There are few restaurants I would travel two hours for. When I met Erin, a couple months after we started dating, I told her what I wanted for my birthday. I wanted to drive from Charlottesville to Catawba—125 miles—for dinner.
Erin is the best, so that’s what we did. We went to The Homeplace.
The first time I went to The Homeplace was when I was at school at Virginia Tech. Like a legend, students would pass down tales of how delicious The Homeplace was. It didn’t take long before I had to try it for myself.
Though I haven’t been in years, at the time, the menu was simple. You could choose two meats for around ten dollars, or have all three for a dollar more. Your choices were:
- Fried chicken
- Country ham (salty, not sweet)
- Roast beef
Everything was served family style, and there were a ton of sides. Mashed potatoes and biscuits with apple butter were a given. Other options rotated, like green beans, baked beans, collard greens, and if you hit the jackpot, macaroni and cheese.
You would eat until you were uncomfortable, take a break, and eat some more. Inevitably, you’d well up in tears of both pain and joy as you realized you still had the dessert cobbler to get through.
A little while ago, a local news station ran a story on the background of The Homeplace. I loved learning about the history of one of my favorite restaurants, but I also enjoyed the story of the owner. Particularly of him meeting his then-engaged now-wife:
She showed me her diamond. I asked her:
Do you know where you got it?
Well, of course, why?
Well if you know where it came from, then send it back!
There is both an article and this video report (give it a moment to load):
Should you ever find yourself outside Roanoke, Virginia; do yourself a favor, and go to The Homeplace. Expect a line though: I’ve never had to wait less than an hour for a table. For good reason.