#LOVEstaunton

Category: Dining

Staunton’s Legen-Dairy Ice Cream Sweet Spots

Did you know that ice cream first came to the U.S. in the 1700s, but only members of high society could afford it? That vanilla is America’s favorite flavor? That the waffle cone was invented in 1904 at the St. Louis Fair? That it takes approximately 50 licks to finish a cone? July is National Ice Cream Month and Staunton has plenty of places to go to find your favorite flavor. Whether you like soft-serve, gelato, classic shakes and malts, or traditional scoops, we can help you find your Staunton-area sweet spot.

Wright’s Dairy Rite

Just look for the glowing neon sign! Generations of Stauntonians have been eating themselves happy at Wright’s Dairy Rite, which has been a Staunton mainstay since 1952. Not only can you sit in a retro booth and order your food with the built-in phone, you can also drive in and get classic curbside service. Originally a frozen custard store, Wright’s serves a full menu of burgers, subs, and sandwiches along with its frozen treats. The menu offers dipped cones, funnel cake fries, flurries, splits, milkshakes, malts, and drink freezes to cool off on a mighty hot day. To curb a raging sweet tooth, try a Wright’s Wheelie. This warm donut is mounded with ice cream, whipped cream, and your choice of topping. Keep an eye out for the next Wright’s Cruise-In antique car rally, returning September 5, 2021.

Kline’s Dairy Bar

The Staunton location of Kline’s Dairy Bar has made its ice cream fresh every morning since 1997. If you grew up in Staunton, you probably went to Kline’s after your big baseball win. Your best friend probably had a birthday party in the back room. This local chain has been in business since 1943, and that’s given it plenty of time to perfect its “continuous freeze” method of producing a soft, dense ice cream. Kline’s always makes vanilla and chocolate, but there are two different special flavors that change over on Wednesday. Check the sign, flavor card, or website each week for a rotation of can’t-miss flavors like banana and cake batter or local favorites like raspberry and lemon gingersnap in cones, cups, shakes, and sundaes. Kline’s in Staunton also offers Hog Wild BBQ, so you can get sweet or Carolina-style barbecue and burgers there, too. 

The Split Banana

Next time you’re in downtown Staunton, walk up to the window at The Split Banana and order the best part of your day. The Split Banana uses local grass-fed milk to create its award-winning gelato. At any given time, you can pick from 24 delectable and fresh-made flavors from a rotating lineup of more than 50. Choose traditional tastes or opt for something more adventurous like espresso biscotto, peanut butter and jelly, hazelnut, or cocoa ancho. Curious how gelato is different from ice cream? It uses more milk, making it lower in fat. But it’s also dense and creamy because it incorporates less air. Gelato tends to deliver intense flavors because it is served at a slightly higher temperature. A favorite of locals and tourists alike, The Split Banana stays open late, so night owls should stop in after dinner or a show. Can’t cram enough ice cream onto one cone? The Split Banana sells ice cream to go by the pint or quart.

Coming Soon: Crumbl

Crumbl is putting the finishing touches on its new downtown Staunton location. It’s set to open at the end of July. While Staunton’s newest bakery won’t necessarily specialize in ice cream, we couldn’t help but include Crumbl in this roundup because their rotating variety of cakes, cookies, cookie dough, brownies will include delicious and spectacular-looking ice cream cake!

Smiley’s Ice Cream at Mt. Crawford Creamery

Since a cow gives enough milk to produce two gallons of ice cream a day, the folks at Mt. Crawford Creamery have virtual ice cream machines on their hands! Onsite Smiley’s Ice Cream turns that milk into ice cream and that ice cream turns into smiles. Smiley’s is a bit of a drive from Staunton, but the slow-churned “front porch ice cream” and local ingredients like strawberries, peaches, and blueberries they serve is worth it. Smiley’s dips up 16 different flavors each day and shifts those flavors seasonally. Regular flavors include java chip, salted caramel chocolate chunk, black raspberry, and lime sorbet. Many options are gluten free. Order your ice cream at Smiley’s or plan ahead and buy online. Stay tuned: Smiley’s will soon be moving to a new, larger location in Bridgewater.

Sweet Creations at Valley Pike Farm Market

If you’re heading up to Harrisonburg, stop off at the Valley Pike Farm Market for a treat at Sweet Creations. You can order a cone, cup, or sundae made from fresh Homestead Creamery ice cream. It comes in chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and a rotating selection of specialty flavors.

