Southern Road Trip: Richmond to Roanoke


Photo courtesy of David Rohrer

1. WPA BAKERY cakes for days

Grab a window seat at this bakery housed in a turn-of-the-century building in the heart of Church Hill North Historic District, and dig into your favorite dessert. A slice of their Elvis cake (banana cake with peanut butter icing) always hits the spot, but don’t skip their signature canelés—caramelized crêpe batter rolled into snack-sized tubes of goodness. TRY: Elvis Cake, Canalés

Photo courtesy of Cameron Charles Lewis

2. EARLY BIRD BISCUIT CO. & BAKERY blissfully buttery biscuits

At Early Bird, you’ll find their standard biscuit is a masterpiece and their ever-changing daily flavor is a creative twist on the expected flaky buttermilk biscuit. TRY: Flaky Buttermilk Biscuit with Jam, Biscuit with Pimiento Cheese and Bacon, Housemade Pop-Tarts

Photo courtesy of Steven Baker

3. THE ROOSEVELT a new take on Southern

The Roosevelt celebrates traditional Southern dishes and expected flavors, adding contemporary twists to bring them into the present. Their pimiento cheese snack comes served with pork rinds, and the pork chop is served with a fennel and nectarine salad with poblano vinaigrette. TRY: Pimiento Cheese with Ranch Pork Rinds, Smoked Chicken Wings, Berkshire Pork Chop au Poivre

4. SHAGBARK tastes of Virginia

Take a bite of any dish Shagbark serves, and you’ll find yourself transported to a different region of Virginia. The cider-braised pork belly takes you to the Shenandoah Valley, while the clam chowder puts you on the Eastern Shore. TRY: Shagbark Charcuterie Plate, Oysters on the Half Shell



5. C&O RESTAURANT superb seasonal fare

The perfect spot for a casual yet refined dinner, C&O greets diners with six cozy rooms boasting exposed brick and rustic beams and a menu that sings the praises of what’s fresh, best, and local. TRY: Rag Mountain Trout, Tender Duck Breast, Berkshire Pork Chop

Photo courtesy of Larry Bleiberg

6. BODO’S BAGELS breakfast for a few bucks

Pop in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and you’ll find bagels fresh from the oven just waiting to be split, toasted, topped and served—and a line of hungry patrons waiting for theirs. TRY: Egg Bagel with Sausage and a Sunny Side Egg, Everything Bagel with Lox


All other fried chicken wants to be what they serve at Wayside—succulent, juicy, and crispy with touch of salt and a hint of pepper. A two-piece meal of dark and white meat with sides like collards, potatoes and gravy, and mac and cheese makes the ideal Southern supper. TRY: Fried Chicken, Fresh Chicken Tenders



8. TEXAS TAVERN a Roanoke classic

With only 10 seats and a tiny menu to match, Texas Tavern serves burgers, chile, and egg sandwiches 24 hours a day just like they have—without closing—since 1930. Learn the lingo and order in shorthand: “bowl”—chile; “cheesy”—the Cheesy Western, a cheeseburger with sweet relish, pickles, and a fried egg; add “with” and you’ll get diced onions on anything. TRY: Chile With, Cheesy Western With

Photo courtesy of John Park

9. SCRATCH BISCUIT CO. not your mama’s biscuits

The breakfast sandwiches at this joint are the stuff of Southern dreams, filled with everything from country ham and pimiento cheese, fried green tomatoes, and bacon, to brisket, country fried sausage, and pulled pork. TRY: Bless Your Heart, Nashville Hot Chicken Biscuit, The Cowboy Crippler

10. LOCAL ROOTS community table

Just steps away from Roanoke’s historic Grandin Theatre, Local Roots sets its own stage to celebrate the best farmers and makers in the area. The freshest local produce and meats shine on the menu, making each dish at this eatery a symphony of seasonal flavor. TRY: Ancient White Park Burger, Anson Mills Farro Verde

11. FORK IN THE MARKET comfort food with a twist

With rock and roll on the radio and a kitchen that dishes out burgers and hot dogs, wood-fired pizzas, and back-to-your-childhood desserts, it’s no wonder this place is popular. Pizzas can come topped with mac and cheese and bacon, and dogs range from the D.C. Dog (a chili-loaded half-smoke) to the All American Dog (ketchup, mustard, onions, and chili). TRY: All American Dog, Mac Daddy Pizza, Brick Oven S’More

Make sure your itinerary includes a stop at Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, located just outside Charlottesville.

12. THE RIVER & RAIL RESTAURANT field to fork

Farm-focused River & Rail takes their lead from the farmers, anglers, and ranchers that supply them, changing the menu daily. From the collard kimchi to smoked fingerling potatoes to seafood that was swimming yesterday, the kitchen does right by their Southern roots and local suppliers. TRY: Skillet Fired Cornbread, Oysters on the Half, R&R Salumi Board, Heritage Farms Pork Ribs, Carolina Catfish

13. LUCKY French-Southern fusion

In 2010, Lucky opened their doors with an inventive cocktail menu and a kitchen dedicated to reframing Southern classics. The menu reads like your stately Southern grandmother met your French in-laws at the dinner table. Dishes like roasted oysters and country-style terrine, plus standards like fried chicken and braised pork, make this menu one to explore. TRY: Boiled Virginia Peanuts, Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Pork Shoulder

Where to Stay


The grandest hotel in Richmond opened in 1895 and has hosted 13 American presidents. Celebrities from Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald to Elvis have stayed here, and some believe the sweeping staircase was the model for the iconic set piece from Gone With The Wind.

Photo courtesy of Jason Frye


Built in 1882 to serve Norfolk & Western Railroad executives and passengers, the hotel has grown alongside Roanoke. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it has swelled from fewer than three dozen rooms to more than 300. A two-minute walk into the heart of downtown makes it a central and elegant place to stay.


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