Part restaurant, part music venue, The Otter House entertains mouths with selections from a menu of homestyle favorites while engaging ears with regular performances by live bands and DJs. Conquer big appetites with all-natural, hormone-free hamburgers, including the Dirty variation ($8.95) dusted with a layer of house chili, cheddar cheese, and onion. Open-faced sloppy-joe sandwiches ($8.95) recall the glory days of the lunchroom but add grilled ciabatta and cream queso sauce to create tastier memories. Seven kinds of pizzas ($7.95–$9.95) bake up on bubbly crusts, from barbecue shrimp to crab. The Otter House's famous mac 'n' cheese ($5.95) combines noodles with dairy more appealingly than does a swimming pool full of milk and thin foam flotation devices.
FOODĒ co-founder Beth Black and executive chef/owner Joy Crump please palates and the planet with their seasonal menu, full of locally sourced spins on classic American fare. Wake up taste buds without licking ice cubes thanks to the house doughnuts—freshly dropped dough served Tuesday–Saturday until 11 a.m., and dusted with cinnamon and sugar ($2), or put standard notions of french fries to sleep with the FOODĒ fries—hand-cut potato products flanked by lemon-herb aioli, mixed-cracked-peppercorn aioli, and spicy chipotle ketchup ($4). The grilled cheese for "big kids" serves up a healthy dose of nostalgia lounging on a bed of local cheeses, arugula pistou, and herb-buttered bread ($8), and the house-made single pizza warms hearts and digestive tracts with a pieful of organic Berkshire pork sausage and parmesan crust ($7). FOODĒ rosters child-approved selections such as the all-natural hot dog ($5), which can be capped off by snuggling Miss Susan's chocolate chunk cookies next to a glass of milk ($4.50) and a solar-powered electric blanket.
Kybecca Wine Bar & Shop, a slow-food restaurant set within a converted 1860s general store, freshens up palates with a gourmet menu of small plates and entrees crafted from locally grown ingredients. Parties start the gustatory revelry with a cheese platter, festooned with three or four artisan offerings such as Cherry Glen chipotle chevre and fromage d’affinois brie. Guests pass around tapas-style bites of pistachio-pesto gnocchi or four bison blue-cheese sliders made from humanely raised meat. Spend quality time with full-plate entrees, including the brace of lamb ribs accompanied by pesto gnocchi and roasted tomatoes, or the truffle-buttered beef tenderloin, which rests like a spectacularly successful and eccentric truffle trader on a bed of wild-mushroom risotto.
Nestled amid the rustic buildings and specialty shops of the historic town of Fredericksburg, Tea Tyme & What Nots’ classic tea parlor fits right in. Soft lanterns illuminate deep red walls and couples chat over trays of cucumber sandwiches and ornamental cups of tea. Old-fashioned pots simmer with brews from the parlor’s more than 100 different black, green, and herbal varieties, sending the aroma of fragrant spices, tangy fruits, and crisp mint into the air. Teas pair with multi-tiered platters of housemade pastries, savory sandwiches, and wholesome salads upon antique wooden tabletops.
Within the parlor’s onsite shop, shelves glimmer with elegant costume jewelry and jars of loose-leaf teas. Throughout the year, the tearoom plays host to special events, from children’s tea parties to the lumberjacks’ bimonthly book club.
The culinary crew at The Sunken Well Tavern slings savory quesadillas, brimming burgers, and customizable sandwiches from a versatile, eclectic menu. Incisors can dive into a Maryland crab-cake sandwich ($10), heaped with real crabmeat and unencumbered by fillers or bulky shoulder pads. Stretch a gooey slice from a singular selection of quesadillas, including barbecue shrimp ($9) or grilled steak ($10), which seals New York strip steak into a snuggly sleeping bag of cheddar and provolone. Hefty burgers ($7+) and crisp salads ($9+) round off the Sunken Well's robust menu, granting hands and silverware equal dining rights as jukebox tunes or live music swell throughout the venue.
Named for the owners' hometown in Turkey, Smyrna Mediterranean Cuisine serves up a bill of fare brimming with healthy, home-cooked eats from the Near East. The menu is nearly three-quarters vegetarian and half vegan, allowing herbivores to craft meat-free paper airplanes. Handmade meals of red-lentil fingers ($5.95) poke at hunger pangs with a mélange of bulgur wheat and spices, and a turkish cheese roll ($8.95) lovingly wraps a center of creamy cheese in an embrace of handmade dough and tomato sauce. Most dishes, such as the hearty Turkish Breakfast— sucuk sausage and hot tea ($10.95)—or the feta-stuffed spanakopita ($6.95), claim their full-flavored heritage from imported products, emigrated from distant Mediterranean shores to preserve the taste of jetlag.