Beat the Heat – Light Bites and Hidden Spots to Eat:

It’s officially summer and that means lots of time outside on pool decks and at picnic tables. But if the lure of fresh air and fireflies has given way to sunburn and sweat, probably the last thing you want to do is spread out a heavy meal in the sun. Here are some ideas for light bites and hidden spots to eat your meal out of the sun.

Light Bites

If you want to go out to eat, but the idea of a heavy meal gets you heated, try a light bite from one of these restaurants. Dine-in, eat outside during Shop and Dine Out in Downtown, or grab some takeout for your picnic adventure.

Raw Power 

Raw Power is the newest addition to Staunton’s culinary scene. It offers healthy eating in the form of fresh juices and smoothies as well as wraps and sandwiches. Patrons can eat inside or on the porch, or they can easily grab their orders to go. Offerings have fun and punchy names like Cool Hand Cuke and Refresh & So Clean, Clean. Raw Power is located a short walk from the Staunton Public Library’s Brenda L. Papke Memorial Sensory Garden, which would be a nice place to sit and enjoy your food.

Laughing Bird Pho

Laughing Bird Pho is a locally-owned Vietnamese noodle shop serving authentic pho, a popular street food in Vietnam. Pho is slow-simmered beef or vegetable broth poured over meat, noodles, and vegetables. Season the soup to your own tastes with garnishes like bean sprouts, peppers, and lime. Laughing Bird Pho also serves rice noodle salads and summer rolls as well as boba tea, which is a “fruity, foamy, tea-based drink served over chewy black tapioca pearls.” 

The Green Room

The Green Room is a hip gathering spot in Staunton run by Blackfriars Playhouse actors. Stop in for wine, craft beer, cider, specialty non alcoholic cocktails, and more. The Green Room also serves artisan snacks and light fare like loaded tots, charcuterie boards, and sandwiches. Visit for a quick drink before dinner, settle in and hang out with friends, or grab something to take home with you from the curated selection of beverages and board games for a fun “night out at home.” 

The 101 

The 101, aka “that bowl place” is a poke-bowl restaurant where diners can customize all parts of their meal from the grain to the protein to the sauce. Hawaiian poke-bowls traditionally contained raw fish, but this casual eatery offers chicken, beef, or vegan-friendly tofu options. You can also order gluten-free and allergy-safe items. Choose from a selection of pre-designed bowls like the Atlantic salmon salad. Thai shrimp and kimchi, or Southwestern chicken. You can also design your own bowl by mixing and matching all sorts of healthy and delicious ingredients. The 101’s corner location makes it a prime spot for watching the downtown bustle.

Cranberries Grocery & Eatery

Cranberries Grocery & Eatery is located in the heart of downtown and is a convenient way to grab a fresh bite for breakfast, lunch, or dinner that emphasizes vegetables, fruits, and organic grains. Breakfasts include favorites like waffles and fruit, house-made granola, breakfast burritos, and Southwest tofu scrambles. Lunch specialties are wraps and sandwiches made with chicken, turkey, beans, tempeh, veggies, and more. There are numerous options for vegetarians, vegans, and those who eat gluten-free diets. Cranberries also boasts gourmet coffee and a juice bar. Stock up on natural food items and remedies in the grocery.

Nu Beginning Farm the Store

Nu Beginning Farm the Store is focused on helping you enjoy delicious, clean, and healthy food in a convenient manner. The store sells organic and local produce, meats, dairy, baked goods and more, and allows pre-ordering and curbside pickups. Those looking for a quick bite should grab a pre-made meal to enjoy at home. People with limited time to cook who want to eat healthily can order custom-made meals. Schedule a consultation to discuss preferences and dietary needs – it’s like having a personal chef!

Chicano Boy Taco

Chicano Boy Taco is a Mexican-American taqueria that serves up handmade tacos and enormous mission-style burritos prepared on some of the best tortillas you’ve ever eaten. Order from the simple menu (burrito, taco, or burrito bowl, nachos, or salad) plus your choice of fillings (chicken, beef, pork, sweet potato and beans, chorizo, squash) and salsa at the counter. There’s also a kids’ menu that includes a quesadilla and ice cream from Kline’s. There’s seating inside or on the patio as well as plenty of beer (Mexican, craft, and “cheap”) to wash it all down. Chicano Boy is located just a short walk from downtown Beverley Street, but also offers ample parking.

