole route around Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and back to Maryland back in July with lots of stops planned around food. One of them being the 'famous' Mrs. Rowe's in Staunton. BIG disappointment - I can honestly say I would just as soon had Cracker Barrel.