The following restaurants and businesses both support the Buy Fresh Buy Local initiative and serve locally grown items when in season and available. Thus, the menus and specials change daily according to what vegetables, fruits, and herbs are in season and available to the restaurant, as well as to the type of meal service.
All but one are located in Harrisonburg, another is nearby in Dayton, VA. Please call ahead or visit their websites for more information.
Blue Nile Ethiopian Cuisine
181 N. Main Street
Hours of Operation: 11 AM to 2 PM, Daily. Basement Bar, 7 PM to 2 AM, Daily.
This family-owned restaurant is part of downtown Harrisonburg’s revitalization and renewal. It moved to its current historic location in April 2008.
The Blue Nile features authentic Ethiopian cuisine amid a gorgeously decorated interior. Reviews are uniformly excellent, praising the food, service and décor.
In addition to their restaurant service, Blue Nile offers onsite catering, offsite catering and has a basement bar that featuring live music.
They have a well done, informative website and a MySpace presence.
Flavors of Earth Catering
281 Green Street
Hours of Operation: 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Saturday
Flavors of Earth Catering is a locally owned and operated catering company, committed to the Buy Fresh Buy Local movement.
Joshua Wilton House Inn & Restaurant
412 South Main Street
Hours of Operation: 5 PM to 9 PM, Tuesday through Thursday; 5 PM to 10 PM, Fridays and Saturdays.
The Joshua Wilton House is Harrisonburg’s most well-known and best-regarded restaurant. Not only has this business garnered local affection, reviews from such esteemed sources as The New York Times praise the quality of the inn and restaurant. Reservations are, not surprisingly, recommended.
Executive chef Mark Newsome oversees the menu that changes daily depending upon supplies and produce available.
The Joshua Wilton House is the real deal. Its list of awards is outstanding:
• Wine Spectator Award of Excellence: 1999 – 2008
• Best Restaurant to Take A Date: Daily News Record, 2008
• Best Atmosphere: Daily News Record, 2008
• Best Veteran Restaurant: eightyone Magazine, 2008
• Best Restaurant Service: eightyone Magazine, 2008
• Most Romantic Restaurant: eightyone Magazine, 2008
• Second Place Overall Reader Favorite: eightyone Magazine, 2008
• Best Restaurant to Propose: Daily News Record, 2009
• Best Restaurant for Special Occasions: eightyone Magazine, 2008
• Taste of Downtown, August 2010
• Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance
• Member, Select Registry
• Bed & Breakfast Association of Virginia
• Virginia Green
• Shenandoah Valley Travel Association
• Wine Spectator, Award of Excellence, 2010.
Press that have glowingly reviewed the Joshua Wilton House include The Sunday New Times, 64 Magazine, Southern Living and The Richmond-Times Dispatch.
Little Grill Collective
621 N. Main Street
Hours of Operation: 7 AM to 9 PM, Tuesday through Friday; 7 AM to 3 PM on Saturdays; 9 AM to 2 PM on Sundays.
The Little Grill has been a Harrisonburg restaurant since the 1940’s and “a worker owned collective” since 2003, according to its website.
The restaurant offers meals with meat, vegetarian, and vegan options. Apparently they do so with great success as they were voted Best Breakfast and Best Vegetarian in 2009.
The Little Grill has an active online presence with a helpful website, a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Reviews are uniformly positive and show an appreciation for the somewhat quirkly and eccentric nature of this restaurant.
Local Chop & Grill House
56 West Gay Street, Suite 107
Hours of Operation: Bar opens at 4 PM, Dining Room opens at 5 PM, Tuesday through Saturdays
The Local Chop & Grill House is located in Harrisonburg’s old, enormous City Produce Exchange building – all old brick and wooden beams and shafts of light. The ambience is heightened by the frequent use of walls to hang exhibitions by area artists.
Chef Ryan Zale coordinates the changing menu with a decidedly local emphasis.
There is a lounge graced with a large fireplace, a full bar with a specialization in martinis, multiple wines and 16 different beers on tap.
Live music plays in the lounge on Friday and Saturday nights.
The Local Chop & Grill House has a wonderful and informative webpage, a Facebook page, and a blog.
625 Mount Clinton Pike
Lee Ann Jeffer
Hours of Operation: 6:30 AM to 8 PM, Monday through Friday; 6:30 AM to 3 PM, Saturdays.
Ms. Jeffer’s Organic Grounds was voted “Best of the ‘Burg’s Coffee” in 2010 and for good reason. They serve Lucas Roasting Company coffees exclusively.
In addition to coffee, Organic Grounds serves a variety of salads, sandwiches, baked goods and sweets.
Organic Grounds has an active internet presence with an informative webpage, a Facebook page and a Twitter account.
Thomas House Restaurant
222 Main Street
Hours of Operation: 6 AM to 8 PM, Daily
The Thomas House Restaurant doesn’t have a webpage, doesn’t want a Facebook page and most likely doesn’t care to know what a Twitter account is, much less have one.
Thomas House is a delicious, Southern-style cooking, inexpensive, friendly and unpretentious place to eat.
This restaurant is the only one not located in Harrisonburg, but is in the nearby town of Dayton.
4979 South Valley Pike
Hours of Operation: Breakfast, 7 AM to 10 AM, Monday through Saturday; Lunch, 11 AM to 2 PM, Monday through Friday; Dinner, 5 PM to 8:30 PM, Monday through Saturday.
The Village Inn has been providing food and accommodation in the Valley since 1936. Many area residents routinely stop in for a “home-cooked” dinner, albeit one that mom doesn’t have to make.
Reviews are uniformly positive for both the restaurant and the inn.
2010 Shenandoah Valley Buy Fresh Buy Local newsletter, Virginia Cooperative
Harrisonburg & Rockingham County Visitors Guide 2010-2011, Harrisonburg Tourism & Visitor Services