Hidden Spaces

It’s sure nice to eat outside in the fresh air, but not if the sun blazes a hole through the back of your neck. Here are some of our favorite al fresco dining spaces that offer both shade and a bit of privacy.

R R Smith Center Garden

The R R Smith Center’s Mevluda Tahirovic Memorial Garden is a quiet and hidden space that displays plants like hostas and climbing hydrangeas, shade, and tables and chairs away from the bustle of downtown. Tucked between buildings, the urban space can be accessed from the Smith Center or Barrister’s Row. It’s open to the public during daylight hours.

Montgomery Hall Park

Montgomery Hall Park has acres and acres of places where you can spread a blanket. If you’re a parent, you’ll be pleased to discover picnic tables in the shade at the playground. There’s also a new covered picnic pavilion near the swimming pool. Even better is the Nature Ridge natural playground. Not only is the entire playground in shade, but there are two picnic tables and several benches for grownups to rest up while the kids wear themselves out. And while nearby Jones Garden isn’t exactly a picnic space, it’s a new community garden dedicated to area beautification, healthy eating, and affordable food, and is currently seeking volunteers. See the schedule for days the garden sells to the public.

Gypsy Hill Park

Gypsy Hill Park has plenty of picnic tables and most of them are easy to access from the 1.3-mile driving/walking loop. Shade lovers can find suitable spots to eat near both playgrounds, under the picnic pavilions, and in the softly wooded area around the bandstand. If you visit the bandstand in the evening during the week, you’ll probably get to hear live music.

JMD Farm Market and Garden Center 

Take a short drive into the countryside to visit JMD Farm Market and Garden Center. Not only can you take care of your gardening needs with annuals, perennials, vegetables, pottery, and more, you can also buy a glass of local wine and spread out for a snack while the kids play in the small natural play area.

Sears Hill Bridge 

The Sears Hill Bridge and Woodrow Park overlook downtown Staunton, which provides the perfect backdrop for lunchtime. 

STAR Trail at Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center

The STAR Trail at Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center is an accessible half-mile loop trail around a small lake. The trail itself is mostly flat with lots of shade and there’s a covered picnic area that overlooks the lake. The trail connects with the longer, paved shared-use Lifecore Trail that leads to Augusta Health.

Interested in additional picnic spots? Check out Eat Your Heart out at One of Staunton’s Best Picnic Spots.

New Staunton Flavor: Ciders From Mars

If you’re into exploring Staunton’s best flavors, make sure you stop in at the newly opened Ciders From Mars on Lewis Street in the historic Wharf District. Located in the former Black Dog Bikes space across the street from both Redbeard Brewing Company and the Ox-Eye Vineyards tasting room, the new cidery offers visitors a third tasting option.

Inside, the space is cool and modern, decorated with slick surfaces and a neutral color scheme. There are a lot of choices for seating with plenty of room to spread out: at the bar, at tables, in a more relaxed lounge area, or on the large outdoor patio that overlooks the Wharf. Visitors inside the taproom can look through a glass wall and actually see the cider being fermented. Visitors who choose to sit outside can enjoy the sun, the fresh air, and the bustle of downtown.

Valley natives and JMU grads Nikki West and Jeremy Wimpey own and run Ciders From Mars. West, a geochemist, learned cider distillation techniques from the Cider Institute of North America. The couple have planted their own orchard in Mount Solon, but the trees are not mature yet. Meanwhile, they use local apple varieties like gold rush, winesap, and other vintage and modern varieties from area orchards. The Ciders From Mars ciders tend to have low sugar content. Some get more flavors by co-fermenting with other fruits like peaches, pears, and cherries.

The cidery serves cider by 9 oz. drafts, bottles, or flights of four flavors in 100 ml pours, which they present in beaker-shaped glassware. 

Did You Know:

  • Hard cider is an old drink. People in England drank it in the 1600s (as well as beer and wine) because water wasn’t always clean enough to keep them from getting sick.
  • Cider is loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants from the apples.
  • It’s a great gluten-free alcoholic option for those who are intolerant. 
  • Hard cider is NOT the same thing as apple juice and it contains 4.5 to 10 percent alcohol by volume.
  • The length of time a cider ferments usually determines how sweet it will be. Ciders tend to lose sweetness and get drier as they age. They also gain more alcohol by volume.

Ciders From Mars is on Untappd. Check there to see what’s on tap and what your friends are drinking.

