The restaurant scene in Staunton, Virginia, is varied and vibrant, with an abundance of choices for many different tastes. Whether visiting Staunton for the American Shakespeare Center, the Museum of American Frontier Culture, or the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, visitors will be able to find plenty of restaurant choices. Here are a few of the more interesting ones.
- The Byers Street Bistro
For fine dining and live music, Byers Street Bistro in downtown Staunton is the place (photo courtesy of Monica Wilson Photography, Staunton, Virginia)
The Byers Street Bistro (Executive Chef William Thacker) offers a wide variety of lunch and dinner choices including burgers, gourmet pizzas, salads, sandwiches, and Southern appetizers like hushpuppies and fried green tomatoes. Dinner entrees include seafood such as Seared Sea Scallops, Low Country Salmon, Pacific Fish Tacos, and Shrimp and Grits (served with fresh rolls and rosemary infused olive oil). It’s also a musical venue, with bands performing every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night.
- The Shack
Don’t let the size fool you: the locally-sourced food and ever-evolving menu make The Shack a top draw in Staunton (photo courtesy of Monica Wilson Photography, Staunton, Virginia)
The Shack, located on South Coalter Street, is quite literally located in a building so small and intimate that it can only be described as a “shack.” This small restaurant is the brainchild of Chef Ian Boden, and is very much in the community, farm-to-table category of restaurants. Chef Boden sources much of his produce and meat from local area farms. He offers an a la carte menu on Wednesday and Thursday nights (including his signature burgers), and offers a prix fixe three-course or four-course tasting menu on Friday and Saturday nights (including Speckled Sea Trout, miso rutabaga puree, sweet peas, crispy brussels sprouts, and shell fish nage, among others). Being a smaller restaurant, seating is limited.
Near the American Shakespeare Center, Zynodoa offers upscale Southern cuisine with European influences (photo courtesy of Monica Wilson Photography, Staunton, Virginia)
Located on East Beverley Street, near the American Shakespeare Center, Zynodoa offers fine dining, upscale Southern cuisine with European influences, and, like the Shack, sources their food from local Shenandoah Valley producers (including their own fifty-acre farm in Swoope, Virginia). Their menu changes daily based upon availability. They offer a local Virginia cheese plate, as well as chicken-liver mousse and Zynodoa’s Patatas Bravas for starters. Main entrees include a Buffalo Branch Basil Pesto & Housemade Linguine, Rock Barn Southern Roasted Pork and many other choices, although for the availability of specific menu items they recommend that you contact them. Reservations are recommended.
Southern European meets the Old South—some of the best Mediterranean dining right here in Staunton (photo courtesy of Monica Wilson Photography, Staunton, Virginia)
Chef Said Rhafiri, from Casablanca, Morrocco, offers pan-Mediterranean Southern European-style cuisine at Aioli, located on North Augusta Street. He brings the flavors of the Mediterrean from his mother’s kitchen to Virginia, with a variety of tapas, soups, salads, and entrees (including Seafood Paella and a Cornish Hen Tagine, served with couscous, dried figs, green olives, toasted almond, and preserved lemons). Additionally, in keeping with the Mediterranean theme, dessert wine and ports are offered for after dinner enjoyment (including Portugese Ferreiar Tawney Port).
- The Split Banana Company
Hey Diddle Diddle—The Split Banana Company specializes in daily-fresh Old-World-style gelato (photo courtesy of Monica Wilson Photography, Staunton, Virginia)
If decadent dessert is more your thing, the Split Banana Co. on West Beverley Street has you covered. They make hand crafted old-world-style gelato and sorbets. They have daily and monthly flavor specials. The November Flavors of the Month are Sweet Potato Pie, Rum Raisin (called Malaga in Italy), and Toasted Almond. The December Flavors will be Egg Nog, Peppermint, and Baby Ginger. They also make gelato cakes (they ask that you order a week in advance). Given the short shelf-life of fresh-made gelato, they make it fresh every day. They also offer floats and banana splits.
Staunton, Virginia, is a cornucopia of delicious food offerings, for the casual diner or the more serious foodie. If you plan on visiting, stay for a few days so that you can be sure and sample everything that they have to offer.