The title says it all. If you’re ever traveling along Hwy 220/I-81 near downtown Roanoke, boy do I have a stop for you. It’s not Roanoke that is Lucky (see the comma?). Well, maybe Roanoke is. Foodies, I implore you to resist that ever-compelling urge to get off at the MALL exit where all the chains sit shining so brightly. Take an exit early (if headed North) or a later (if headed South to NC) and drive straight into downtown Roanoke. I promise, you’ll feel so LUCKY you did.
I’m happy to announce that the kidlets are finally old enough to be (somewhat) trusted to stop at a place other than fast food while traveling up and down Hwy 220/I-81, which, if you’ve ever traveled it, know is quite the lengthy experience from NC to PA. Although the landscape in central VA is OMG—gorgeous and a nice distraction from the 4-year-old hollering “Silo!”….”Tractor!”….”Silo!”
Recently the Mr. and I were DETERMINED to stop and eat at a local ‘Noke establishment. Mr. foodie had drinks on business before but didn’t get to try the food, which he’d heard was amazing. So I was definitely game. It’s a relatively small pub-like eatery with great booths across from the bar. It’s not loud and you can tell by the patrons that they are regulars and they come to the place for the grub and of course the drinks. Pretty cool retro decor too.
We got a cocktail to get us started. Yes, we were traveling..with kidlets…and deserved a cocktail. They were mighty fine.
I ordered the Roasted Rappanhannock River Oysters..kind of like Rockefeller but with kale, shallots, in addition to the bacon and parm. Yummy!
Then we ordered a Blueberry & Bacon Salad with a blueberry vinaigrette and these amazing chunks of bacon. You can get a lot of bacon at Lucky.
There’s not much of a kidlet menu. They do accommodate as best they can but our server, Todd, says they’d probably love the Buttermilk Fried Chicken and uh-huh, yes they did. And so did we. Those kids even liked and ATE the “Lex and Ruby” Mash Gravy and house bacon. More Bacon! And what a neat idea placing the MASH on the gravy then the chicken on top of all. Gives me ideas!
Mr. foodie and I ordered the Mussel Bowl to share with the awesome White Wine Pernod and fresh herbs and the perfect bread for dipping. Which kept getting stolen by kidlets. And Todd brought us a steaming bowl of kale which should’ve come with the chicken but we ordered fries instead because we thought they wouldn’t eat the Mash, which they did. And the fries too. With delicious house-made ketchup.
That kale kicked some but. I did a version of it later in the week. It was like collards with all that bacon-y goodness. Mmmm! You do cook your collards with bacon, don’t you?!
And then Todd said the D-word. And since we ate light (lol) we said, “Sure!” to the bread pudding, which Todd lovingly referred to as “his jam,” because it was so delicious and he was so right. And the thing is, it wasn’t a real rich or heavy bread pudding at all. It was a beautiful airy Butter Pecan Bread Pudding with praline sauce.
Lucky promotes and lists all the farms from where they source their ingredients. Their website is stocked full of local farms. You know how much I LOVE that. They try to be as eco-friendly as possible. Check out the repurposed “check holder” on an old 45.
We even got to meet Chef Jeff Farmer, doing his thing…
And owner, Hunter Johnson…who was serving up drinks and being a gracious host, bar keep, manager…you name it. On his biz card it says he’s Bartender first, then says he’s the owner. Humble :).
So, now you have a reason to stop in Roanoke. I don’t know why you wouldn’t anyway since it’s such a charming city. It has a growing number of locally-owned restaurants that deserve the traveling public’s business. But you’ll consider yourself lucky by eating at Lucky.
18 Kirk Avenue SW, Roanoke, VA