How Much Do You Love Her? Staunton Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

You might not have gotten to visit much with your mom this past year, but hopefully, you’re getting to spend some time with her this Mother’s Day. How will you show her how much you love her?  If you’re still looking for a last-minute gift, we have some Staunton-centered ideas for you.

Share an Experience with Mom

  • Sign Mom up for an art class or workshop at Beverley Street Studio School. Classes are held either in-person or virtually, and you can choose from a variety of topics for various levels of artist.
  • Do you and Mom bond over the silver screen? How about taking her to a movie at the Visulite Cinema? Sip beer or wine while you watch , and then head over to The Green Room to discuss the film over wine and snacks.
  • If you and Mom share a passion for finding treasures, consider taking her to Staunton Antique Center. This unique store has three levels of goodies, including original art from local artists. Compare your finds over coffee and French pastries at Réunion Bakery & Espresso.

  • Is Mom a little horse crazy? Get her back in the saddle with a guided trail ride through the Valley at Star B Stables. Take her for a day of fun and visit the horses at Stable Craft Brewing.

  • Looking for something a little different? Something a little freeing and meditative? How about a FREE Drumming workshop? DrumForFun Staunton is offering an introductory class for adult beginners on Saturday, May 8th at 1:00 pm.  

 

Flowers, Wine, Chocolate, and Jewelry

  • There’s a reason flowers, wine, chocolate, and jewelry are perennial favorites on Mother’s Day. Continue the tradition with a Mother’s Day bouquet from Rask Florist. You can order online from Honey Bee’s Florist and arrange to have flowers delivered. Brin’s Posy Floral creates vivid and artistic bouquets.
  • Treat Mom’s sweet tooth with an overflowing “platinum pail of chocolates” assortment from Cocoa Mill. Giancarlo Fine European Pastries also creates incredible chocolates (and much more) right here in Staunton. Consider signing Mom up for an upcoming pastry class. 

  • Have your personal message engraved on any piece of jewelry from H.L. Lang Jewelers. Or buy Mom a Staunton charm of a Queen City landmark like the clock tower or the watering can. Crown Jewelers carries a beautiful selection of both new and estate jewelry.

Take Mom out for Brunch

Staunton restaurants shine in the brunch department. Take Mom out for “inspired Southern cuisine” at Zynodoa (brunch served from 10-2). You’ll bond over American classics at The Depot Grille (brunch served from 11-2). Table 44 serves up inspired twists on your favorites as well as an unforgettable loaded bloody mary (brunch served from 11-2).

Buy Her Something Special

  • Spoil Mom with luxurious soaps, lotions, and all things that smell good from Redwood & Co. or Essentially Zen Artisan Body & Bath Co. Essentially Zen offers curated gift boxes and “zen boxes,” which are a curated collection of specialty soaps, house soaps, and bath bombs designed to fit an individual fragrance profile.

  • Give mom the star treatment at the new Spa at the Blackburn by treating her to a massage, skin treatment, manicure, or all three. You can also help Mom relax by surprising her with a massage at Mill Street Body & Soul Day Spa and Salon. Make her feel really special by giving her the gift of a boudoir photo session, which includes a hair and makeup team and professional photography. Dad will appreciate this gift, too! 

Hannah’s Favorite Gluten-Free Meals in Staunton

Whether you are allergic to wheat and its by-products, or simply just trying to avoid it, eating gluten-free at a restaurant can be tricky. Here is a guide to gluten-free eating in downtown Staunton and beyond from Staunton Downtown Development Association’s own, Hannah Adams.

Want a nice sandwich for lunch?

Pampered Palate has you covered! They have tons of gluten-free options using gluten-free bread. Their chips, fruit, and potatoes are all great gluten-free side options. Byers Street Bistro is another great option for sandwiches. My go-to is the club sandwich on gluten-free bread and it is delicious!

Looking for something more customizable?

The 101 has tons of create-your-own bowls and almost all of their ingredients are gluten-free. I recommend the curry chicken with lots of veggies and wasabi cream sauce on the side – yum! Laughing Bird Pho also has different ways to customize your pho. Their bowls come with rice noodles and broth that is naturally gluten-free so their food is a safe bet even if you have an allergy to wheat or gluten!

Craving a taco, burrito, or another type of Latin food?

