Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway - foreign newbie needs good eats
Hi to the board. I’m John and I live in north west England.
In September, my wife & I are spending 3 weeks travelling through VA, NC, SC & GA and are looking for good eats. We are still route planning and will be posting other threads as and when we sort things out.
But we know we are going spend a few days driving the Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway and exploring some of the towns between Front Royal and Asheville.
In terms of the northern part, Front Royal, Charlottesville and Lexington are definitely on the itinerary and any recommendation for those towns would be welcomed. I’d also like any general recommendations for the rest of the drive down to Asheville (I’ll post separately about there, so don’t need Asheville ideas just now).
Casual dining would be good for this part of the trip, but if there’s a more upscale “don’t miss” place, then please tell me. If possible, we’d like to eat local cuisine for dinner.
Charlottesville has great resturants. It is not, however, a true southern town. So don't expect great BBQ, collard greens and such. You'll find that cuisine to get better and more authentic as you get closer to Asheville. The Downtown Mall has the best restaurants in Cville. Here are som current local faves:
Zocalo - upscale latin fusion. great bar. dinner only. seasonal outdoor patio. www.zocalo-restaurant.com
Bizou - comfort food (great meatloaf, fried chicken, etc) in a diner-meets-fine dining atmosphere. Lunch and dinner. Outdoor dining on the walking mall in warm weather.
C&O - American meets French. Three levels of the building give three different dining venues. Great wine list. www.candorestaurant.com
South Street Brewery - handcrafted beers made on premises have won numerous awards. Food is OK. Stick to burgers, ribs, and simpler items. Long copper bar and nice bartenders.
Ten - upscale sushi and Japanese. 16 different sakes. The lobster tempura is heavenly. Dinner only.
Continental Divide - excellent Southwest food with a twist (think seared ahi tuna tostada with black bean and goat cheese puree). Very affordable. Get there early for dinner only!
Christian's Pizza - great local lunch/dinner hangout. Pizza by the slice with crazy and traditional toppings.
I have to disagree about not expecting great barbeque, Jinx' Pit's Top barbeque is spectacular, in my opinion. Jinx himself is a character (that's a polite term, right?) but he makes some seriously good pork.
I moved out of town before Ten opened, so I can't render a comparison opinion, but Miyako, also on the downtown mall does a lovely job with sushi and the cooked food is very underrated. Ask for the specials.
For South Street, I'd say stick to the beers, they're amazing. Especially if your'e a fan of hops.
I couldn't agree more with the Continental Divide rec., its a gem.
Other thing that are uniquely Charlottesville:
Spudnuts Donut Shop, the best donuts I've had outside of a Krispy Kreme (and since Krispy Kreme closed in C'ville, that makes these far and away the best in town). Made with potato flour and totally delicious.
The same family that does Spudnuts does Wayside Take Out which is some of the best southern fried chicken you'll find anywhere.
And, go figure, the best bagels I've ever had are at Bodo's in Charlotesville. There are 3 of them now. Super cheap, and very very tasty.
enter blue ridge parkway in the search field (top right above my chow) and see the thread from oct. 2004 started by Lauren in Ct. titled Driving Trip Along Blue Ridge Parkway.
Most rec.s are still valid but disregard my posting about the parkway being closed in some spots as repairs have been completed. Be forewarned, the BRP is known as a feast for the eyes, not so much so for the stomach.....
As you get down into the North Carolina Tennessee area there is a hotel / restaurant that is supposed to be very, very good but quite a bit of money. It is called Blackberry Farm and it would be off the parkway towards Knoxville tennessee. I included the link to their website. Blowing Rock is supposed to be a fun town and I have heard good things about Sonny's Grill but haven't eaten there myself. Have a great trip!
Hope you enjoy your trip. In Downtown Spruce Pine, between Asheville and Boone, you will find The Lazy Susan. You can't get more traditional that this. All food is served family style (brought out in platters) All you can eat. Flat price--something like 12$.. The best fries chix, okra, stew, cobblers, ect. A true southern gem.
Find the Blue Ridge Pig in Nellysford, VA. Not on the Blue Ridge, but a 45 minute drive down the hill (east). Amazing barbeque:
Also nearby, Rodes Farm Inn - great family style farm meals, part of Wintergreen resort (down in the valley, down the road from Blue Ridge Pig). RODES FARM INN
Enjoy - it's a special place in the world down that-a-way.