Roadtrip: Best food choices b/t Cincinnati and Charlottesvile/Richmond VA (US-52 and I-64)
I'm writing to seek your perspective on how I can dramatically increase the joy of an upcoming roadtrip. I'll be traveling with a friend from Cincinnati, OH to Charlottesville, VA (and possibly all the way to Richmond). Our route will probably take us on US-52 from Cincinnati to Huntington, WV, where we'll catch I-64 for the rest of the trip.
I'd like to know about places of note that are worth time and attention. As with many of you, I could care less about how many stars the restaurant has-- if it's a great hot dog or BBQ place, I'm in. An amazing four-star French restaurant? Bring it on. My only requirements are that it needs to be unique, and representative of the best of the regional cuisine on display in the area! It would be great if some of the places were near the highway and worthy of a quickish road stop, but am also willing to get off the beaten path a little bit for someplace that is worthy!
For the uninitiated in this area, here are some of the towns I'm likely to pass through:
-Cincinnati, OH (my hometown, I've got a pretty good feel for this one)
-Charlottesville, VA (will be spending a few days here, so particularly interested in this one)
Let's roll out your favorite places, no-holds-barred! Let's have a debate about the REAL issues-- pork or beef? Informal or formal? Greasy or healthy? That's something we can all get behind!
Thanks in advance for setting up this roadtripper to have maximum enjoyment on my visit, which is only a little over a week away!
Well, I just wanted to report back on the very successful results of my trip! Thanks to all of you, I not only had a great time enjoying a little springtime weather, but I ate very well indeed!
On the way out, I stopped in Huntington at Fro-Stop and it was excellent! The hot dogs and burgers were fine, but it was the onion rings and the root beer (frosty mugs, no less) stole the show. I also got a "snack" in Lexington VA at Kenney's. Thank god I had my GPS with me or I never, ever would have found it. (How is it still in business?) I enjoyed a "sauce burger" and reveled in the history of the place... they've still got several of the old fliers and promotional materials up around the place.
In Charlottesville, I ate at Zocalo which was a good (though not exceptional) Mexican restaurant. The fish was outstanding there. And I'm pleased to say we made it to Jinx's (Pit Stop) BBQ. Honestly very good sandwiches. The ribs looked like they may have been just a touch overdone, but it made for some great pulled pork. Despite Jinx's claims to the contrary, I found it to be a bit Carolina-style, where the focus is on the meat and preparation, not on spices, rubs, or sauces. Worked for me-- tiny little shack putting out some nice food.
On the way home, I stopped in Charleston WV at the Blossom Dairy (which I saw recommended on a number of other posts) and it too was awesome. I was surprised at how good their deli sandwiches were.
All in all, it was a great trip and I'd recommend all of these!
Charlottesville has some great food:
- Letoile (fine french) http://letoilerestaurant.com/
- Zocalo (latin inspired) http://www.zocalo-restaurant.com
- Maya (meats & two's) http://www.maya-rstaurant.com
- Ten (sushi & japanese) http://www.ten-sushi.com
- Continental Divide (southwestern) no website
- Bizou (upscale comfort food) no website
- Riverside (good greasy burgers) no website
- Sticks (healthy lunch) http://www.stickskebobshop.com/
- Revolutionary Soup (sourced locally) http://revolutionarysoup.com/
And many more!
Your post made me finally join Chowhound! I second Lawrence's Eidelweiss suggestion (though it's about 10 miles south of I-64 on I-81). On fridays, they have about four old Germans with accordians singing, and then they all suddenly sit down and eat. Sides are served family style, with refills- red cabbage, spaetzle, sauerkraut. Very tasty and worth a visit.
- In Charlottesville, Thai 99 is very tasty (off of hwy 29- best to get directions as you can't see if from the road).
- My favorite place of all is in Staunton, VA- the Staunton Grocery:(http://www.stauntongrocery.com/
) They use 85-90% local ingredients, like grassfed beef, Tamworth (heritage breed) pork, and pastured poultry. Very yummy, and a good wine list. They only pull in what they have to- for instance, it's hard to find local sea bass in the Shenandoah Valley. They have this big board up behind the bar with their providers on it. It's a bit on the pricey side- not shocking, but not cheap (entrees in 20's, apps 10's). They have a priced fixe menu on sundays ($35) app/main/dessert, with optional wine pairing (+$12, 1/2 pour per course). Only open for dinner, and worth the drive back out from Cville if you miss it on the way in. Staunton is a nice little city, too- if you're going I'd be happy to point out more stuff (coffee shops, bakeries, etc.).
And the Edelweiss is one of the most family friendly restaurants that I have ever eaten at. I must confess that we celebrated our 1st and 20th wedding anniversary at the restaurant and they really enjoy catering to small children, even allowing them to try to play the accordian. It was a real popular place with the nephews and nieces.
In Charlottesville, VA, there is a historical tavern near the James Monroe mansion that serves a traditional colonial menu. I am not going to testify as to its authenticity but the food was pretty good. The place is called the Michie Tavern.
This is a great post! I drive it all the time (from Cincy, live in Richmond now) but with 2 little kids under 5 so I rarely make time to stop anywhere that doesn't have a place to run around. Can't wait to read the posts! Have heard (but honestly have to say I haven't been) that Buzz & Ned's in Richmond is worth a stop for BBQ ribs. Comfort for good southern food - although there may be places in Charlottesville and you'll be there. Enjoy- we're having a much nicer spring than you all!
Oh and it's not food and some folks may think it's cheesy but I actually like Tamarack (in Beckley - almost exactly halfway) for the arts and crafts. And the Blenko glass factory in Milton, WV (exit 28 off the 64) is supposed to be cool too. My son could cost me a fortune in there!
oh edelweiss has a site: http://edelweissrestaurantva.com/
In Huntington you have Fro-Stop. It's near Marshall University and it has a giant root beer mug on top of the building. Don't waste your time with Stewarts hotdogs they are pretty bad. Lexington has an original Kenny Burger, but it can be hard to find. You can ask any VMI or W&L student how to get there. It's on top of a hill near route 11. And C'ville has Jinx's BBQ. Hope this helps. www.choppedonion.com