Sicilian and New York-style pizzas—topped with a choice of more than 15 toppings such as sausage, bacon, and pineapple—headline the culinary show at Frank’s Place, but chefs complement the Italian staples with other food from around the globe. Beyond calzones and baked ziti, the kitchen team prepares tortillas, rice dishes, burgers, and hot dogs. It’s not just their Mexican, Italian, and American foods that draw in visitors; the casual, family-friendly neighborhood eatery proffers a big-screen TV, a pool table, and arcade games—entertainment more reliable than teaching a hen and her chicks not to put their wings on the table.
Serving fresh and speedy pizza across America since 1959, Little Caesar's has grown into a huge, international carryout phenomenon. The menu features pizzas with dough built from scratch that are made to order ($5.99 for a large one-topping). Toppings range from classic pepperoni and sausage to Canadian bacon and pineapple. Return as the conquering hero of your family and save your twins the trouble of hunting down bipedal mastodons by picking up one of Little Caesar's Hot-n-Ready pies ($5.99). Hot-n-Ready pizzas are available in pepperoni or cheese, and can be picked up any time without the need to order ahead. Fans of three-dimensional eats can try the Italian cheese bread combo ($4.99 including sauce) or chicken wings ($4.99) with a variety of sauces.
Though it occupies the space once inhabited by an early 20th-century Gulf station, Carol's Place Restaurant dispenses a different kind of fuel, keeping bodies running with home-cooked country favorites served in a homey diner atmosphere. Toast and biscuits form tasty sidecars to plates of eggs and bacon at breakfast, and suppers of juicy burgers, roast beef, and hearty deli sandwiches round out midday feasts. The friendly wait staff speedily refills glasses with refreshing iced tea while maintaining an air of charming homeyness through friendly conversation and weekly performances of Alice’s Restaurant. On the deck outside, a grill offers up a sizzling, smoky symphony of slow-cooked barbecue, as a panorama of verdant pastures unfold under the gaze of the distant Blue Ridge Mountains and their thick blanket of trees.
Starting at cascade falls, The Cedar Creek Trail weaves through the wilderness until it passes under a national landmark: the Natural Bridge. This towering overpass was formed when a cavern collapsed some millennia ago. More recently, it's said that a young George Washington surveyed the Natural Bridge site, leaving his initials and a lightning bolt carved into the bridge's wall. The Natural Bridge now stands as the centerpiece for a public park filled with hiking trails and educational attractions.
The chefs at Rivermont Pizza regularly take a creative bent with their wood-fired pies, such as The Hutcherson, which arranges caramelized onions, cheddar, granny-smith slices, and virginia country ham over a layer of red sauce. Upscale ingredients such as pancetta, cremini mushrooms, and goat cheese regularly top crusts, and hoagies hug fillings of locally made tofu, cherry peppers, or thinly shaved roast beef. Committed to local harvesting, the basement-level eatery plucks nearby ingredients whenever possible, and though its wood-burning oven only holds five pizzas at a time, guests are invited to pass the time listening to live local bands, participating in trivia contests, or playing tiddlywinks with the roasted sweet-potato medallions on the wilted-spinach salad.
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.