Located to the west of Chesapeake Bay, the Northern Neck of Virginia is one of the state’s best areas for natural beauty. The peninsula features a number of national parks, historical sites, vineyards and a significant number of marinas and beaches. As a result, the Northern Neck boasts a wealth of seafood restaurants and wine bars alongside steakhouses and ice-cream parlours. We take a look at the top ten eateries in the Northern Neck.
The Art of Coffee
Bistro, Coffee Shop, American
The Art of Coffee
Combining a bistro, art gallery and café is The Art of Coffee in Montross. The Art of Coffee offers diners a full range of freshly baked breakfast fare from pastries, scones and muffins, all accompanied by their award-winning coffee. Larger dishes on their breakfast and lunch menu have artistically themed names and are packed with flavor, such as their American Artist No. 2 – which consists of eggs made to order, maple link or pork sausage patties with home fries, toast or a biscuit. Another favorite is the Impressionist Breakfast of scrambled eggs with fresh spinach, roasted red peppers, ham and feta cheese. Whilst enjoying these delicious dishes, diners can admire the local artwork hanging on the walls, including Virginia native water-colorist Amanda Lee.
The Art of Coffee, 15722 Kings Highway, Montross, VA, USA. +1 804 4939651
Car Wash Café
Formerly a Shell car wash, the Car Wash Café now has a new lease of life. With a chilled atmosphere and vintage diner style, this café has been voted Virginia Living Magazine’s “Best Breakfast, Brunch and Lunch” for 2014. It was the first time any restaurant had won in all three of those categories in the same year. Food is prepared to order and is made with quality and care. There are also vegetarian and gluten-free options available. Visitors can also witness their food being prepared as the kitchen opens out onto the dining area. Highlights from their breakfast choices include pancakes, steak and eggs, omelettes and their signature huevos rancheros. Dishes from the lunch menu include a wide variety of sandwiches, crab cakes, burgers, soups and salads. There is plenty to choose from at the Car Wash Café and dining here is certainly a memorable experience.
Car Wash Café, 481 North Main Street, Kilmarnock, VA, USA. +1 804 4350405
Carried Away Cuisine
Cafe, Market, American
Carried Away Cuisine
Carried Away Cuisine is a charming catering café that has been on the Northern Neck culinary scene since 1980. The brainchild of Jackie Brown, Carried Away Cuisine started in her own small kitchen, with her and her partner’s homemade creations included in the Central Market in downtown Lancaster. Due to their burgeoning popularity, the pair opened a second market stand and promoted gourmet speciality foods. With her experience and customer base, Jackie established Carried Away Cuisine in 2001. While they offer catering, much of their delicious fare can be eaten in at their “shoppe.” The range of food available at the shoppe changes daily to reflect the seasonal availability of ingredients and to suit customer demand. There are salads, wrap sandwiches, homemade soups, quiches, entrées and dozens of desserts on offer. Carried Away Cuisine can also create dishes to suit any dietary request. Breakfast, brunch and lunch are complemented by the finest and freshest coffee from the Lexington Coffee Company, which is local to Virginia.
Carried Away Cuisine, 10 North Main Street, Kilmarnock, VA, USA. +1 804 4359191
A recent addition to Reedville is Chitterchats Ice-Cream. Serving up scoops of ice cream made from real cream, Chitterchats offer a wide variety of over 60 flavors. From almond amaretto, to butter pecan, to chocolate decadence, to rum raisin – there is a flavor to suit everyone. The ice cream comes from Richmond and has been produced for over 30 years. Order your cool treat in a variety of forms, such as shakes, malts, sundaes and house made waffle cones. Within the vintage style parlour there is also a bookshelf of second hand books, allowing visitors to grab some culture alongside their flavorful scoops. Coupled with friendly and warm service, Chitterchats makes for a great after-dinner treat while overlooking the bay.
Chitterchats Ice-Cream, 846 Main Street, Reedville, VA, USA. +1 804 4533335
Cockrell’s Creek Seafood and Deli
Run by the Smith Point Seafood Inc., Cockrell’s Creek Seafood and Deli aims to bring diners the freshest and highest quality crabmeat and other seafood. Dedicated to sea cuisine for over 20 years, the Cockrell’s Creek Seafood and Deli was created to further confirm their status as the best of the best. The seafood deli has won a number of accolades and awards, including “The Best Seafood Dive” by Coastal Living Magazine in 2005 and “The Best Crab Cakes” by Coastal Living Magazine in 2009. The restaurant is family-run and the staff are welcoming, making diners feel truly at home. Popular dishes include their soft shell crab, flounder and oyster sandwiches. Diners can also enjoy their seafood fare outside on the picnic benches overlooking the creek.
