Culinary Excellence in Virginia
Wnchester and Lexington, VA (PRWEB) March 31, 2014
In the past when one wanted to find great food experiences, one went to the city. Today, that is changing as chefs realize the lifestyle one can have in the countryside of the Piedmont and Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia. Moving away from the stress and high home prices of the city is worth taking the leap to work in the Virginia and West Virginia Interstate 81 Corridor. Go Blue Ridge Travel highlights this trend in their Culinary Series at http://www.goblueridgetravel.com/blog.
Winchester, Virginia -
Barbara Hineline is the executive chef at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester, Virginia. Hineline was the Director of Catering and Assistant General Manager for Baltimore based Donnas at the Baltimore Museum of Art and General Manager at Donnas in the St. Gregory Hotel, Georgetown. “It was the lifestyle the Valley offered my family that brought me to Winchester.” said Hineline. Hineline likes to use the term ‘The Land of Pleasant Living’ when describing the Valley.
So why Winchester, Virginia. “I opened Lansdowne Resort and needing to find affordable housing I found that Winchester was a perfect commute.” said Hineline. “Then I went back to Baltimore. When it came time to buy a home, I immediately looked to Winchester again. The city is so limited on affordable homes in good neighborhoods without moving to the suburbs which as a ‘city girl’ did not work for me.”
But why a franchise theater operation? Hineline saids it centers around a Baltimore Girl’s Journey to Craft Beers. “ As a young woman in Baltimore, I learned to love beer It was hard not to do, given that Baltimore's first manufacturing industry was a craft beer brewery, and to this day Baltimoreans appreciate their beer, so much in fact, that we have been increasingly skipping over commercial, watered-down brews, in favor of local craft beers.” said Hineline.
Last year, Hineline had the opportunity to accept a job as Executive Chef at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. “I could not pass it up,” said Hineline. “Imagine, a life long lover of local brewed beers, working in a venue that has well over 30 craft beers on it’s list, in addition, they have the “growler” program that I so came to love many years ago. I have blended these great beers with some amazing menu items. I have done Drafthouse Gingerbread with a hint of Dominion Oak Barrel Stout. Our new Cherry Chocolate Cake is perfect for the Sweet Baby Jesus Porter, a hint of the peanut butter with the chocolate and a slight coffee finish….not need for the an espresso here! And finally, the Devils Backbone Lager is used in a crispy batter for our special Fish Tacos, run for a limited time. It is amazing how to incorporate these brews into our foods, thereby offering our guests a real Drafthouse experience.”
George Huger is the owner of Southern Inn, a contemporary american cuisine restaurant located in Lexington, Virginia which is in the middle of the Shenandoah Valley just off of Interstate 81 and Interstate 64. Although George grew up in Lexington, he married a Baltimore girl while working in the city. A graduate of Baltimore Culinary Institute, George worked for Aramark at Camden Yards providing food to Baltimore Orioles fans. “I always wanted to own my own restaurant and with two young children, my wife, Sue Ann and I made the decision in 1998 to move back to the valley,” said Huger.
Southern Inn was already a roadside diner opening in 1932. Huger bought the diner in 1998. “The restaurant was in need of a facelift,” said Huger. “This gave us a wonderful opportunity to infuse the restaurant with our own touch. We simply made it a ‘refined diner’ maintaining the historical charm of the old building.”
The summer of 2010 saw a set back when a fire caused by a lightning strike from a storm destroyed the restaurant. With the support of the community, the Hugers reopened in 2011. “The fire gave us the opportunity to give the restaurant a modern touch in the layout and design without destroying the character of the historic building again,” said Huger.
Southern Inn’s menu offers the comfort of Southern food like meatloaf and our healthy version of fried chicken with the sophistication of todays cuisine like duck and vegetarian options. “I had never tasted homemade marshmallows.” said Nancy Craun, owner and founder of Go Blue Ridge Travel. “Their signature dessert is pecan pie and features caramelized marshmallows. Having dinner there last week, I also got to tasted the delicious homemade Farmstead Cheeses from Huger’s brother dairy farm. I definitely plan to visit the farm to purchase the cheeses,” said Craun.
Huger grew up on a farm. “I am a country boy thru and thru,” said Huger. “I hated the city.” When asked what is the difference in opening a restaurant in the city and in the Valley, Huger said. “In the city competition is outrageous. There are small restaurants on every corner. Here in the Valley, your volume may be less but so are your costs so your profit can be higher. It is a balance of lifestyle and livelihood.“
In 2011, GoBlueRidgeTravel.com (GoBRT), a division of Encore Event Partners was launched to be a travel getaway guide for trip planning in Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland. GoBRT is the only Tri-State regional website showcasing the activities, events, and accommodations in the Blue Ridge Mountains, The Piedmont, and Shenandoah Valley. With a ten year relationship of marketing the region to brides for their wedding destinations, GoBRT is now reaching out to families branding the trademark 'GoBRT's Kids Bucket List' showcasing the experiences tots to teens should have prior to turning eighteen in the valley. In July 2013, Go Blue Ridge Travel with eight Virginia partners received a Marketing Leveraging Grant from Virginia Tourism to develop a mobi website, Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail, with the target market being families. Expanding to Natural Bridge in 2014, Go Blue Ridge Travel’s goal is to brand this 160 mile radius as a travel and wedding destination both nationally and internationally.
Contact: Nancy Craun Founder and President GoBlueRidgeTravel.com Phone: 540.533.1853 Email: info(at)GoBlueRidgeTravel(dot)com