Staunton has some great options. While this type of food is generally gluten-free, there are some things to watch out for. Chicano Boy Taco has yummy options including their salads and burrito bowls (but make sure to not get their tacos – their corn tortillas have a bit of wheat flour in them). Try their loaded potatoes and street corn; they are out of this world. Gloria’s Pupuseria also has great selections. Their pupusas are made with cornmeal, veggies, cheese, and meat (if you want it), and totally gluten-free! I personally love their “Loca” and their jalapeno and cheese. Not to be outdone, Baja Bean Co. also has tasty menu items. Just ask your server to swap their flour taco shells for corn shells, and they have many naturally gluten-free choices too! One of my favorites is the Chorizo Hash – crispy potatoes layered with chorizo, cheese, peppers, onions and topped with a runny fried egg. Can’t beat it!

Hungry for some comfort food?

Shenandoah Pizza offers most of their original creations on a gluten-free crust. As someone who is a pizza crust snob, I can safely say that Shenandoah’s crust is great! For meat lovers, I would recommend the Lee High or the Statler. For those that love veggies on their pizza, I would recommend the Swoope or the Shenanarts – both are super tasty! Wanting something more ethnic? Thai Staunton off Greenville Ave. has great gluten-free options. I personally get their gluten-free Drunken Noodles, but they can make many other dishes! I have heard that the Kra Pow Gai Sub is also delicious.

Looking for a date night spot?

If you are gluten-free, you know that steakhouses like Mill Street Grill and Depot Grille are an easy, safe and delicious bet. Most steak dishes are naturally gluten-free, and these restaurants also have great salad selections. Blu Point Seafood, one of Staunton’s newest restaurants, is also a great choice for couples looking for a fun night out. I get the Blackened Catfish and it is one of my favorite dishes in Staunton and be sure to try one of their handcrafted cocktails. Speaking of great food and drinks, Zynodoa has some tasty steak and chicken options that can be modified to be gluten-free. If you want a lighter fare with drinks, or want to head somewhere to enjoy an app or two before your main course, The Green Room has a divine charcuterie board and a great selection of wine and beer options to pair with it.

There are so many great restaurants in Staunton that it is impossible to list every gluten-free option at each one, so we won’t try. However, we urge visitors and Staunton-ites alike to call ahead and make sure the restaurant you are going to can accommodate you. In my experience, everyone is willing and able to work hard to make sure you can enjoy their delicious food! 


Meet Hannah

Hannah Adams is a Shenandoah Valley transplant after graduating from JMU in 2017. She grew up on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, but fell in love with the small-town charm of the mountains and decided to stay! Before her current role as the Marketing Manager for the Staunton Downtown Development Association, Hannah worked at other Staunton non-profits, such as Blue Ridge CASA for Children and the Valley Mission. When she isn’t at work, she is most likely chasing her dog around her yard or taking pictures for her wedding photography clients.

Comfort Food

Swimsuit season is still ages from now, so why not drown your winter blues in meat, or pasta, or cheese, or pizza, or a combination of all of the above? Or if you’re someone who takes comfort in more abstract terms, like “good for me,” or “tastes like home,” you’ll find that, too. While tastes in comfort food may differ, Staunton has something to comfort every taste.

You’re Craving Soup

When soup is what calls to warm your belly and soul, stop by Snapdragon Pho and enjoy a nutritious bowl of broth and noodles seasoned and adorned with your favorite add ons. It’s also soup season at Stable Craft Brewery, so if you’re in the mood for a beautiful drive through the countryside, plan to enjoy soup, a sandwich, and a pint.

You’re Jonesing for Meat

Located in Staunton’s old train depot, The Depot Grille serves all kinds of comfort food (including seafood, steak, sandwiches, and pasta). A steak sizzler on potatoes is a stand-out menu item. Another good bet from their specials menu is a grilled-to-order, hand-cut, prime New York strip served with peppercorn brandy cream sauce. If you’re more of a chicken aficionado, make room for the chicken tender Parmesan, made with penne pasta topped with crispy chicken tenders doused in marinara, mozzarella, and Parmesan.

You Want Something Southern (and Kinda Fancy)

The Shack offers an ever-changing menu, but it is always locally sourced and inspired by the best kind of Southern cuisine. Recent offerings included grilled pork loin with fermented sweet potato grits, fried apples & minuna, and porcini and lardo gravy. They also serve one of the best burgers in the state!

