CHRISTIANSBURG — Alan Johnson wants to give locals a new dining and entertainment adventure.
At his newly launched restaurant and sports bar on the eastern end of Christiansburg, Johnson suggests starting out with the Canis Comets. That’s the name for the hushpuppies that he said are served with butter and blackberry “space” jam.
“They’re really fun,” he said.
But if they’re really craving for something out of this world, Johnson recommends the Earth’s Core burger that, among other toppings, comes with Pepper Jack cheese, jalapenos and what he calls “supernova” sauce.
“It’s something we’re proud of,” Johnson said.
Johnson, who has years of management experience in hospitality, food and entertainment businesses, owns and recently opened one of the latest additions to Christiansburg’s dining scene: Lost In Taste.
The establishment, which had its grand opening this past Tuesday, is located at 2675 Roanoke St. in the building that housed a Denny’s restaurant.
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A Denny’s had been at that location for a few years before closing in 2013. The diner chain returned in 2017 before it ultimately shut its doors again.
Johnson said he recalled the building because he spent several years working at the nearby Holiday Inn Express & Suites.
“I saw it,” he said. “And the [hotel] guests that were coming there were always asking, ‘Where can I get something to eat … and to drink?’”
Johnson said hotels in the area can easily become full, especially during times of Virginia Tech sporting events.
So when Johnson began seriously pursuing his goal of running his own dining establishment, he knew of a good location with already existing traffic.
“I saw an empty building in my community and I didn’t like that,” he said.
Johnson said he expects the restaurant and other nearby businesses such as Power Zone lawn and garden equipment retailer to complement each other and that the area gets strong traffic from eastern Montgomery County and Interstate 81.
Johnson said he was also buoyed by the experience and knowledge gained from working at the hotel, as well as the local Bull & Bones brewery and grill and the Blacksburg movie theater that’s now owned by B&B Theatres.
Johnson said his restaurant’s name is a play on the title of the Netflix series “Lost in Space.” He said his restaurant’s theme was aided by the aesthetics of the building – which he felt was a good fit for a space-themed atmosphere – and the fact that the subject of space has widespread appeal.
One of Lost in Taste’s logos shows a burger orbiting an astronaut’s head.
Johnson said many people have at least some kind of interest in space, whether it be for scientific reasons or entertainment. In addition to the long existence of galactic media franchises such as “Star Trek” and “Star Wars,” he said it’s hard these days to miss space-related shows or movies on television and popular streaming apps.
“Everyone loves space,” Johnson said.
So when he began settling on his restaurant’s theme, Johnson said he thought: “I think we can do something here. We got something here.”
The Big Bang Shrimp, the Total Eclipse salad, the Black Hole Burger and the Roswell Ribeye are other menu items.
And the drink menu includes the Galactic Cowboy imperial stout, a White Russian renamed to Milky Way and the Cryo Coke, which includes a mix of frozen Jack Daniels and vanilla.
In addition to the foods and drinks, Lost in Taste provides multiple televisions for watching sporting events, an interactive jukebox that can play music from phones and arcade-style games.