Tag Archives: Southern

Beyond The Triad—Lucky, Roanoke


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.

The well-stocked bar

We got a cocktail to get us started. Yes, we were traveling..with kidlets…and deserved a cocktail. They were mighty fine.

IMG_4947 IMG_4946

I ordered the Roasted Rappanhannock River Oysters..kind of like Rockefeller but with kale, shallots, in addition to the bacon and parm. Yummy!

Roasted Oysters

Roasted Oysters

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.

Blueberry & Bacon Salad

Blueberry & Bacon Salad

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!

Fried Chicken & Mash

Fried Chicken & Mash

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.

Mussel Bowl

Mussel Bowl


Kale—see it steaming??

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.

Image 1

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…

Chef Jeff Farmer

Chef Jeff Farmer

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 :).

Bartender, Owner Hunter Johnson

Bartender, Owner Hunter Johnson

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


Lucky on Urbanspoon


Southern Roots

This Southern girl sure loves true Southern cooking. There are plenty of restaurants that offer entrees that are Southern inspired but not many mid-to-upscale that specialize in it. One of the few is Southern Roots. As Southern as their name and with a touch of refinement. A glance at their menu will tell you why this lovely little Jamestown restaurant is so popular.

Southern Roots is tucked neatly off Main Street in downtown J-town. They used to be in the JH Adams Inn in High Point but moved several years ago to a place that is, as owner Lisa Hawley describes it, so much more  “them.” It’s a cozy, yet open restaurant with a truly awesome patio complete with fireplaces and heaters (and blankies) for those chilly nights or fans for the summer. When live music is playing on the patio, you might not want to leave.


Bar at Southern Roots


The patio


We were there on a day that Chef Wes Patterson was teasing us with his butt. His smoked butt that was still smoking outside and NOBODY could have it for lunch which was terrible because it smelled so heavenly.


The butt that was “smoking”—a few flames here due to high winds that day. Wes kept the lid closed 🙂

Alas, different Southern fare would be our lunch on this day. What to choose? A shrimp BLT with fried green tomato? Wedge salad? Meat loaf? Pimento cheese? Okra pizza? Southern baby!  There’s a whole slew of pizzas, salads, sandwiches and appetizers to choose from.

My mom-in-law chose the Thai style shrimp (not so Southern) and a side of their famous sautéed okra. This okra is literally sautéed in some olive oil and salt and pepper and it is divine. I get it every time I’m there. Her shrimp were plump and sweet and spicy, but not too much so. She also added the sweet potato fries for the table. By the way, Southern Roots might be one of her top places to eat in the Triad.

Thai shrimp, okra, sweet potato fries

Thai shrimp, okra, sweet potato fries

Her friend got the Beef Tenderloin. She was quiet about the sandwich. I trust she liked it since she said it was “pretty good.”  I try not to question people too much….they may not be as into food as I am ;).


After thinking it over I decided to order the fried cajun catfish, which came with 2 sides. I got, yes, the okra and a side of eggplant fries. Sounded good and they were! They were reminiscent of onion rings but with a little heartier texture inside. The catfish did not disappoint with its lime caper tarter sauce. It had a light crusty exterior and the inside was delicious and juicy.


Cajun Catfish

Kidlets shared some chicken tenders and mac & cheese. They were fab. And eaten so that’s saying something.


I’d been wanting to go back to Southern Roots since I started my blog but something always got in the way of my plans. I was especially excited to go back since meeting Chef Wes Patterson in Competition Dining’s Fire In The Triad and experiencing his awesome dishes in Rounds 1 and 2. I’d still love to see him do a bluefish and beer BLT like he did in the quarterfinals. Awesome!

Chef Wes Patterson

Chef Wes Patterson

You definitely should check out Southern Roots if you haven’t had the chance. They also do catering and you can find prepared foods in their large refrigerator case at their entry. They take reservations for lunch but NOT for dinner, so sit down at the bar and enjoy a beverage while you wait. Enjoy the music too. And get your Southern on!

Southern Roots Incorporated on Urbanspoon