Cockrell’s Creek Seafood and Deli, 567 Seaboard Drive, Reedville, VA, USA. +1 804 4536326
The Crazy Crab
Hailed as the best seafood restaurant in Reedville by critics and visitors, The Crazy Crab brings diners the freshest seafood with flair. Situated on the harbour, diners can enjoy the sea views whilst enjoying their food. Service is friendly and attentive, and the restaurant has a warm and tranquil atmosphere. Favourites from the menu include the starter of hush puppies, mains such as the jumbo lump crab cake which is served over a bed of fried green tomatoes with a remoulade sauce, finished off with a relaxing glass of wine. With nearly 15 years in the business, the Crazy Crab is a firm favorite in Reedville and definitely worth a visit.
The Crazy Crab, 902 Main Street, Suite 5, Reedville, VA, USA. +1 804 4536789
Making visitors to Irvington feel at home in the charming and welcoming The Local. Diners can enjoy their freshly made breakfasts of muffins and Fairtrade organic roasted coffee while perusing the local paper or tucking into a sumptuous lunch of sandwiches and wraps with friends. Other highlights on the menu include their signature salads and their generous scoops of locally made ice-cream. Dining areas can be found both indoors and outside on their beautifully landscaped patio. The Local also gives back to the community, giving a portion of their profits to the maintenance of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
The Local, 4337 Irvington Road, Irvington, VA, USA. +1 804 4389356
Nate's Trick Dog Café
Cafe, Restaurant, Seafood, American, $$$
Nate’s Trick Dog Café
Hailed as one of the best places to eat in the Northern Neck area of Virginia, Nate’s Trick Dog Café is a small but charming café. Following the Great Fire of Irvington in 1917, much of the town was damaged or destroyed. A local resident however, found a statue of a sooty black dog in the Opera House. Taking it home, they named it a ‘trick dog’ as it did not require food or water but would follow commands to sit and stay. The dog is now the resident of its namesake café and visitors are invited to pet it. There is also plenty on the menu to suit any taste and appetite, from a coffee and cocoa braised pork shank to chorizo and spinach ravioli with a machaca sauce. Other popular choices include with buttermilk brined chicken thigh with sage stuffing waffles lathered in a sausage and caramelized onion gravy.
Nate’s Trick Dog Café, 4357 Irvington Road, Irvington, Virginia, USA. +1 804 4386363
Northern Neck Burger Company
Bringing the taste of wood grilled burgers to the Northern Neck is the Northern Neck Burger Company. Voted the “Best Burger in Virginia” in 2014 by Virginia Living Magazine’s 2014 Readers Poll, the Northern Neck Burger Company has a burger to suit every palette. Burger highlights include their “Born Here Burger,” which consists of a meat patty, classic American cheese, tomato and red onion and a rivah sauce. It can also come with natural Applewood smoked bacon and caramelised onions for an extra kick. Vegetarians are also catered for, with burgers made from fresh roasted corn, black beans, roasted peppers, white cheddar and more sauce. There is also a range of meat sandwiches, such as their aged skirt steak with caramelised onions and local herbed goats cheese, all served in a freshly baked sub roll. These sumptuous dishes can be accompanied by add-ons of addictive Tappahannock twister fries, which are smothered in a rich cheddar cheese sauce. For those with a sweet tooth, desserts include a warm chocolate molten lava cake topped off with vanilla bourbon sauce. With food this good, the Northern Neck Burger Company should be at the top of every visitor’s list.
Northern Neck Burger Company, 62 Irvington Road, Kilmarnock, VA, USA. +1 804 5774400
Tommy's Seafood and Steaks
Restaurant, Seafood, $$$
Tommy’s Seafood and Steaks
Tommy’s Seafood and Steaks is a stable and icon in Reedville. With a menu that features the best of Northern Neck cuisine, their NY strip steaks, sautéed veal liver and grilled marinated chicken breast are firm favourites. Their seafood is also popular, such as their jumbo lump crab cakes and their seafood platter of jumbo shrimp, scallops, oysters and crab. They also have vegetarian options such as baked brie with mango chutney. These dishes are accompanied by an extensive wine list that brings out the flavor of their dishes. The restaurant is housed in a restored market used in the 1800s, adding to its charm and historical presence. Open Thursday through Sunday between 5pm and 9pm after Labor Day, an evening at Tommy’s is a memorable night.
Tommy’s Seafood and Steaks, 729 Main Street, Reedville, VA, USA. +1 804 4534666