Though nestled within a quiet stretch of trees that thickly border the shores of Smith Mountain Lake, Waller’s boisterously entertains its guests with live music, events, and an eclectic collection of eats. The menu starts out with a Mexican flair—quesadillas and nachos bulked up with BBQ chicken and pork—but quickly casts a wider net to include Angus chuck burgers and buffalo-chicken sandwiches. Boar’s Head meats insulate a selection of wraps from overzealous lake breezes, and French translations of italian paninis speak to palates through monte cristos sprinkled in confectioners sugar and croque-monsieurs blanketed with provolone.
Several nights a week, live entertainment thrills the crowd as they nosh in the dining room or out on the dockside patio. Former band frontman Brent Clineville emcees karaoke on Wednesdays, amateur musicians take the stage for open-mic night on Thursdays, and the weekends host a rotating selection of live bands.
At First & Sixth, inside the historic Patrick Henry building, chefs take a fusion approach to their food. Strip steaks, blackened catfish, and crab cakes are dressed up with southern flourishes such as cheese grits, tasso gravy, and collard greens. The chefs also design southern-style Dr. Pepper glazes for pork, bourbon marinades for steak, and a corn-liquor barbecue glaze for salmon.
Servers ferry these dishes to tables and booths nestled beside cream-colored walls hung with decorative branches. In the Penny Deux Lounge, patrons at the bar, a replica of the Patrick Henry Hotel front desk, sip cocktails while bobbing their heads to live music on weekends. Both the restaurant and the lounge take their names from local history: the restaurant gets its moniker from Patrick Henry, the first and sixth post-Colonial governor of Virginia. The lounge gets its name from Henry’s famous court case, the Two Penny Act, which stipulated that businesses must always give two pennies as change and never four ha’pennies.
A bubble slowly makes its way to the liquid’s surface, bursting as the hot air within escapes from the pot of soup. Near the stove, a brigade of cubed brownies cools on a rack awaiting its grand entrance into Cafe on Franklin’s dining area. The eatery’s kitchen bustles each day as chefs prepare meals for the lunch rush: wraps, specialty salads, and sandwiches that include a portobello burger and turkey Reuben. Cafe on Franklin also caters events with hot lunches and trays piled high with meat and cheese, like the bed of the princess who could famously feel a pea through 40 layers of cold cuts, thereby earning the right to open her own delicatessen.
Since 1986, Famous Anthony has built its reputation on classic American eats and warm, friendly service—a winning combination that inspired its expansion to nine popular locations across Virginia. Fast and fresh is the philosophy here, with each and every menu item made-to-order, from hearty breakfasts of country ham and eggs and biscuits and gravy, to gourmet wraps, fresh salads, burgers, and North Carolina-style barbecue. Also contributing to the homey atmosphere is the open kitchen window at each Famous Anthony's location, which lets visitors get a good look at all the hard work, hustle, and magic wooden spoons that go in to every meal.
Begun as a means to help young families save money, KidsDineFree.net lets kids aged 11 and younger eat for free at hundreds of participating restaurants across Virginia and South Florida. Each 90-day card works at participating local and chain restaurants and entitles the holder to one complimentary kids' meal with the purchase of a full-price adult entree. Families can use the cards an unlimited number of times for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but, like a studio-apartment playhouse, each card is only good for one child.