The small Appalachian town of Abingdon, Virginia is no small destination when it comes to great restaurants and local cuisine. Our family travels all over this country and after hitting the trails in a national park or kicking up the dust on an ATV trail, it’s not uncommon to find us seeking to refuel in a local dive or farm to table restaurant. Fortunately, when we are home, we find that same local fresh cuisine being served up in Abingdon, VA restaurants just over the mountain.
After hiking in nearby Damascus, Virginia at Backbone Rock or enjoying a drive on the mountain backroads, we often meander over to Abingdon for nice meal. Here are 5 restaurants in Abingdon, VA that we are confident even Chef Ramsay would give a stamp of approval. If you are looking for where to eat in Abingdon, VA look no further than these delectable restaurants!
The Peppermill Restaurant, located on Main street, in Abingdon, VA is the perfect romantic date night restaurant after taking in a play at Barter Theatre. The fresh food and historic quaint atmosphere keeps locals and visitors coming back time and again. Food selection ranges from quesadillas and pasta to steaks and seafood. If you want a more casual atmosphere to take the kids, we recommend enjoying a burger or a fried green tomato BLT at lunch. The mushroom soup is a must have for lunch or dinner!
Our family has only recently discovered 128 Pecan located in downtown Abingdon, but I can quickly tell you without a doubt it is one of the best restaurants in Abingdon, VA. The menu says, “It’s a very open atmosphere with a hey, how are ya today kind of attitude” and we can 100% affirm this to be true!
Do not let the small size fool you! The food at 128 Pecan is on par with some of the best food I have ever had. If you enjoy the food scene in Charleston, South Carolina, you will love 128 Pecan. I was amazed that I could have a crab cake in the hills of Appalachia better than any crab cake I’ve ever enjoyed on the coast! It’s that good. If seafood isn’t your thing, the steaks and burgers are equally delicious.
Insider tip: We dined during the recent romaine lettuce recall so we had a Ceasar salad prepared with loose greens instead. Oh my word!! We now order it that way every time. If you are coming off the Creeper trail, don’t miss a stop at 128 Pecan. You will not regret it.
Rain Restaurant is still a staple “go to” for us on our date nights. Can you tell we frequent Abingdon a lot when we are sans kids? Considering it’s a town that feels like something from a 18th century Charles Dickens novel, can you blame me? But, I digress. To be fair, we have dined at Rain Restaurant with kids and with other couples and found the atmosphere perfectly suitable for all parties. In the warmer seasons, a table outside is quite lovely and often a bit quieter than inside.
My favorite go to when dining at Rain Restaurant are the Buffalo Crawfish and 10 oz. blackened ribeye. My husband has enjoyed the filet and the uniquely stuffed chicken breast with apple, fig, onion & brie cheese. The best thing about Rain Restaurant is their commitment to fresh locally grown food and the support that provides. Proudly displayed on the home page of their website are the names of the local and regional farmers that supply their food. Bravo, Rain Restaurant, Well Done!
Okay, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, Morgan’s has also become a family favorite restaurant in Abingdon, VA. I told you we go to Abingdon a lot, right? I am not kidding when I say that I have been dumbfounded by the quality of the food Abingdon restaurants offer. Our recent discovery of Morgan’s is certainly no exception. In fact, I’m going to go on record to say that I believe as more people discover Morgan’s it will be seen on lists among the finest of all of Virginia restaurants. Okay, enough gushing. What do they have to eat at Morgan’s?
Mussels!! Divine, heavenly, mouth watering Mussels!! Okay, they have bit more than that, but the Mussels really are the star player for me! Even after our three week road trip through New England, I did not enjoy better tasting P.E.I. Mussels in Canada itself! (In fact, they are so good that I forgot to get you a picture.) The normal offering are White Wine butter sauce mussels, but if you are lucky enough to be there when they are offering the Cajun mussels, get them and do not hesitate.
