Story and Photoes by Daniel M. Walker, Contributing
The Palisades Restaurant in Eggleston, Va. ... what’s
not to like? Located on the banks of the New River in beautiful Giles
County, this native-owned eatery plies patrons with great food, friendly
service, and a magnificent drive!
“I want everyone to feel welcome here, whether you have
just stepped out of the trout stream or you are celebrating a special
occasion,” says owner Shaena Muldoon. Housed in an early 1900s general
store, even the restaurant’s Village Street address evokes the intimacy of
an era long past.
Shaena recalls that the first time she walked into the
old Pyne General Store, with its floor-to-ceiling shelving, she could
visualize the potential for a restaurant. Her goal was to preserve the deep
roots of a community that was once a resort and a transportation hub.
Shaena maintained the original core, including the tin
ceiling and broad-board flooring, which allowed the building to achieve
recognition in the National Register of Historic Places. In fact, in the
recent book Lost Communities of Virginia, author Terri Fisher recognized
the transformation of the Pyne General Store into The Palisades Restaurant
as an example of a historical building that has been successfully
repurposed, a way of bringing back the character of a community without
tearing down its original structures.
Ashton Carter and
While The Palisades wasn’t lacking in historical charm,
great ambiance means little without excellent food. Shaena related that some
of her diners refer to their cuisine as “southern cooking with a twist.”
During my visit, chef Ashton Carter suggested that rather than ordering from
the menu, I turn the dinner selection process over to him. Actually, this
sounded like fun — it reminded me of an old movie, where the leading man
tells the chef in a fancy New York restaurant to “whip up” something
Ashton first delighted me with a salad of baby greens,
strawberries and goat cheese, topped with candied walnuts and a light
vinaigrette dressing. Along with being a good chef, Ashton must also be a
mind reader because the entree was one of my favorite dishes, rack of lamb,
which was raised locally in nearby Patrick County. The lamb was served on
rhubarb jelly with creamy grits (the southern flare) and (the twist) red
Now, I’m in heaven ... lamb and grits. The lamb was
prepared just the way I like it — rare, tender, and full of natural flavor.
And while I have eaten grits many different ways, I had never had them with
red pepper — a wonderfully intriguing taste sensation.
To this point, my mystery dinner had more than exceeded
my expectations, and the crowning glory was yet to come. The suspense was
building as Ashton appeared with a decadent flourless chocolate cake,
accompanied by a scoop of homemade pomegranate ice cream.
Flourless chocolate cake
with homemade pomegranate ice cream
As with the final chapter of any captivating mystery,
all good things must come to an end, and so did my gourmet adventure at The
Palisades. But, oh my, what a powerful mystery it was! The menu is varied
and has something for everyone. It was impossible to sample everything, but
a few items I would like to try on a return visit include the black and blue
salad of baby greens, tenderloin and dates with a blue cheese dressing; a
baked French-cut herb-stuffed pork chop with grilled apricot chutney; the
rainbow trout from local streams; and crab cakes with a garlic chive aioli.
The Palisades also offers delicious wood-fired pizza.
For those of you heading to Virginia Tech for football
weekends or fall leaf peeping, you will want to include The Palisades in
your plans. Consider reservations on busy weekends. They also offer a Sunday
brunch and live music on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.
Soon it will be a new year, so let me know of a special
restaurant you would like me to visit at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Be of
good cheer and bon appétit!
The Palisades Restaurant - Eggleston, Va. - 540-626-2828 -