Friday, March 05, 2010

Mrs. Rowe's Country Buffet

Several years back I found a restaurant in the Shenandoah Mountain/Blue Ridge Mountains called Mrs. Rowe's. I had been searching for places to eat on a trip that was taking through the Shenandoah heading south and came upon a book that talked all about Road Food - places to stop when you are "on the road". There was a site from the two authors that highlighted some of their favorites and there was described Mrs. Rowe's. I knew right away that this was a must visit on this trip. This was not a buffet restaurant - I knew that up front. It was described as having some of the best Southern country cooking and the must have was the pan fried chicken. We stopped there and this chicken was everything that was said about it and I still feel that it was the best fried chicken that I had ever had. A few years later we were passing through the city of Staunton, Virginia (pronounced by the locals as STAN Ton) again, and again, I went back to Mrs. Rowe's and it was still as I remembered it.

A few months ago I was poking around for buffets and I could not believe what I came across - Mrs. Rowe's Country Buffet! The original restaurant is still where it always was, but the buffet is in the town of Mt. Crawford, Virginia. I have not been to the buffet, but I know Mrs. Rowe's cooking and the food has got to be as good as it is at the original restaurant.

Mrs. Rowe's Country Buffet serves lunch seven days a week with Sunday serving dinner all day and they serve dinner from Tuesdays to Sundays. Note that they are closed for diner on Mondays. On many days of the week the dinner menu and the lunch menu are similar with some additions at dinner. Lunch is served from 11 am to 3 pm and dinner starts at 3 until 8:00 pm. They are open for many holidays.

The cooking is Southern country with many dishes that some from other parts of the country will not have heard of. Fried chicken and spoon bread is served on the buffet every day. Spoon bread - a southern comfort food - is like a corn bread pudding. It is baked in a crock (or pan) until the mixture is moist and the consistency of a thick, semi-solid pudding that is spooned out onto your plate and you eat it with a fork. It is difficult to describe because there really is nothing like it that I can compare it to. It is sweet and smooth when you eat it - and it is best eaten while it is hot or at least warm. Some days on the buffet there are baked apples. Other days there is fried cabbage. Of course, macaroni and cheese is a staple each day at lunch and dinner. On Wednesday's there are chicken livers (don't let that keep you away - there are other things too). Fridays and Saturdays the menu focuses on seafood at dinner and items such as shrimp scampi, steamed shrimp, salmon cakes, blue crabs, clam strips, fried oysters, and catfish may be found. Sunday - as I said dinner is served all day - has added a steamship round of beef. On Friday and Saturday dinner crab legs are available which means there is an added charge for crab legs and I am sure they are not all you care to eat.

For dessert you will find homemade pies. The baking at Mrs. Rowe's was exceptional when I had it.

This is an area full of natural wonders - caverns, beautiful mountain drives and the Skyline Drive (a parkway that takes you across the top of the Shenandoah and Blue Ridge Mountains with spots to stop and park where bears will come right up to your car - no, not zoo bears, but wild bears so do not get out of your car and never feed them - unless you want them to try to come into your car with you or climb up on the hood or the roof). There is much to see and do here and it is a direct run south along the border between Virginia and West Virginia. Mrs. Rowe's may not be a natural wonder but it is a wonder to enjoy. I am definitely planning a trip to be sure to try Mrs. Rowe's Country Buffet. When I do I will tell you all first hand about it. If anyone has been there, please do comment.

Mrs. Rowe's Country Buffet is located at 6187 South Valley Pike, Mount Crawford, Virginia. Their phone number is (540) 433-0993. There is a website and that site is linked at the side of this page.


Anonymous said...

The restaurant closed and is now a private meeting/restaurant/conference center. The restaurant was much better before the Rowe group took over.

It originally was known as Ever's. The new group took over in 2006 and tried to cut corners while raising prices.

Robert A said...

Apparently, as stated above,this buffet restaurant closed. The original menu restaurant continues in business in Stanton, VA. While it is not a buffet, that restaurant is worth a visit.