Something Fried has Your Name on It

BLU Point Seafood has you covered with fresh fish and seafood battered and fried into golden deliciousness. Looking for something traditional? Their Fish n’ Chips features New England Haddock (served with fries and coleslaw), it’s fresh and tastes like something that should have a fancier name. Or if you’re looking to do some sampling, get a seafood basket served with your choice of fried shrimp, oysters, whole belly clams, bay scallops or haddock.

Mmmm. How About “Old Fashioned”?


Do you find comfort in tradition? In Americana? If so, Wright’s Dairy Rite is right up your alley and it’s a crowd pleaser. This burger joint dates back to the 1950s and you can either eat inside or have your food delivered to your car. Follow your classic burger and fries combo with something delicious from their ice cream menu. People come from all over to taste the banana shake! 

You’re carb loading 


In the mood for fresh pasta? Newtown Baking is known for their bread by day but in the evenings this popular breakfast spot turns into a pizzeria cranking out wood-fired pizzas and carb-craving pasta with specials every week. 

Want a deep plate of cheesy, chickeny deliciousness with a little bit of a kick to make it interesting? Try the Cajun Chicken Fettuccine at Mill Street Grill. Everything about this restaurant is comforting, from the cozy basement location, to the generous portions, to the three types of bread baked into a terracotta pot they give you at the beginning of your meal.

Take the family to Shenandoah Pizza for gourmet pizzas with local names like Sherwood Avenue and ShenanArts. Try the Virginia Vineyard sprinkled with red grapes, rosemary and gorgonzola. The interesting blend of toppings was featured in Forbes and is delicious we might add!

Hot Dogs: Staunton’s Top Dogs Are off the Leash

Craving a hot dog? Not just a staple of the kids’ menu, hot dogs spur feelings of nostalgia and please your taste buds. Here are some of the best local joints for a lip-smacking, mustard-slurping taste of summer.

Wright’s Dairy Rite

What better way to enjoy a hot dog than at a classic 1950s drive in? Wright’s Dairy Rite serves quality all-beef hot dogs, including foot-longs, and the ½ pound “Dogzilla.” Top your dog with sauerkraut, coleslaw, sweet relish, jalapenos, chopped or fried onions, yellow or brown mustard, and ketchup. If you stick around for dessert, you can choose a treat from Wright’s extensive ice cream and shake menu.

The Meating Place

If you’re planning to go camping or grill in your backyard, skip the supermarket hot dogs and drive a few miles out into the country to visit The Meating Place for the freshest meat around. The selection is local, and you can get ground meat, steaks, ribs and more along with your hot dogs. Grab a prepared hot dog to mess up your shirt on the drive back to Staunton.

Baseball Game

Hot dogs and baseball go hand in hand, and in Staunton, perhaps the most all-American spot for enjoying this treat is at Harry’s Burger Barn at a Staunton Braves game in Moxie Stadium. Kick back on the bleachers while gnoshing on this early summer tradition. And if you’re out for a stroll in Gypsy Hill Park during little league season, hit up the Kiwanis concession stand for another al fresco sample.

Peck’s BBQ

Peck’s BBQ might be best known for its catering services, but did you know you could go inside and have a meal, too? Serving barbeque, hot dogs, burgers, and sides, Peck’s is open for lunch or dinner Monday – Saturday.

Sam’s Hot Dog Stand

Get your delicious hot dog as a sit-down meal or to go from the drive-thru at Sam’s Hot Dog Stand in Verona. Convenient to those playing golf at the Ingleside Golf Club or on their way in or out of Staunton, this hot dog mecca serves all beef dogs and the appropriate sides like fries, onion rings, and macaroni salad.

Tastee Freeze

Don’t miss your chance to suck on a chili dog outside the Tastee Freeze! Tastee Freeze offers hamburgers, hot dogs (including the “tastee dog,” chili cheese dogs, and corn dogs), and chicken sandwiches. Since 1950, people have been enjoying these foods as a warm up for Tastee Freeze’s soft-serve delights.

 

More than a Movement: Staunton’s Farm to Table Restaurants

Staunton’s restaurant scene is lively and is often profiled on the pages of national magazines, not only for its chefs but also for its farmers. Amazingly, Staunton is currently home to three former chefs from the world-famous The Inn at Little Washington, all looking to make their mark on Staunton’s exploding culinary scene.

The Shack | 105 S Coalter St.