In addition to these lovely mussels, Morgan’s menu has fabulous steaks, pork chops, and my personal favorite are the Scallops. Do not balk at the mashed cauliflower and edamame succotash, you will not believe the flavors.
Have you figured out yet that I am a huge fan of mussels? Yep! It’s a newfound love. I think I will ask for a mussels pot on my next birthday.
Okay history lovers, this one’s for you! The Tavern is located in Abingdon’s oldest building. In fact, having been constructed in 1779 it is one of the oldest building west of the Blue Ridge. As I am sure you have guessed by it’s name, it began as a tavern as well as an overnight inn for the stagecoach travelers through the area. King Louis Philippe of France, Henry Clay, and President Andrew Jackson are among the list of famous visitors throughout The Tavern’s history.
However, the building has also been used as a post office, bank, bakery, general store, cabinet shop, barber shop, and was even used as a hospital during the civil war caring for both Confederate and Union wounded soldiers. There are rumors that The Tavern restaurant is haunted and it is listed among the haunted sites in Abingdon, VA if you believe such things. 😉
Now, as to the food. Besides being famous for its history, The Tavern in Abingdon, VA is known for its steaks and spirits. The bulk of the dinner menu consists of steak, but you will also find duck, chicken, scallops, crab cakes, and trout. They have a fine list of wines and as you would expect, beers, including my favorite Oktoberfest by Spaten.
Reservations are absolutely recommended year round and allow at least 2 hours for dinner. If you plan on dining before or after a Barter theatre performance, you may wish to allow even more time, but the experience will be worth it.
A Few More Places To Eat In Abingdon, VA
I can’t say that Mr. Ramsay would or wouldn’t dine at these more casual places to eat in Abingdon, VA, but our family sure can’t imagine the Abingdon food scene without them.
Luke’s Cafe is the first truly family friendly and FUN restaurant on our list of the best Abingdon Va restaurants. One thing that has struck me the most when visiting Luke’s is how accommodating they have often been with our food allergies. One of the reasons my family prefers local family owned restaurants when we travel, besides the fact that they always have better food, is that they are most often much more accommodating to our food allergy needs than bigger box chain stores. Luke’s has always gone out of their way to accommodate my son and daughter and ensure they have safely prepared DELICIOUS food. They don’t have to settle for a grilled cheese (though a grilled cheese at Luke’s is not like any other grilled cheese) or a corn dog in order to have a safe meal and I really appreciate that!
Okay, so what do they serve? As you can imagine, being a cafe they have soups, sandwiches, burgers, and fries. All of which are fresh and delicious. They also have excellent fish tacos, meat loaf, crab cakes, Mahi Mahi, and so much more. There is something for everyone.
I can’t leave the discussion on Luke’s without mentioning the fun atmosphere. Luke’s is the melting together of the two passions of its owner, Lukas Patterson: fresh food and rock-n-roll! Lukas states on his website,
“When I was 10 I became obsessed with guitar then at 14 I started my first kitchen job . At 18 I went to culinary school. Since then I have taken my two passions and seen them through enough to tour the country with my band Star City Meltdown and open my own restaurant in my home town.”Lukas Patterson
The walls of the restaurant are lined with old LP albums, guitars, and rock-n-roll memorabilia. The black and white check floor and rock-n-roll completes the rocking diner feel making Luke’s a perfect casual family restaurant in Abingdon.
JJ’S Restaurant & Sports Bar
JJ’s Restaurant & Sports Bar is just what you think: a casual place for good food and fun times. Don’t expect just the typical bar fare, however. JJ’s food is just a notch above the rest with specials often announced on their Facebook page.
Milano’s Italian Cuisine
Milano’s serves up authentic Italian cuisine with all the family favorites. Milano’s menu includes pizza, subs, calzones, as well as some seriously scrumptious desserts like NY style cheesecake and the Italian classic, Tira Mi Su.
As you can see, Abingdon, VA restaurants do not disappoint. If you love fresh and local with a touch of quaint make time for dinner in Abingdon, VA.