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From Mercantile to Mac and Cheese

Harrisonburg restaurant has the chops

May 2024

by Peggy Hyland, Contributing Columnist

Inside a converted mercantile building in Harrisonburg, Va., sits a delicious dining oasis, Local Chop & Grill House.

The soaring brick walls still bear traces of the building’s history as a produce and seed exchange, but the atmosphere is all about relaxed elegance. Low walls divide the space into cozy areas, perfect for an intimate dinner or laid-back evening with friends.

We were early for our reservation, but we didn’t have to wait long for our table in a cozy corner surrounded by local artwork. We tucked into some deliciously irresistible house-baked bread as we perused the menu. The bread was exquisitely soft with a salty-sweet crust and velvety honey butter.

For appetizers, I opted for beets and fingerling potatoes with Parmesan and arugula. The texture of the beets was perfect. My companion had the crispy pork belly on top of a silky purée of butternut squash, a match made in heaven.

The menu is small, with a focus on quality ingredients and impeccable technique. A variety of sides and sauces keep the options fresh and varied. The friendly staff is very knowledgeable and happy to guide you with recommendations.

My companion went for the ribeye with an indulgent parsnip cream. The side dish of chèvre mac ’n cheese was downright divine. I am not generally drawn to mac and cheese, but I would choose this a hundred times over.

I have a weakness for duck, and this one was cooked perfectly. It was paired with a barbecue sauce that was nothing short of inspired, although the duck would have been a star all on its own. I chose to pair it with duck fat fries with pear ketchup, a combination that rocked my world. If you have ever hesitated about eating duck, this is the place to try it.

The local cheese board is available as both an appetizer and a dessert. We were very tempted but chose to go with sweets. The deconstructed orange cheesecake was a well-balanced and tangy-sweet treat. The apple crisp has delicate cream and a crunchy oat topping on perfectly cooked local spiced apples. Each element was perfect on its own, and they harmonized beautifully.

All the desserts are homemade. If you are too full from dinner, ask your server which ones transport well, so you can enjoy one at home.

Most of the seating is on the second floor and there is no elevator, so if you have mobility issues, it is best to make your reservation by phone instead of an app to ensure you can get accessible seating. There is a second restaurant in Luray, which has some menu overlap with the Harrisonburg location, and also serves lunch.

This was my first time at Local Chop & Grill House, but I know it will not be my last. I’m already thinking about pairing a Wagyu burger with some duck-fat fries next time.

Local Chop & Grill House

56 W. Gay St., Harrisonburg, Va.


Monday-Saturday, 4-10 p.m.


Reservations highly recommended.

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