We celebrated being vaccinated by finally going out to eat. No more plastic utensils and ordering by phone or through speakers. And eat we did at The Pine Tavern in Floyd. Opened in 1927 as a lodge for travelers along Route 221 it still has motel rooms and for many years a restaurant. After dining there several times we had to ask ourselves why had we waited so long to eat there?
At first glance upon arriving you may miss the fact there is generous parking behind the buildings. The Lodge and Restaurant take you back to a time of car travel before Interstate highways compelled us to rush by the true gems of Americana road trips. The Lodge may be a place to stopover on your travels but the restaurant is where you will enjoy a relaxed meal and savor Southern food. The dining area is spacious with some little creaks in the floor and memorabilia on the walls and in the rafters. The tables are spaced far apart. Our servers during our visits were friendly and happy to help and answer questions.
Be advised the biscuits are made from scratch every thirty minutes and served with butter and strawberry preserves. Don’t spoil your appetite for what is to come. We did meet a gentleman with flour all over his apron and he admitted to being the baker.
There are two ways you can indulge in the Pine Tavern’s home cooked offerings. Family Style or by the meal. Family Style includes refills and single meals do not.
Family Style includes Fried Chicken and vegetables served to your table ($16 per person). It also includes a beverage (not beer and wine) and cobbler for dessert. Before you have a chance to read the rest of the menu the hot biscuits are in front of you. Just eat one for now; they bake more every thirty minutes. Just thought we would remind you.
Vegetables include mashed potatoes (and gravy), dumplings, green beans, pinto beans, cole slaw or salad, and a vegetable of the day. Imagine what is now in front of you and your family or friends. And when a bowl is empty, it gets refilled.
For another dollar you can add country ham, roast beef, or pulled pork to your family meal. Or you can have all four meats for $18 per person. There are reduced prices for kids.
As it was just the two of us for our visits we ordered the meals. The meals include your choice of two sides and of course the biscuits. The Fried Chicken meal ($12) is half a chicken, a wing, thigh, leg, and a breast. We had ours with the mashed potatoes and green beans. We also ordered the Meat Loaf ($11) with dumplings and broccoli casserole (vegetable of the day). It was like Sunday dinner only it was a Saturday. The chicken was crispy, the meat loaf firm and generous, the mashed potatoes and beans like good home cooking. The broccoli casserole was not smothered in cheese, thank goodness. It has just enough cheese and lots of broccoli so we imagined we were eating healthy. Then we ordered more biscuits. Did we mention they bake them fresh every thirty minutes?
We should note that like any good tavern they have a nice selection of beer and wine. With a nod to a sense of humor the menu lists “Expensive American Macro Beer, $4”, “Expensive Micro Beer, $5”, “Regular American Beer, $3” and “Local Craft Beer”. The wine list includes local winery selections and all are reasonably priced.
If you are ordering meals and not Family Style you have choices that include Chicken and Dumplings ($10), Spinach and Tomato Lasagna ($13), Fried Catfish ($12), Grilled and Marinated Chicken Tenders ($12), Sirloin Steak, 8oz prime cut ($16) and some others. It is a diverse menu that includes Kids Meals.
On another visit we ordered the Spicy Grilled Catfish Filet ($12) with pinto beans and the broccoli casserole, again. We also ordered the Pulled Pork Barbecue with cole slaw and green beans. The catfish was not too spicy and grilled just right, but we were stopped in our meal when we tasted the pinto beans. According to the Pine Tavern Facebook posts the beans are made from scratch. No easy feat, it is time consuming, and these pinto beans were a meal stopper. They were great. Our server would not reveal the secret. No doubt it has something to do with pork. When the beans were gone the biscuits sopped up the juice. Our bowl was clean in no time.
Sorry for the delay in telling you how good the pulled pork was. It was tender, served with a sweet and a vinegar based sauce. It was not upstaged by the pinto beans, well maybe it was. The meal hit all the right taste buds for us.
The home made Fruit or Chocolate Cobblers with ice cream come with the Family Style meals. Otherwise they are just $3. The warm cobbler melts the vanilla ice cream to create a nice ending for our meals. We got a to-go box for the leftovers as the portions are generous and we could not leave the biscuits on the table.
They call it Traditional Blue Ridge Cuisine, we just call it good food.