Each night at Jimmy’s on the James, Jim Dudley flits from his kitchen labors to croon jazz standards in the dining room from behind a grand piano. Prior to performing, the culinary connoisseur toils over his from-scratch jerk rub upwards of four hours, infusing the savory elixir with oranges and onions. Along with his culinary showmanship, Dudley’s piano-side manner has earned the restaurateur praise in Lynchburg Living, with a flattering profile in which Jimmy says, "I like things that I call 'funkified.'" He also cops to punctuating the dining experience with visual panache. Large, black-and-white caricatures of American entertainers hearken back to the Roaring Twenties, when nearly every American household contained a four-piece jazz band.
The chefs at Bull Branch marry local and international ingredients in a menu of salads, shareable tapas, and entrees that strikes a balance between succinct and eclectic. Served in a intimately lit Bohemian setting that The Washington Post describes as "that perfect blend of casual and sophisticated, elegant and honky-tonk," dishes such as hummus, curries, and pulled pork harness the flavors of the Mediterranean and Middle East, Southeast Asia, and down-home America. Occasional live music in the evenings complements the pan-continental cuisine, as does a serving staff of UN delegates who, upon request, sprinkle borders of salt and pepper to delineate your entree and sides.
The 16-year-old Magnolia Foods purveys specialty gourmet groceries and freshly baked goods, curating a fine selection of European chocolates, imported cheeses, and fresh sandwiches. Baked goods such as cappuccino brownies and lemon squares seduce tummies without the use of lard or shortening, and trays of bite-size appetizers prevent a party's ravenous guests from attempting to nibble on silverware, plastic fruit, or plastic caviar. Local artwork hangs proudly from the walls as guests meander through the eclectic array of kitchenware, and the scents of bubbling gourmet soups and special-occasion cakes pleasantly waft through olfactory apparatuses.
If the round, pastel-colored tables at Lynchburg’s Sundae Grill could speak, they might regale listeners with stories of their earlier life, spent at a Disney World café frequented by the park’s most animated characters. Given the same chance, the pink and baby-blue booths would not speak but rather sing; though they now host a continual stream of diners come to sample the restaurant’s famous burgers and sundaes, they once belonged to pop sensation Celine Dion. With more than 101 choices of ice cream and desserts—including a staggering 56 sundae options—Sundae Grill lives up to and continues to build on the legacies of its own furnishings. Though the diner’s marinated, seasoned, and charbroiled burgers have won local awards throughout the years, owners BH and Mrs. K insist on rounding out their menu with recipes culled from across America—BH personally traveled the country looking for the most interesting hot-dog recipes from each region. This same dedication to variety informs Mrs. K’s lengthy list of so-called super sundaes. Local favorites include a caramel-pecan combination topped with whipped cream and a Death by Chocolate selection served with a napkin that doubles as a last will and testament.
Outside of swimming laps in chocolate syrup, smoothies at Smoothie King are the tastiest way to improve your health. Smoothie King smoothies combine fresh fruit, natural juices, and special nutritional enhancers into more than 90 flavors (you can customize, add, and subtract the extras), all of which focus on achieving one of seven nutritional goals. Try an antioxidant-rich Pomegranate Punch with pomegranate, bananas, blueberries, apple juice, soy protein, and Turbinado sweetener to stay healthy. Weight-conscious en-smuthiasts can trim down and float away with the Celestial Cherry High, packed with bananas, black cherry, papaya, Turbinado, and honey, and unpacked with fat. You can also customize any smoothie by adding enhancers or “make it skinny” by cutting out the honey and Turbinado.