You begin by shopping for ingredients from local farms and end by eating them in a decadent meal. In between market and table you’ll hear fascinating stories of the places, people and products that have populated one of Roanoke’s most interesting neighborhoods since it was created more than a century ago.
Need more convincing? Read on for eight reasons to reserve your spot on the Grandin Village Market to Table Tour:
It’s delicious. Olivia Byrd, owner of Rockfish Food & Wine, has worked in culinary fields from California to Memphis. Rockfish chef Tom Sosnowski earned a degree from Al Pollard’s Culinary Arts Program at Virginia Western Community College then honed his skills in Roanoke’s top kitchens. They are committed to searching out the tastiest flavors and presenting them in a stunning way. Expect your lunch to be sumptuous, surprising and shout-out worthy from drinks to dessert.
It’s local. You’re striving to eat local, shop local, support local. (You’ll do all three on this tour.) But it turns out you can travel local, too — by diving into the inner workings of a place and seeking to journey off the beaten paths. By the end of this tour, you’ll get the vibe of Grandin Village — whether you’ve lived in Roanoke all your life or are visiting for the weekend.
It’s authentic. Farmers at the Grandin Village Farmers Market describing their practices, bakers explaining their methods, shop owners opening their doors. There’s nothing pretentious about this walk through these charming streets, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You’ll peek behind-the-scenes at the oldest fine-dining restaurant in the neighborhood, hear the tale of the grocery store that time forgot, discover the inspiration behind the many murals that brighten the area’s sturdy brick walls.
It’s engaging. You’ll sip locally made kombucha, smell the soup of the day simmering at the back of the Roanoke Co-op, see a giant dog sculpture on the lawn of a quaint fire station, hear Celtic music wafting outside the ice cream shop, feel the sun warm your face through Rockfish’s historic windows. All your senses will be touched on your amble through this eclectic corner of Roanoke.
It’s fascinating. Discover how Shiitake mushrooms are grown. Meet “the angel” of Grandin Village. Learn how Grandin Road got its name. Hear how actor Bill Murray came to town to save the now 85-plus year-old Grandin Theatre. Even if you’ve lived in Roanoke all your life, you’re guaranteed to learn a thing or two as your guide unspools the history behind the people and places that weave this neighborhood into the funky tapestry it is.
It’s new every time. You might see U.S. Senator for Virginia Tim Kaine as he ducks into a rally at the CoLab Roanoke. A huge gust of wind could kick up and you’d need to hold a tent corner to keep the farmers market from blowing away. Your personal chef will wow you by preparing a lunch inspired by the seafood trucked in yesterday and the veggies harvested less than 100 miles away. Who you see, which farmers come to market, what dishes you eat — it’s never the same twice.
It’s a good story. The Mason’s wife was having an affair. The developers visited the Chicago World’s Fair before nailing down their plans. The bridge’s opening was delayed so the plaques commemorating World War I veterans could be completed. The giant mosaic was made from pottery bits the neighbors donated (search for dinner plate patterns and children’s handprint tiles as you walk by). Every place has a tale to tell and you’ll discover Grandin Village’s on this tour.
It’s fancy. You’ll feel spoiled as the chef emerges from his kitchen to regale you with details of what he stirred up for your plate. See that dark color and those flecks in the cornbread? The cornmeal comes from an heirloom line that you won’t find in every restaurant. The mimosa that starts your meal just might feature a cut of orange, a slice of apple and the prettiest, tiniest edible purple flower
The Grandin Village Market To Table Tour is held monthly on the 2nd Saturday (April – November) and is open for individual ticket sales. See this web page for more details and tickets – you’ll need advance tickets since capacity is limited. Tour Roanoke can also hold tours for private groups up to 18 persons as well.
Questions about the tour – call (540) 309-1781 or email info@TourRoanoke.com.
Christina is a freelance writer with a focus on local food. When she’s not digging in her garden or stirring up a new dish for dinner, she loves to sample Roanoke’s expanding culinary scene. Read more of what she’s writing at christinanifong.com.