Elderberry’s, voted Platinum for both smoothies and milkshakes by Roanoker magazine, busies blenders with fresh and healthy ingredients to create its award-winning beverages, and a crisp collection of wraps, salads, and soups silences audible appetites. The menu of suave solutions showcases juices joined in flavorful matrimony, such as the Elderberry, a fruity fusion of raspberry and cranberry juices, strawberries, elderberries, and orange sherbet ($4.59); the raspberry-packed Really Raspberry ($4.59); or the Not Actually Raspberry, a handful of red paint balls mixed with a pair of Faberge eggs. Desserty drinks implant pep in energy-deficient steps with the coffee-based Perkilator ($4.89), or swaddle exposed sweet teeth in silky sips of the Chocolate Peanutter ($4.89).
The first thing most people notice about Salem House Restaurant is its structure: the eatery is literally a house. The exterior of the sprawling two-story space goes hand-in-hand with its homey environs and offerings inside. Diners can dig into home-cooked meals that could double for a Thanksgiving dinner. Served family-style, the all-you-can-eat meals include mashed potatoes, meat loaf, and macaroni and cheese plus desserts such as banana pudding and cobbler.
Nanjing Chinese Restaurant’s chefs can make more than 100 different Chinese dishes—easily grouped on the menu by such categories as poultry, seafood, fried rice, and soup. Nearly 20 dishes top the chef’s suggested list, and include deep-fried chicken dunked in a sesame sauce, mongolian beef, and a pineapple-and-shrimp pairing.
The grill gurus at Smoqin’ Odie’s Grill and Smokehouse sizzle up a lunch and dinner menu burgeoning with burgers, pulled pork, and steak. Sauces ranging from spicy jamaican jerk to tangy chipotle lime outfit slow-cooked wings ($3.99 for 6; $7.49 for 12) more tastily than miniature leather vests. The friendly staff whisks entrees to tables such as the Smoqin’ Odie’s Big Burger, whose char-grilled half-pound patty day dreams on a fluffy 5-inch Kaiser bun ($4.49), or the Smokehouse chili, which is loaded with smoked brisket simmered with ground beef and chilies ($2.99/cup; $4.29/bowl). Mouths water at the aroma of hickory-smoked Boston butt in a pulled-pork sandwich ($4.49 regular; $6.99 jumbo), and hands comfort provolone as it faints onto the savory brisket tucked into a hefty hoagie bun ($7.99).
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.