24 Hours of Elevated Eats in the Valley

The Shack

the shack, staunton

3 Notch'd Brewing

three notch'd brewing harrisonburg

The Shenandoah Valley, crowned “The South’s New Foodie Hotspot” by Vogue, has become a refuge, even a sanctuary, for chefs who believe in a fundamental return to the land. With the area producing nearly a quarter of Virginia’s agricultural products, the Valley’s farm-to-table restaurants, well, they’re just called restaurants.

While there have been several recent round-ups, like this mouth-watering top 10 list from Culture Trip, there are simply a few that absolutely can-not-be-missed.

Day 1:

Food to Write Home About

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Photo Courtesy: The Shack - Sera Petras Photography

If you’re seeking destination dining, Staunton must be part of your pilgrimage. Hop in the car from Richmond or Charlottesville, book your train ticket from Washington, DC, or even check flights. However you get here, you’ll thank yourself for coming.

According to locals and visitors alike, two places in Staunton are on the must-dine list The Shack and Zynodoa

The Washington Post writes “The Shack’s Food is Sublime”. The Shack’s Chef Ian Boden, a two-time James Beard Award semifinalist, offers up a menu inspired by the food traditions of the South. Menus often rotate but can include items like heirloom tomato salad and grilled peaches, kale bucatini with brown butter poached NC shrimp, and beef short rib with Carolina gold rice grits. For dessert, top it off with Nutella pudding and sweet cornbread with whipped buttermilk.

The Shack serves up lunch and dinner. If you opt for lunch, your dinner dining destination should be none other than Zynodoa. This intimate restaurant aims to “know and respect our farm partners, by honoring their food and their labor.” Autumn Olive Farms Sorghum Glazed Pork or Polyface Farms Grilled Chicken Breast make the work of independent and local farmers more than worth it. The LA Times knows what to start your meal off with – the West Coat publication featured the art of making Zynodoa’s brûléed cast iron cornbread.

QUICK TIP

If you are in for the full retreat-yourself-experience, end your day by checking in to the Blackburn Inn, a boutique hotel situated on a sprawling 80 acres of well-manicured grounds, offering easy access to downtown Stuanton (5 minute drive). Don’t forget to try the pastries in the morning, baked fresh daily by Reunion, an acclaimed French-inspired bakery. Rooms start at $170.

Brunch & Burgers in HBurg

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From Staunton, take a quick trip up I81 to Virginia’s first “culinary district” Harrisonburg. Home to James Madison University and “friendly by nature”, Hburg offers elevated eats in a welcoming atmosphere. 

 

The Joshua Wilton House celebrated its 130th anniversary in 2018. This historic inn continues to innovate its menu which is evident in its epic brunch. The menu includes items like a reimagined Croque madame featuring ham, gruyere, toasted sourdough, and a sunnyside egg, and chorizo hash browns with marinated tomatoes, manchego cheese, and poached egg. The Washington Post previously placed the restaurant on their list of top 3 dining destinations to visit from DC. The Joshua Wilton House really puts a new meaning on farm-to-table fare, working with over 60 local farmers and suppliers to bring their patrons the perfect plate. 

 

FUN FACT

Executive Chef Tom French was born and raised in England, was awarded an internship at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, where he cooked for the Queen of England and her guests.

 

Now, if you’ve imbibed during brunch and would like to continue, Harrisonburg is known for its breweries. Spots like Brothers Craft Brewing,The Pale Fire Brewing Co., and the Three Notch’d Valley Collab House (hailing from Charlottesville) are legendary.

If you’ve still in town for dinner,  find the Local Chop & Grill House. Executive Chef Colin Auckerman, a Shenandoah Valley native, “brings an authentic desire to utilize and celebrate the valley and Virginia sourced products.”  We recommend the house ground steak burger paired with duck fat fries and then followed by the local blueberry shortcake. This meal represents what dining in the Valley is meant to be elevated comfort with quality products made from local hands. 

 

To eat even more while you’re in Staunton, Harrisonburg, or the surrounding areas, explore these food-forward destinations at VisitStaunton.com & VisitHarrisonburgva.com

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