Chef Ian Boden’s, The Shack, was recently named “One of The South’s Best New Restaurants” by Southern Living magazine – and it has also graced the pages of a wide array of top-tier publications, from Esquire magazine to the Wall Street Journal. Boden brings a fresh new menu every day of the week based on whatever is fresh from local producers. Popular snacks for your five o’clock wind-down have included pimento cheese with benne biscuit crackers, and Sewansecott oysters on the half shell. The Shack is currently open for dinner service Thursday – Saturday with two seatings 5:00PM – 5:30PM and 7:30PM – 8:00pm as well as curbside pick-up. Check out the menu for takeout.


Zynodoa
 | 115 E Beverley St


Other restaurants and eateries winning praise from across the country include the upscale southern-cuisine of Zynodoa. This gem has risen to the top because of the constantly changing menu. Their seasonally-driven menu is crafted with quality ingredients primarily sourced from the Shenandoah Valley and Piedmont regions. Start your evening with a handcrafted cocktail or a glass of wine and and an order of the restaurant’s signature cornbread. Recently featured in the Los Angeles Times, the brûléed cast iron cornbread is served “piping hot,” with whipped honey butter and local Concord grape jam.

Nu-Beginning Farm Store | 221 N Lewis Street

Temporarily Closed
The Store
 is a down-to-earth grocery store and local café using ingredients sourced directly from their farm, Nu-Beginnings. Local producers are also listed on the chalkboard so that visitors know exactly where their meal is sourced. And don’t be fooled by the name or the façade. Nu-Beginning Farm Store (The Store) is a café locals and visitors love. Serving up three farm-to-table meals a day along with an assortment of scratch-made goodies like pound cake, scones, coconut macaroons and gluten free cheesecakes. While you wait for your meal, peruse the grocery area packed with jams, jellies, pickles and local spirits.

Mike Lund Food and Lundch | 835 Spring Hill Road

Serving ‘Lundch,’ weekdays only, the cozy storefront is just minutes from Beverley Street and is not to be missed. The ingenuity and think-outside-the-boxedness of Chef Mike Lund of Mike Lund Food & LunDch is evident in the ever-changing, flavorful menu. You never know what incredible dish he will whip up, like maybe giant fennel-spiced garbanzo balls with spaghetti squash covered in herb marinara and shaved parmesan? Offering veggie and gluten-free options and weekly specials with an emphasis on local, fresh ingredients.  Serving Family Style to-go Dinners 11 am-6 pm, Monday thru Thursday with Curbside and Delivery options. Cold meals are available from 11 am-6 pm and hot from 5 pm-6 pm. Please place orders online or call 540-649-4782 with any questions.

 

BLU Point Seafood Co. | 123 West Beverley Street

Inspired by coastal life in Virginia and Connecticut, BLU Point Seafood Co. serves the freshest sustainable seafood available. Start at the bar, where you’ll enjoy cocktails and a full selection of wine, beer, and cider, including many local offerings. Slide up to the raw bar for a treat like oysters or Virginia clams on the half shell. For your entree, consider the broiled wild salmon with baby kale and warm orzo salad or the fried captain’s platter with hush puppies, fries, and coleslaw.  Though BLU Point focuses on fresh seafood, it also serves pasta, pasture-raised meats and produce sourced here in the Valley.

The Staunton Ice Cream Scoop

July is ice cream month and Staunton is chock full of fantastic places to celebrate and sooth your sweet tooth. Whether you like soft-serve, gelato, classic malts, or traditional cones, here’s the scoop on Staunton-area frozen treat sweet spots.

Wright’s Dairy Rite

Wright’s Dairy Rite has been a Staunton mainstay since 1952, and you can still park your car in the glow of the retro neon sign and get curbside service. Originally serving only frozen custard, this slice of classic Americana expanded to include a full menu, but frozen treats remain a solid reason to visit. The menu offers flurries, splits, milkshakes, malts, and drink freezes to cool you off on the hottest days. For a true sugar rush, try a Wright’s Wheelie. This treat incorporates a warm donut loaded with ice cream, whipped cream, and a topping. If you’d like a helping of nostalgia with that, visit during one of the Cruise-In antique car rallies Wrights hosts twice a year.

