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Roanoke VA- where to find a flawless dinner and breakfast for 2, money is no object.

alkonost Aug 19, 2012 10:04 PM

Hi everyone,

I'm planning ahead for a road trip (just me and my spouse) along i-81 in October and we will be spending a night in Roanoke/Salem VA along the way unless we change our route (unlikely but you never know). We'll be exhausted after the long drive when we arrive, so I'm doing a bit of homework to ensure that we don't have a bad or mediocre meal. Being well-fed (quality not quantity) and refreshed for another leg of our road trip is the goal, so I'm in search a restaurant for dinner, and one for breakfast that represent the best of Roanoke.

From browsing around the web I found a few restaurants that seem like they would be a good fit, but I haven't seen many reviews on Chowhound (I don't trust the reviews on yelp) and I'm hoping for some recent feedback. It's going to be hard to pick just one, they all look so good I wish I could try them all:

Dinner:
1) Lucky Restaurant - French/new American. The menu looks great, had mostly good reviews on yelp but a very negative complaint on their kitchen execution that has me second-guessing.
2) Blue Apron - Technically in Salem but I'm wondering how it compares to Lucky, the cuisine is similar so it would be nice to know which is the better restaurant.
3) Table 50 - New American. saw numerous complaints about overcooked meat on yelp, reviewers seem to love it or hate it.
4) River and Rail- Southern New American, local seasonal food, menu looks great!
5) Local Roots- Farm to table, seasonal food, some unusual ingredients on their menu
6) Downtown Soul Roanoke - we're new to southern soul food, this looked interesting but I couldn't find a lot of reviews. They also seem to close early for dinner, I'm not sure if we'd arrive in Roanoke before they close.

Breakfast/snack:
1) Blue Collar Joe's - Even if we pick a different place for breakfast, we may stop by here to get some doughnuts and coffee for the road. I saw a positive CH review on this one and was hoping for recent feedback. Who doesn't love doughnuts? Especially fresh apple cider doughnuts.
2) Bread Craft Cafe - French press coffee is not something I see offered every day, croissants and breakfast menu looked good even though it's a short one.
3) Famous Anthony's - local chain with a good reputation
4) Thelma's Chicken and Waffles - sounds like a the place for a stick-to-your-ribs breakfast.
5) Tudor's Biscuit World - are the biscuits really that good? I haven't had a biscuit yet that really knocks my socks off.

So if anyone has feedback on any of these places I'd love to hear it. Also if there are any outstanding places you'd like to suggest, that would be great too. We're looking for great food that is unique to the region or friendly/gentle on a traveler's stomach (nothing spicy).

Thanks in advance!

---

Downtown Soul Roanoke
304 1st ST Roanoke, VA 24011

Lucky Restaurant
18 Kirk Ave SW Roanoke, VA 24011

Blue Apron
210 E Main St Salem, VA 24153

Table 50
309 Market St Roanoke, VA 24011

River and Rail
2201 Crystal Spring Ave SW Roanoke, VA 24014

Local Roots
1314 Grandin Rd Roanoke, VA 24015

Blue Collar Joe's
1171 Roanoke Road Daleville, VA 24083

Bread Craft Cafe & Bakery
106 S. Jefferson St. Roanoke, VA

Thelma's Chicken and Waffles
315 Market St Roanoke, VA 24012

Famous Anthony's
2221 Crystal Spring Avenue SW Roanoke, VA 24014

Tudor's Biscuit World
23 Church Ave SW Roanoke, VA 24011

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  1. carolinadawg Aug 20, 2012 05:24 AM

    According to a post on this thread, Blue Collar Joes is closed:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/602918

    1 Reply
    1. re: carolinadawg
      alkonost Aug 20, 2012 09:01 AM

      Oh no!!! That's terrible, it sounded like a great place. Anyone know why they closed?

    2. Bacardi1 Aug 20, 2012 06:18 PM

      I have a friend who lives in Roanoke, & I forwarded him your post. Will post back his comments.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Bacardi1
        alkonost Aug 20, 2012 07:12 PM

        Thanks Bacardi, I appreciate it very much. :)

        1. re: alkonost
          Bacardi1 Aug 21, 2012 07:15 AM

          Here's what my friend had to say:

          "I think the choices on the CHOW message board look good, although Thelma's might have moved (I think they closed and reopened), Blue Collar Joe's is indeed sadly gone, and good luck finding Tudor's, or parking. I'm not sure I've ever had a biscuit from there, but they are a fixture."

          1. re: Bacardi1
            alkonost Aug 21, 2012 03:45 PM

            Thanks very much for passing along your friend's advice. The info about Tudor's parking problem was very helpful and it sounds like they're busy, we're likely going to be in a rush for breakfast in the morning so it might not be the best choice for our situation. For breakfast we're leaning towards the Bread Cafe or Thema's (I'll double check the address).

