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.
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.
Staying true to the charming eatery’s moniker, Sunrise Cafe’s bright, yellow walls surround diners while they enjoy piping-hot cups of locally roasted brews and a rotating menu of decadent morning and afternoon eats. After perusing the chalkboard menus lining the eatery’s walls, patrons can order their pick-me-up of choice—such as an Almond Joy latte ($3.75) or Columbian coffee—to pair with a savory breakfast wrap of eggs, cheese, and homefries packed inside a flour tortilla ($7.49) instead of a pillow case. Sweet morning treats include a stack of french toast buried beneath a fluffy mound of whipped cream ($7.49) or a Sunrise belgian waffle dusted with fresh fruit ($7.49).
Dish's all-chef owners draw from pan-cultural cuisines to concoct mini meals for tasting, combining, and sharing. Just as nuclear fusion powers distant stars, the cross-continental fusion menu powers dreams of dinners from distant locales. Indulge Italian appetites with crab, asparagus, and fennel bruschetta ($14), or jet taste buds to Jamaica for jerk chicken and caramelized plantains topped with mango-ginger sauce ($8). Mexican zest manifests as littleneck clams steamed up with jalapeño, cilantro, and tomato and paired with hearty chorizo ($12), and plate-teleportation technology allows Thai-prepared beef with napa cabbage to skip over from Bangkok ($10).
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.
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.