White’s Wayside a Virginia Institution

White’s Wayside
2175 Hanky Mountain Hwy (Rt. 250)
Churchville, VA 24421
(540) 337-8004
www.whiteswayside.com 

American |  $

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Just inside the George Washington National Forrest on Rt. 250 West of Staunton, VA is a wonderful little restaurant known as White’s Wayside. Open since the late 1920s this quaint little gem probably seats no more that 25. We arrived around 2pm on a Saturday afternoon and had to wait a bit.

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The sweet tea was perfect. Not overly sweet, just how you would imagine it was served when they first opened in 1929.

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For starters we went with the pimento cheese on thin sliced toasted bread. My wife and I both agree, hands down the best pimento cheese we have had.  The combination of cheese, Dukes Mayo, and pimentos was perfect. Don’t skip this dish.

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I had hoped for a Roast Beef Sandwich but a power problem earlier in the week kept them from offering it the day we visited. I went with a Bacon Cheeseburger that comes with their signature WhiteWay Bread and some pinto beans cooked with bacon they call Brown Beans. The beans were great and the cheeseburger sourced from 2 local farms in the county was good.

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My wife chose the House-made Chicken Salad Sandwich and loved it. She can crave tomatoes and the ones here were perfect. The fries are hand cut and seasoned nicely.

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For dessert we both had a slice of their awesome peanut butter pie. It looks deceptively like a banana pudding pie because of it’s light color, but you quickly find the great peanut butter crunch between the creamy top and thin crust.

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The décor was unique. The wait staff was super friendly and attentive. The noise level was next to nothing and the food arrived without delay. Visiting Whites Wayside makes you think about what travel must have been like before the interstates and chain restaurants. A time when everyone traveling ate in small family owned restaurants turning out wholesome fresh food like you were at a table in their dinning room.

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One of the things you notice while waiting is the owner’s commitment to the environment and sustainable agriculture. The back of the menu lists local farms and businesses supplying the bulk of their ingredients. There is an impressive array of solar panels next to the restaurant, and they have there own bee colony visible from a display in the checkout area. A trip to White’s Wayside reminds you that farm-to-table didn’t start with a bunch of celebrity chefs in New York or LA, White’s Wayside and their neighbor farms have been practicing it for decades.

I know most of my readers who may be heading to Staunton have their cars pointed at The Shack or Zynodoa. Have that dinner both places are amazing, but treat yourself and stay over night at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel then head out in the morning for breakfast or lunch at White’s Wayside. You won’t be disappointed.

A note for travelers from the north, don’t trust your GPS. Google Maps, in an effort to find us the quickest route, took us down a single lane dirt road for 2 miles. Your best bet is to take 81 to Staunton and pick up Rt. 250 West from there.

Hammerdown is Hands Down the Best BBQ

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Hammerdown Barbeque
41153 John Mosby Hwy
Aldie, VA 20105
703-542-8692
www.hammerdownBBQ.com

BBQ | $

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Not far from the Rt. 50 traffic circles in Aldie, Hammerdown is hard to miss. There is plenty of signage and they park a large truck with their logo out front often.

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The interior if classic BBQ joint with a bar.

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Ordering is easy, platters or sandwiches with sides.

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Just as I was about to order a whole brisket came out of the warmer.

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I ordered the Brisket Sandwich with Mac & Cheese. The brisket melts in your mouth, it has a gentle hickory flavor with a perfect thin crispy bark. This is among the best brisket I have had, certainly the best in Virginia. The Mac & Cheese is wonderful and better than any I have had offered at other BBQ restaurants.

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The ribs are cooked perfectly, juicy, and fall off the bone.

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My wife ordered the platter which comes with your choice of 2 meats and 2 sides.

Collards

The collards were the best she has had, which coming from this Virginia girl is saying something. They are cooked in a home-made pork broth that creates a delicious flavor.

Potato

The mashed potatoes with chives were smooth and tasty.

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Sausage 2

The sausage was smoky and juicy. The links are long and you get a good size portion.

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Sodas and ice tea refills are free.

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They smoke with a combination of hickory and oak.

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On the day we visited they were using the smallest of their 3 smokers. During the summer, their peak BBQ season, they can smoke up to 40 briskets and still run out. The smoking starts around 5pm on the previous day, being a Pitmaster is not a 9 to 5 job. The fist class BBQ is awesome but what really got my attention was the sides. Many BBQ joints concentrate on the barbeque and view sides as something they must offer. In the past I have had Mac & Cheese with an order that was obviously Kraft Mac & Cheese or macaroni that had bits of cheese mixed in. It’s wonderful to see high quality well prepared sides offered with exceptional BBQ making for a great dinning experience.

While I always measure noise in a restaurant it was not an issue here. At times it was eerily quiet as everyone chowed down on the best BBQ of their life. It is self serve and  all the staff behind the counter and bar was open, friendly, and genuinely  interested in offering great BBQ. If you live within 100 miles of Aldie, VA and love BBQ you need to make the trip to Hammerdown. For BBQ lovers it’s what they imagine Heaven will be like.

How to Spend a Big Fat Weekend in Austin, Texas

Austin is a lot like Charleston, there are almost too many good places to eat. Bon Appétit says:

“Yes, there is barbecue and Tex Mex, but Austin’s delicious things per capita ratio is so high that you’ll want to come for so much more—including lamb pizza, marshmallow fluff brownie, oysters, and more.”

Source: How to Spend a Big Fat Weekend in Austin, Texas