Klines

Klines Dairy Bar has been serving ice cream since 1943 from its original Harrisonburg location. The Staunton site opened in 1997 and makes fresh ice cream each morning using the same “continuous freeze” production method. This creates a soft dessert that is packed with goodness instead of air. Chocolate and vanilla are always available, and each location produces a weekly special flavor (or two). Enjoy a rotation of can’t-miss options like banana and cake batter or local favorites like razberry and lemon gingersnap in cones, cups, shakes, and sundaes. Pick up a printed flavor card to keep in your car (or just drive by and check the signs). Klines in Staunton also offers Hog Wild BBQ, so you can eat sweet or Carolina-style barbecue and burgers before dessert. 

The Split Banana

Ever wonder how gelato differs from ice cream? Gelato contains more milk and less cream, making it lower in fat. But it’s also dense and creamy because it contains less air. And let’s talk taste: gelato lends itself to intense flavors and is served slightly warmer, so those flavors pop. Experience this for yourself at the The Split Banana, an adorable gelato and sorbet shop decorated with a traditional ice cream counter, a piano you’re invited to play, and old-timey black, white and green tile. The Split Banana serves 18 delectable and fresh-made flavors each day. Enjoy traditional flavors or more innovative and adventurous options like banana stracciatella, sticky rice, and peanut butter and jelly.  The Split Banana earned a TripAdvisor’s 2011 U.S-wide top ten ice cream/gelato spot. It is also a Virginia Living Magazine’s 2012 Best of Virginia pick. A favorite of locals and tourists alike, this shop stays open late, so stop in after dinner, a movie, or a play.

Mt.Crawford Creamery

You might be lucky enough to catch the Smiley’s Ice Cream truck at a local event, but if your craving for cones, shakes or sundaes must be fulfilled, it’s worth a drive to the Mt. Crawford Creamery to visit the new brick and mortar shop. Smiley’s Ice Cream specializes in “porch ice cream,” which is slowly churned to eliminate much of the air added to commercial ice creams. Check out regular flavors like coconut almond chocolate chunk and pina colada sorbet as well as weekly specials. The ice cream contains milk and cream produced onsite. Grab a gallon of milk and visit with the cows while you’re there! You can even order larger batches of ice cream online and pick them up at your convenience.

Food Truck Spotlight

Staunton’s food truck scene has exploded in recent years. Restaurants on wheels offer families relaxed and affordable dining opportunities; they also provide chefs a chance to be creative, and allow them to roll to their cuisine to events, breweries, and private functions. A far cry from fast food, Staunton’s food trucks bring exotic ingredients, gourmet creations, and convenience to the customers who crave them. Here are some local ways to connect with your moveable feast.

Food Truck Round-Up

When: June 23, 2018, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Where: Gypsy Hill Park

Ever have trouble aligning your day with the schedule of your favorite food truck? Here’s your chance to catch several standouts in one place. Enjoy great food as you relax and play in beautiful, family-friendly Gypsy Hill Park. This event offers live music and activities for the kids.

Subject to food truck availability, food and drink will be available for purchase from the following vendors:

Food Truck Battle and Beer Competition

When: September 2, 2018 11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Where: Augusta Expo

Every year the Food Truck Battle and Beer Competition gets bigger, and now, on its fourth anniversary, the event has moved into a new space at Augusta Expo. Eighteen food trucks and six breweries will compete in this award-winning festival, judged by both judges and visitors. And there’s more than just food: expect live bands to provide a rocking soundtrack while you shop for treasures at artisan, craft, and specialty vendor booths. Let the kids frolic in the large children’s area packed with entertainment and activities. The competition benefits the Madee Project, which provides support to pediatric cancer patients and their families.

Attendees can select their choice of ticket options:

  • A $10 general admission ticket (food and drink purchased separately)
  • A $25 beer-tasting general admission ticket (sample and vote for your favorite beers)
  • A $40 VIP ticket (taste food and vote for your favorites in the first round)

The lineup (at the time of this writing) includes:

Before you go:

  • This is a rain or shine event
  • Family friendly: children under six are free (no tastings included)
  • For tickets click here
  • You must bring your ID to purchase alcohol
  • Bring your blanket or lawn chair
  • Love capturing the moment? Share your photos with hashtag #VAFoodTruckBattle

Staunton breweries that host food trucks

Redbeard Brewing Company hosts food trucks several nights each week. Check the events calendar  or Facebook for upcoming visits by The Saucy Bird , Eats On the Streets, Sweet Baby Cheeses, Big Red BBQ, Holy Smokes BBQ, Gloria’s Papusuria, Firkin Pie Company, and more.

Every Friday night, Queen City Brewing features a local food truck from a rotating list including The Saucy Bird and Big Red BBQ.