Previous business owners and fellow church-goers Kathy and Jennifer decided to combine their experience and favorite recipes to create K & J’s Café. The joint serves a mixture of diner food and soul food, from all-beef hot dogs slathered in chili and onions to weeknight specials such as meatloaf or baked spaghetti. They also cater off-site events, trucking around steaming hot trays of signature meats, seasonal fruit displays, and homemade designer cupcakes.
At Double Apple, Mahmoud “Joe” Migdadi applies his culinary sensibilities to Mediterranean, Indian, and classic American dishes, crafting lamb with tzatziki sauce as well as dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets for kids. Nine types of shawarma, homemade chickpea hummus, and original smoothies stand out among the Mediterranean choices, which The Roanoke Times calls "flavorful" and "healthy." The dining room, which is divided into cozy compartments, surrounds guests with Middle Eastern décor that continues into the upper level's hookah café. There, a separate ventilation system filters smoke from hookahs loaded with fruit flavors such as grape mint and margarita, which are available with or without tobacco and wish-granting genies.
Energetic live music pulsates across the spacious quarters of Growler’s American Grill and Venue—once known as Awful Arthur’s Towers—as barkeeps fill mugs and growlers with local pale and brown ales, porters, and a slew of bottled favorites. Platefuls of hearty American and Southern favorites, from meatloaf sandwiches to fish 'n' chips, energize diners to take the stage for a round of karaoke, with the background music supplied by a DJ, live band, or brownnosing date.
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).
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At SoRo Chill & Grille, culinary wizards decorate plates with locally grown produce and Cajun-style meats and seafood, garnering it praise as one of Southwest Roanoke County's Best New Things in 2010 from the Roanoke Times' SWoCo. Quartets can overture dinner symphonies with appetizers of the 12-piece new orleans barbecue shrimp, which simmers in a traditional creole sauce meant to be sopped up with crusty french bread or unusually absorbent mustaches. Entrees such as the pasta Mardi Gras fill noodle-shaped voids in diners' stomachs with Cajun-cream-sauce-cosseted fettuccine adorned by crawfish, andouille sausage, and blackened chicken breast. The rib platter's half-rack of slow-cooked meat morsels saunters to the table with fries and a piquant barbecue sauce, spurring on twosomes to finger-paint plates with love letters to the chef.