This chilly time of year brings out the “hungry” in all of us! And, just in time for this hankering for a good meal, Smithfield’s 6th Annual Restaurant week is coming up and ready to oblige! The best part about Restaurant Week is that you are hopefully enticed to travel to an establishment that you may not have been to before! If you are in the mood for something new, or to just patronize one of your favorite spots, Friday, February 1st through Saturday, February 9th is a great week to hang out in Isle of Wight County!
That being said, let’s talk about where you are riding The Salty Southern Route to during this delicious week! Also, what is pretty awesome, is that some of these eating establishments you may not even have thought would be on the list for a restaurant week! For instance, have you been to Cure Coffeehouse in Downtown Smithfield yet?! Or, have you had breakfast at the Cockeyed Roaster off of Route 10, or even The Gatling Point Yacht Club for lunch or dinner? And these places are just the tip of the ice burg! All in all, Smithfield’s Restaurant week has 17 participating restaurants/businesses, both inside and outside of the Historic District! These places include, but are not limited to, The Smithfield Inn, The Smithfield Station, Wharf Hill Brewing Company, The Taste of Smithfield, the newly renovated Tokyo & Thai, Q-Daddy’s and Bubba-N-Frank’s BBQ, Captain Chuck-A-Mucks and Darden’s Country Store! These places are featuring a specially priced lunch and dinner option, or options, that features something unique about their menu!
So, what are you doing the first week of February?! Hopefully you will be taking a trip on The Salty Southern Route to Isle of Wight County, Virginia! The food in this charming “Ham Town” is sure to delight!
Check out this link for a full list of participating business and links to their specialty menu for the week!
Alright, let’s talk “salty” this week! So, peanuts of course! A pretty awesome place on The Salty Southern Route is Newsoms Peanut Shop! The Bunn Family in Southampton, Virginia knows the peanut, having a long farming heritage in the county!
Since opening their shop in 1980, Newsoms wants you to know that they make the freshest peanuts, only making their product per order! When you ride The Salty Southern Route to Newsoms Peanut Shop the comfortable feeling of family and country charm takes over the senses! That feeling is only amplified when you walk into the shop and are welcomed by the friendly greetings of family members that have worked their land and product for many years. The walls of the shop is filled with mementos and memories that truly makes you feel that the word family and peanut go together! Blair Bunn, Newsom’s owner, tells the story of his family’s long history in farming over the years on their website. His family lives on part of Turtle Creek Farm, the family farm, where they also raise row crops and cattle. The story of the Newsom Peanut started in his mom’s kitchen where she used to cook famous home-cooked and country packed peanuts! The first summer they would load their truck up with sweet corn, watermelons, cantaloupes, tomatoes and Mom would bring along those delicious peanuts! All these years later, The Newsom Peanut is distributed to people throughout the U.S. and abroad!
Which leads us to, most importantly, the mouth-watering peanuts! Product categories include Home Cooked Virginia Peanuts, Homemade Brittle and Candies, Pecans, Raw Virginia Peanuts, Seasonal Samples, Roasted In-Shell-Virginia Peanuts and The Chocolate Factory! Newsoms products are found and can be purchased for sale in many grocery and specialty shops throughout Virginia! They work with many groups, such as The Boy and Girl Scouts and 4-H, for fundraising and even offer custom or private labeling!
Check them out on Facebook and their website for more information!
Talk next week! Have fun on riding The Route!
This time of year when it’s cold and your outside activities are limited heading out to a new restaurant should be on your list of things to do! One of the restaurants that should be on that list is Wharf Hill Brewing Company! Not only does this place, located on Main Street in Downtown Smithfield, have delicious food, including daily specials, but it is a Brew Pub! As a microbrewery Wharf Hill not only has a full bar and long list of local craft suds, but also features a number of in-house made beers like the famous Isle of Wheat Hefeweizen and the Holy Braille Brown Ale.
When you walk in the main entrance of Wharf Hill Brewery you are met with friendly faces, jovial laughter, a warm welcome by the host or hostess and the overall eclectic and inviting nature of a building that has been around for over 100 years! That’s right, not only is this an awesome pub with delicious food, but it is also filled with history! The building, or buildings, that Wharf Hill occupies was a number of businesses over the years, as they were all part of the town’s African American Business District. These businesses consisted of a barber shop, the Elks Lodge and a funeral parlor. When this restaurant was being built, the owner took pain staking efforts to incorporate as many of the leftover elements from these buildings back into what you see today! And, if he couldn’t find supplies from those buildings he used pieces and structural elements from historical buildings found throughout the town and county!
So what about the food?! Wharf Hill Brewery offers many choices for lunch and dinner, opening every day at 11:30am, switching over to their dinner menu at 4pm. Since we are talking about riding The Salty Southern Route, a must try is their smoked, dry-rub BBQ! And since we are talking about pork, you have to order the Non-Won-Tons! What’s a Non-Won-Ton?! They are three BBQ and homemade coleslaw stuffed egg rolls that are deep fried to perfection and served with the most delicious tangy BBQ sauce! By the way, this is just where the deliciousness starts! With the recent release of a new menu, Wharf now offers a few new items like Dave’s (one of the owners) homemade meatballs for pasta and a devour worthy sub, a new sampler platter that features a little bit of all the awesome apps, Joe’s (one of the chef’s) special BBQ Mac N Cheese and the yummy WHACHOS (Nachos, lol)!
So, are you hungry yet?! Travel down the hill on Main Street in Smithfield “Ham Town,” Virginia and visit Wharf Hill Brewing Company, the perfect place to warm up with a full belly and some local beers on one of these winter days!
Visit the links below for more information about Wharf Hill’s beers, food, the really cool story of how the three current owners were former employees and more insight into the history of the buildings!
Nothing says "Salty and Southern" quite like the peanut and Suffolk, Virginia has been a hub for the production of this delicious legume for years! It all started with Amedeo Obici,, an immigrant from Italy who's story exemplifies the American dream of "rags to riches."
Obici arrived in America as a boy unable to speak English and worked his first job in a cigar factory while going to night school. He then worked a fruit stand that also happened to roast peanuts. It was this first affiliation with the peanut that inspired Amedeo to eventually take large strides in its production modernization!
While this dream started in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania, Obici moved his processing operation to Suffolk, Virginia in 1913. This region of Virginia was already leading the way in the farming of the peanut, therefore it seemed natural to bring production closer.
Since this move Mr. Peanut and Planters Peanuts have had a big hand in shaping The City of Suffolk. You can see statues of the lovable character throughout Suffolk and, most certainly, he makes an appearance in front of what was Amedeo Obici's home! (picture above)
This home is the Obici House and sits on the 263 acre Bay Point Farm overlooking the Nansemond River! The mansion is an irregularly planned Italian Renaissance-style house that has been decorated with Italian art, has classical details that include flute columns, brackets and huge windows for gazing at the water. This beautiful abode was Obici's home until his death in 1947 and these days it is a "Nationally Registered Historic Place." It has been opened to the public for a wedding/event venue, the grounds are now a lovely golf course and The Obici House serves dinner on Thursday nights to whomever would like to attend!
From the story that surrounds Planters Peanuts and Amedeo Obici to the impressive house and property that was left behind, this story is worth delving into and The Obici House is definitely worth the visit! Stop by on Thursdays for a delicious dinner or contact them to set up your next event!
Visit these links for more history on The Obici Story, as well as more information about The House and upcoming events!