A look back at some of the best local restaurants

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) – In 2018, WDBJ launched a segment aimed at promoting local restaurants and letting people know about the incredible food offered in their hometowns.

Since then, WDBJ7′s Josh Birch has visited over a hundred local restaurants. As he prepares to depart WDBJ, Josh wanted to answer a question he gets asked a lot: Of all the local spots, which restaurants stand out to you most?

It is a hard question, and nearly impossible to narrow because each restaurant we’ve featured on Hometown Eats is unique in its own rights. But we were able to pick out a few we believe are must-tries.

In Paint Bank, the Swinging Bridge Restaurant is worth the drive from anywhere. It offers country staples for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But perhaps what they are best known for is the buffalo, which they actually raise right down the road from the restaurant. The menu item we recommend here is the Great White Buffalo Sandwich.

Next up is perhaps one of the most hidden Hometown Eats we’ve featured. Cafe XPress is a little spot tucked beside a 7-Eleven in Salem. They serve up some of the most flavorful sandwiches and house-roasted meats you can find anywhere. They’ve got a lot of incredible things on the menu, but we recommend their Chicken Tandoori sub!

In the New River Valley, the Tie Dyed Pig in Radford offers something for everyone, from delicious barbecue to homemade cinnamon buns topped with ice cream. But perhaps the most outrageous thing on the menu is their double stuffed Reuben sandwich that is a beast for even the hungriest folks.

At Smith Mountain Lake, Lumpkins Marina Snack Bar and Grill in Penhook has been a staple for the locals for years. They’ve got incredible burgers and homemade desserts, but what really draws people in are the pancakes that are so big they don’t fit on the plate. They have a challenge here – finish three of those massive pancakes in under 30 minutes. Hundreds of people have tried to conquer it, but few have succeeded!

Up in Lynchburg, County Smoak is offering some of the best barbecue in our region right along Timberlake Road. The meat just falls off the bone and is delicious to the last bite. They even smoke their mac and cheese and baked beans! If you’re looking for something to pair those sides with, look no further than their soon-to-be famous ribs.

And finally, a restaurant in Roanoke that some say is the best in the entire valley. Just a few miles past Hollins University, Veranda Bistro is serving up delicious and authentic Greek and Italian food. Owner Irene Karageorge is bringing in olive oil from her family’s farm in Greece to make the food even better! We recommend checking out their incredible spinach artichoke dip and mouth-watering Margarita pizza!

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown just how important, and fragile, our local restaurants are. Now, more than ever, it’s important to support the local spots and people who pour their heart and soul into the food they make. WDBJ looks forward to visiting many more great local restaurants for Hometown Eats!

Copyright 2021 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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