      2. r
        Roanokefood Aug 21, 2012 02:53 PM

        For dinner I would suggest either Lucky, or River and Rail. Lucky being my first choice, but I'm slightly biased. The menu is a good mix of French & Southern, but nothing too cliche. The wine list is small but comprised mainly of French wines.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Roanokefood
          alkonost Aug 21, 2012 03:46 PM

          What are your favorite dishes at Lucky and River/Rail? Any standouts or specialties of the house?

        2. d
          DCheesi Aug 23, 2012 08:32 AM

          I'm interested to see the responses on breakfast; my girlfriend loves breakfast, and I've yet to find a place in Roanoke that really stands out.

          Tudor's is ok, but it's mainly a breakfast-biscuit place. Honestly I haven't been that impressed when I've gone there.

          I haven't tried Thelma's signature dish, but when I tried one of their regular breakfast platters I was sort of underwhelmed. It was just basic and uninspired, and didn't even benefit from large quantities.

          2 Replies
          1. re: DCheesi
            d
            DCheesi Sep 17, 2012 02:18 PM

            Update: Tudor's is closed :(

            1. re: DCheesi
              alkonost Sep 18, 2012 06:41 AM

              :( :(

              Thanks for the update, it's so sad to hear of all these closings. Any word on the reason behind Tudor's closing? Bad economy or something to do with the owners (ex: retirement? selling restaurant?)

          2. t
            Tony M. Aug 24, 2012 10:02 PM

            If I were selecting just one for dinner it would be Blue Apron. Pleasant atmosphere, professional and accommodating service and very good food. I think the food is a little better than at Lucky and the service much better. They also have different feels. Lucky is very dark and cozy - at times so dark it's hard to read the menu - but is good for an intimate dinner. Blue Apron has a more open feel.

            Since money is no object, stay at the Hotel Roanoke, a historic railroad hotel (now managed by Doubletree/Hilton) and have breakfast there, and avoid any parking issues.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Tony M.
              alkonost Sep 4, 2012 06:01 AM

              Thanks for the info on Blue Apron and Hotel Roanoke! There's a slight chance we might stop by Roanoke for dinner only, if we feel like we have some more driving in us after that we might see if we can reach the Tennessee border. If not, I'll look into the Hotel Roanoke :)

            2. f
              ForFoodsSake Sep 5, 2012 05:33 PM

              It's been about a year since I've been back, but I've eaten at a few of the places on your list.

              Local Roots was overall very good. If memory serves, I had some sort of cauliflower soup (I really liked it), chicken 3 ways (liked 2 of the preparations but not the third, just a personal preference on my part, not bad prep on theirs) and a creme brulee (not very memorable). Very friendly service, cute little restaurant.

              Thelma's Chicken and Waffles is a good, stick to your ribs, Southern style breakfast. It's very no-frills, nothing fancy, but just good basic food. It was slammed the day we were there (there was a parade downtown), so service was very slow, but very polite.

              I've only been to the Famous Anthony's in Blacksburg, but I'd hazard a guess that the Roanoke one is about the same. I used to like breakfast there, but it is more of a greasy spoon type location.

              Blue Collar Joes is closed :(

              Not that you need to add to your list, but my college roommate who lives in Roanoke always recommends Frankie Rowland's Steakhouse to people for dinner.

              I would second the recommendation for Hotel Roanoke. I can't remember when the farmer's market dies down for the year, but on weekends with good weather there are some great farmer's stands in the downtown area.

              1. Tehama Jul 29, 2013 05:01 AM

                Hi hounds!

                We had the most scrumptious chicken and waffles of my life at Thelma's Sunday (as well as a very nice bloody mary). The skin on the chicken was perfectly crisp and tastily seasoned. I might drive 3 1/2 hours next Sunday for the fried chicken alone.

                We had dinner at Lucky on Saturday night. I had a "handsome devil" cocktail that was some delightful concoction of muddled lavender and hibiscus with bourbon. Yum!

                Next we had a bacon-blueberry salad and a Ceasar. The bacon-blueberry salad was divine, with generous portions of bacon and blue cheese. We split the duck quarter and it was perfectly prepared. It came with what was termed "risotto," but that was a misnomer to be nice. It was more of like seasoned rice, but definitely *not* risotto.

                Lucky had a hip vibe, with red walls and ceilings. The concrete floors and high ceilings did not do anything to help the noise level, which I found too loud for my tastes. However, the food was good++, the waitress super friendly and engaging, and a chic ambiance which led me to enjoy the evening.

                Price wise - the cocktail was $9, the salads $5 and $6 respectively, and the duck was $21 I think

                 
                1. w
                  Worldwide Diner Dec 28, 2013 05:06 AM

                  Had lunch at Blue Apron yesterday. Excellent duck confit, seared hamachi, and I also had an arugula salad. Love the half portions so I can try more food. This would be an excellent restaurant in any city, only cheaper.

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